Hiroshima Toyo Carp: Cheering for the Red and White

Baseball is really a huge thing in Japan. Some baseball games gather millions of attendees every single year. There are also some fans that go crazy and even get into fights against fans from other teams. With such intense popularity, several professional baseball teams have been formed to develop the sport in the country. One of these teams is known as the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

More commonly known as the Hiroshima Toyo Kapu in Japanese, this team is based in Hiroshima, Japan. The team participates in the Central League of Nippon Professional Baseball. The Hiroshima Toyo Carp is mainly owned by the Matsuda family. The clan is led by Hajima Matsuda, a descendant of Jujiro Matsuda who was known to have founded the Mazda company.

The History Behind the Hiroshima Toyo Carp

By ぽこ太郎 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

It was in the year 1949 that the Nippon Professional Baseball league was to be separated into two leagues. At the time, having been devastated by the atomic bomb, Hiroshima Prefecture thought of including the establishment of a professional baseball team in their process for reconstruction to boost the morale of the people. Hence, in December of the year 1949, a team was already formed, which joined the Central League are the Hiroshima Carp.

The first home field of the team was only a stadium that was being funded by the prefecture. Because the team was relatively new, it did not have any sponsorships that helped in funding the team. As a result, it was a struggle to find and gather players for the team. At the time, the team was being managed by Hideichi Ishimoto. Driven by a strong will, he scouted several baseball players personally in order to be able to form a starting line-up. Sadly, the team performed poorly in the 1950s.

Due to lack of funding, the team faced several problems that led to the possibility of it being disbanded. A proposal was even made to just merge the Hiroshima Carp with the Taiyo Whales, a team based in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi. However, the citizens of Hiroshima strongly opposed the idea of disbanding the team. Instead, they raised money and solicited donations to keep the team intact and active.

With seven teams in the Central League in the year 1952, administrators found it difficult to make a schedule that fit each team. Hence, a decision was made wherein any team that garnered a winning percentage less than .300 at the end of the season would have to be either disbanded or merged with another team. At the time, it was obvious that the decision was aimed towards the Carp, as they had been placing last since they joined the league.

Fortunately, the Carp was able to win 27 games and ended the season with a winning percentage of .316. While it was considerably low, the team was able to save itself from being wiped out of the league. The team that ended in the last place was the Shochiku Robins with a winning percentage of only .288, which eventually merged with the Taiyo Whales.

The financial situation of the team took turn for the worse in the following years. It came to a point when each player of the team could only be issued one uniform in the year 1953. Nonetheless, the team continued to persevere every season. Thankfully, the Hiroshima Carp was able to finish the season with a winning percentage of more than .500 in the year 1960. Three years prior to this win, the team’s home field became the Hiroshima Municipal Stadium in July of the year 1957.

Eight years after their success in reaching the .500 mark, the team garnered the support of the Toyo Kogyo company in the year 1968. The company became known as the Mazda Motor Corporation beginning in the year 1984. As a result of the Toyo Kogyo company becoming the chief sponsor of the team, the name of the team was updated to the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

Their Uniform: Hat, Jersey, and Mascot

By HKT3012 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

The first uniforms of the Carp resembled the uniforms of the Cincinnati Reds from the Major League Baseball. Similar to the Cincinnati Reds’, the uniform of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp are represented in colors of white and red or crimson. Their caps or hats are also identical with the caps of their Midwest counterpart. Their jerseys are eye-catching due to the vibrant colors.

The Hiroshima Toyo Carp’s symbol mark is known as “Carp Boya” in Japanese. It translated to “Carp boy.” The name of the mascot is Slyly. Slyly is known as a mascot who loves entertaining the crowd. He performs dances and liked pulling pranks. His happiness is always apparent, as he turns into a pink “Happy Slyly.”

Slyly also resembles Phillie Phanatic, the mascot of the Philadelphia Phillies. This may be because both mascots were designed by Harrison/Erickson, Inc. Another member was added to the team called “Micky.” Micky is the first Japanese baseball dog that was added to the team in the year 2006. Every game, he comes out from the dugout and carries new balls to the umpire.

Every 6th of August, the Hiroshima Municipal Stadium is closed to commemorate the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Hence, even though it was a home game, the team had to play in other stadiums on that specific day. The first time that the team was able to play their home game in their home field dated on the 6th of August was in 2015 when their home field was already the Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium.

During that specific game, the players still wanted to commemorate the specific event that took place and change their city forever. The whole team wore the uniform number 86, which represents the date when the said event took place. The front of their uniform bored the word “PEACE” to show the everlasting goal of Hiroshima for world peace.

Hiroshima Toyo Carp’s Current Roster and Manager

By ぽこ太郎 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

The current roster of players of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp is under the management of Koichi Ogata. The team’s pitchers are Yuya Fukui, Daichi Osera, Yusuke Nomura, Kazuki Yabuta, Hiroki Tokoda, Koya Takahashi, Koya Fujii, Aren Kuri, Takeru Imamura, Katsuhiro Nagakawa, Hiroki Yokoyama, Makoto Kemna, Atsuya Horie, Kris Johnson, Takuya Kato, Akitake Okada, Shota Nakazaki, Ren Nakata, Ryuji Ichioka, Tetsuya Iida, Mikiya Takahashi, Sho Yamaguchi, Sora Tsuji, Kyohei Nakamura, Yuta Nakamura, Geronimo Franzua, Makoto Aduwa, Oscar Nakaoshi, Ryota Nagai, Takato Hiraoka, Shoma Sato, Takaya Tado, Jay Jakson, Atsushi Endo, and Leonel Campos.

