Oldest Baseball Team in Japan

6 Oldest Baseball Team in Japan [Oldest of All Time]

Although baseball is considered to be the class American pastime, baseball is actually a very popular sport in several other parts of the world, like East Asia and even Latin America. Since we’re focusing on baseball teams in Japan in this article, it might interest you to know that baseball became Japan’s national sport after World War II!

In this article, we’re going to look more closely at some of Japan’s oldest baseball teams, their origins, and if they are still functioning teams today.

Let’s get into it.

6 Oldest Baseball Teams in Japan

6. Tokyo Yakult Swallows

Date of establishment: January 12, 1950
Location of team: Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Owned by: Takashige Negishi

Tokyo Yakult SwallowsPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Tokyo Yakult Swallows are one of the oldest and most well-known baseball teams in Japan! This team was founded back in 1950 and has since been a part of in Nippon Professional Baseball’s Central League ever since. It’s interesting to note that this team is one of Japan’s most successful baseball teams, and has won six Japan Series championships, as well as nine Central League Championships.

The word Tokyo was added to the team’s name only in 2006 after the team’s owners changed hands. Over the years, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows have seen them achieve high levels of success and win multiple championships. 

Did you know? 

The Tokyo Yakult Swallows were named after the corporation that owns their team, Yakult Honsha. This company is known for manufacturing the popular yogurt drink, Yakult.

5. Yokohama DeNA BayStars

Date of establishment: December 15, 1949
Location of team: Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japann
Owned by: Tomoko Namba

Yokohama DeNA BayStarsPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Yokohama DeNA BayStars baseball team was first established in 1949, and has been a part of the Japanese Central League ever since. It’s interesting to note that this team adopted its present name only in 2011, after DeNA, the software company, purchased it.

This team was first established as an amateur team and was called the Taiyo Fishing Company. They were successful and began competing in various national tournaments! They eventually went on to win the National Sports Festival in 1948. In the year that followed, the professional baseball league in Japan suddenly expanded and began recruiting players from all over the country. Many from the Taiyo Fishing Company were chosen to play. As the years passed, the team eventually became more and more successful as well.

Did you know? 

The Yokohama DeNA BayStars have previously had six other names, including Yokohama Taiyo Whales, Taiyo Shochiku Robins, and Yosho Robins.

Read this article on the Oldest Baseball Teams in America.

4. Hiroshima Toyo Carp

Date of establishment: December 15, 1949
Location of team: Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
Owned by: Tomoko Namba

Hiroshima Toyo CarpPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Hiroshima Toyo Carp has been around for over 70 years, and is known for being one of the least successful teams in the Japanese Central League. When researching this article, we were interested to learn that this company had a very interesting beginning!

Back in 1949, after the bombings at Hiroshima, the folks in charge of the Nippon Professional Baseball League wanted to separate it into two individual leagues. The Hiroshima Toyo Carp went on to join the Central League, and were given the name Carp after the koi carp fish that managed to escape the rapids of the Hiroshima Castle.

Did you know? 

The Hiroshima Toyo Carp has not won any games in the Japanese Series since 2000.

3. Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks

Date of establishment: February 22, 1938
Location of team: Chūō-ku, Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Japan
Owned by: Masayoshi Son and Yoshimitsu Goto

Fukuoka SoftBank HawksPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Fukuoka SoftBanks Hawks are another of Japan’s oldest baseball teams. This team has been around for several years but experienced a long professional drought that lasted for over 30 years. This team belongs to the Pacific League and competes as a part of the Nippon Professional Baseball.

This team was originally founded as the Nankai Club in 1938. It’s interesting to note that this team became the first team from the Kansai region to play in Osaka. Over the years, they underwent a few name changes, but eventually decided on the Nankai Hawks. However, after the SoftBank Group purchased the team, they have been called Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

Did you know? 

Between 1964 and 1999, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks went through a title drought. However, they eventually began to win matches after new members were added to the team, and their manager changed.

2. Chunichi Dragons

Date of establishment: January 15, 1936
Location of team: Higashi-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
Owned by: Uichirō Ōshima

Chunichi DragonsPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Chunichi Dragons have been around for over 80 years, making them one of Japan’s oldest and most noteworthy baseball teams. It’s interesting to note that this team was first formed as a club and was called the Nagoya Club.

Over the years, this team has played in the Central League in Japan. They’ve won a number of titles throughout their time as a team, though some of their most notable wins include the Central League pennant, which they won nine times, and the Japan series, which they’ve won twice.

Did you know? 

The Chunichi Dragons’ most famous and popular player was Michio Nishizawa.

1. Yomiuri Giants

Date of establishment: December 26, 1934
Location of team: Bunkyō, Tokyo, Japan
Owned by: The Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings

Yomiuri GiantsPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Yomiuri Giants are the oldest baseball team in Japan. Along with Tokyo Yakult Swallows, this team is the only other Tokyo-based baseball team in Japan. It’s interesting to note that this team is owned by one of the largest media companies in Japan, Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings, which also owns two newspapers and a television network.

This team is, in addition to being the oldest baseball in Japan, the country’s most successful baseball team! They have won the Japan Series 22 times, as well as numerous other prestigious baseball titles.

Did you know? 

The Yomiuri Giants are often called “The New York Yankees of Japan,” due to how popular they are, and how their league has dominated others in the field of Japanese baseball.


In this article, we took a closer look at some of Japan’s oldest baseball teams. When we were researching this article, we were surprised to learn about how popular baseball is in Japan, and how much of an effect it has had on the country. We hope you learned something new from this article, and that you enjoyed reading it.

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