Team Addresses

Teams don’t publish their email addresses.

If you want to contact a team in writing, it’s better to do so by letter. You’ll be more certain of a reply if your letter is written in Japanese, though some teams will have team interpreters to read letters in English.

Team phone numbers, physical and mailing addresses, team personnel and the like are listed in the Japan Baseball Media Guide.

Contacting a Player

Players are tough to contact in Japan. The best way is to send a letter to them in care of their team, which addresses are in the Japan Baseball Media Guide. The team will deliver your letter to the clubhouse.

Sometimes people send baseball cards requesting the player to sign, but forget that the return postage must be Japan postage on the enclosed self-addressed stamped envelope.

Merchandise

There’s no modestly priced way we know of to get official merchandise at this time sent outside of Japan. You can find buying services from Japan online that will ship an item or two but it is very costly.

The online shop that served this market is no longer in business.

The sites in English now selling Japan baseball items are using made-up logos, plain text, or knock-offs of the team logo.

From time to time people have had success with this site:

http://global.rakuten.com/en/

Tickets

Avoid ticket purchase hassles and sellouts. Get tickets to baseball and sumo before you get to Japan.

See our sister site for ticketing at:

JapanBallTickets.com

Plenty of answers to buying Japan tickets are there.

Memorabilia

People often write us about a baseball, uniform or other piece of memorabilia they may have hoping to know its value or what the Japanese writing on it says. We don’t provide that service. However, you may want to try the undisputed leader in Japan Baseball Memorabilia, Robb Fitts, at:

http://robfitts.com/

Playing in Japan

Allow me to meld my thoughts with those from Dan Latham, the founding contributor to this site.

There are 12 Japanese big league teams, each having one minor league team, so there aren’t nearly as many slots available for players in Japan as there are in Major League Baseball and its minor leagues.

Further, each Japanese team opens only a handful of roster spots to foreign players.

Major League Baseball scouts tend to categorize Japanese pro baseball as AAAA. Meaning it’s a step above AAA and a step below the big leagues. It’s extremely competitive play.

Japanese clubs, as a rule, look at former Major League players or those who’ve been successful in AAA, or possibly AA, and who might be on the bubble of the big leagues. They want players who can contribute right now.

Native Japanese players generally are strong on defense and good contact hitters. Teams often look for foreign players who can hit for power. If a player is a fast base-runner or good with a glove, that’s an added benefit, but usually not the selling point.

As to position players, foreign catchers and middle infielders are in low demand. There’s too much potential for communication problems. Second basemen and shortstops are typically not power hitters, and most teams would prefer to use Japanese players in those positions. For the most part Japanese teams will consider foreign outfielders, first and third basemen.

When selecting foreign pitchers, teams may be more flexible. Since few Japanese pitchers throw hard, teams are often impressed by foreign pitchers who do. But those with control problems don’t last long. Even if a foreign pitcher doesn’t throw hard, teams will often give him a look if he has terrific control and was successful at AAA.

The Japanese teams have a very active worldwide scouting system.

If you’ve not played in AA, AAA or MLB or similar you have no chance at playing in Japan.

Players have asked if they can contact teams in Japan directly to give them their personal data. You can do that, though I think it may be a waste of your resources.

However, if you’re convinced that you’ve been overlooked and want to take a shot at sending them your info, you might consider getting the Japan Baseball Media Guide.

In the guide you’ll find contact information for each ballclub, including the names of their foreign representatives who speak English.

What tends to be true is that players with the ability to play in Japan have already played in the high levels of pro ball somewhere else and have agents.

For agents serious about getting a player placed, I suggest that you show the Japanese that you are indeed serious.

Presuming you don’t speak Japanese or have Japanese baseball contacts, get an interpreter. They can be found in most any city. Then, together with your interpreter and the contact info in the Media Guide, set about calling each club on behalf of your client.

While not as quick or initially effective as a phone call, you can always send a letter in Japanese with your player’s info.

The more you’re willing and able to do in Japanese, the better chance your player has, all other things being equal.