The team has seven catchers. These catchers are Shosei Nakamura, Yuta Shirahama, Shogo Sakakura, Tsubasa Aizawa, Yoshitaka Isomura, Yoshiyuki Ishihara, and Ryota Funakoshi. The infielders of the team are Takashi Uemoto, Tomohiro Abe, Ryosuke Kikuchi, Brad eldred, Riku Aoki, Kosuke Tanaka, Shota Dobayashi, Tatsuki Kuwahara, Yuki Mima, Alejandro Mejia, Tetsuya Kokubo, Takahiro Arai, Hayato Shoji, and Ryoma Nishikawa.

As for outfielder, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp has Yoshihiro Maru, Takayoshi Noma, Ryuhei Matsuyama, Seiya Suzuki, Takahiro Iwamoto, Masato Akamatsu, Soichiro Amaya, Atsushi Nagai, Ko Shimozuru, Shohei Habu, Hiroki Takahashi, and Xavier Bautista. The team also has a development squad. It consists of an infielder named Satoshi Kimura and four pitchers named Tsubasa Okabayashi, Yohan Tavarez, Reira Fujii, and Ken Sasaki.

The Mazda “Zoom Zoom” Stadium: Home of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp

By HKT3012 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

The current home field of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp is the Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium. Officially, the stadium is called the Hiroshima Municipal Stadium, also known as Hiroshima Shimin Kyujo in Japanese. Located in Minami-ku, Hiroshima, this stadium is mainly used for baseball.

The ballpark was opened on the 10th of April in the year 2009. With a capacity of 32,000 people, the Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium serves as the replacement of the First Hiroshima Municipal Stadium. Initially, the new stadium retained the official name of the old one. However, when the city of Hiroshima awarded its naming rights to the Mazda Motor Corporation on the 6th of November in the year 2008, its name changed to Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium.

The exact address of the stadium is 2-3-1 Minami-Kaniya, Minami-ku, Hiroshima, Japan. The stadium can be accessed by public transport, specifically by taking the Sanyo Shinkansen under the Sanyo Main Line at Hiroshima. The stadium is still owned by the city of Hiroshima. At present, it is being operated by the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

The stadium can accommodate 32,000 people and 300 people with wheelchairs. The left field has a size of 101 meters, which is equivalent to 331 feet, while the right field is a meter shorter than the left, which has an equivalent size of 328 feet. Both the left-center field and the right-center field have a size of 116 meters, which is equivalent to 381 feet, while the center field has a measurement of 122 meters, which is equivalent to 400 feet. The surface of the field is grass.

The Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium was designed by Masuoka Architectural. There were two main contractors for the stadium. These two were the Penta-Ocean Construction Co., Ltd. And the Masuoka Architectural Constructors Inc. The stadium has served as the home of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp since the year 2009.

Their Home Game Schedule in 2018 and the Store for Tickets

The pre-season games of the team occurred in the month of March. All of the games were scheduled in the afternoon. The Hiroshima Toyo Carp went against five teams during this season, namely, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, the Kintetsu Buffaloes, and the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

On the other hand, the Central League Games began in late April wherein the Carp went against the Chunichi Dragons. In the month of April, they had three other opponents, namely, the Yokohama DeNA Baystars, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, and the Hanshin Tigers. As for the month of May, the team also went against the Yomiuri Giants in addition to other teams aforementioned.

The interleague games begin in late May and end in early June. The Hiroshima Carp would be facing against the Saitama Seibu Lions, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, and the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles. In late June, the Central League Games begin yet again and would last until the end of September. For the month of October, the team would be gearing up for the Japan Series.

The primary method of purchasing tickets for these games is by buying them from the Carp website. However, registration is required and the whole process would require buyers to understand the Japanese language. On the other hand, there are also other options where one can buy tickets if one cannot be bothered with the whole process of buying from the Carp website.

The first alternative is to head on over to the Mazda Stadium Ticket Office. Tickets are available until the day prior to the actual game or event. When there are no games to be played on that day, the office is open from 11 AM to 4 PM. However, if there is a day or night game, the office is only open from 11 AM to 10 PM or 30 minutes prior to the end of the game, whichever time comes first.

Aside from the Mazda Stadium Ticket Office, one can also check out the CARP Baseball Gallery. Located at 6-7 Hacchobori, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, the contact number of the office is (082)227-2222. Tickets are available at this location until the day prior to the game or event. The office is open from 10 AM to 4 PM. If there are no games, the office is closed on Sundays and National holidays.

Probably the most convenient option would be to buy the tickets from 7-11 or Lawson convenience stores. Usually, 7-11 convenience stores sell tickets until the beginning of any baseball game. As for Lawson convenience stores, there is a number coding that one may have to be familiar with buying tickets.

No matter which option one takes for buying tickets, the best way to do it is to buy as fast as possible. This is especially true when the upcoming game is highly anticipated. Tickets may get sold out quickly if one does not buy as soon as they become available. Try to get the seats with the best view so that fans would get to enjoy, support, and cheer for the red and white Hiroshima Toyo Carp.