Skip to main content

A fan for 32 years. Editor Yohei Kumagai talks about the appeal of the strong and weak Swallows.

2023.9.25

#OTHER

We live together, supporting each other.

Celeina: You are here today in a Yakult Swallows uniform. Whose uniform is this?

Kumagai: This is the uniform of Shiomi, the proud No. 1 hitter of the Yakult team. It is an original uniform that was released to commemorate Shiomi’s cycle hit.

Takano: Is it quite rare?

Kumagai: Yes, it is.

Takano: It has Shiomi’s embroidery on the back.

Kumagai: There was also a print of the funny Shiomi.

Takano: It has a luxurious feel.

Kumagai: Yes, it does. The badge is also nice.

Celeina: It’s wonderful. You also brought a variety of other cheering goods.

Kumagai: Yes. Umbrellas are indispensable (as standard cheering goods for fans). Nowadays, there are many variations of umbrellas, and this one is helmet-shaped when opened.

Takano: Cute!

Celeina: Is this the current version?

Kumagai: This is a commemorative umbrella for the 2021 championship, so it is a limited edition. The size of this (smaller than a regular umbrella) is important. Even when I don’t plan to go to a baseball game, I sometimes carry it in my backpack to work and go directly to the game.

Celeina: So you always have these items on hand.

Kumagai: Yalult fans always have their uniforms and umbrellas in their backpacks.

Celeina: We have to carry this umbrella, too. What about these goods?

Kumagai: This is a megaphone with Tsubakuro (the team mascot) and the team colors on it. There are various designs, but my son likes Tsubakuro. It is also small enough to fit in a compact backpack.

Takano: May I ask you to play a sound?

(tapping sound of megaphone)

Takano: That’s nice!

Kumagai: It feels like a baseball field.

Takano: Everyone had one when I was there last Wednesday. I would like to hear a little more about the appeal of Swallows.

Kumagai: The charm of the Swallows is that they are strong and weak.

Takano: Strong and weak?

Kumagai: I have been a fan for 32 years this year, and when I first started watching them, they were an all-time winning team. After that, there were quite a few ups and downs. There have been strong times and weak times, and as I look back over my life, I feel like I am living with the team as I cheer them on, and I think, “There are times in life like that. I feel like I’m living with them while cheering them on, and I think, “There are times in life when you have to live with them.

Takano: That’s wonderful. I would also like to know the way of looking at the games to make them more interesting.

Celeina: I want to know.

Kumagai: I would like to tell you a little about the appeal of Jingu Stadium.

Takano: Please do.

Kumagai: There is a path that leads from the outfield to the stands, and when you enter the stands, there is a moment when your field of vision opens up. Jingu Stadium is an outdoor stadium, so at that moment, the view of the ground and Tokyo opens up. Especially at this time of year, when the sunset is beautiful, I think even people who don’t know anything about baseball will think it’s amazing.

Takano: Like being able to see the sky change colors in a timely manner, or seeing the buildings in the back.

Kumagai: Yes. The location is great.

Takano: Are there any players you want people to know about?

Kumagai: That would be Yasutaka Shiomi, the player I am wearing the uniform for right now. He is the No. 1 hitter for the Yakult baseball team, and his entrance music is a fanfare for the G1 horse race (only when he is the first batter in the lineup).

(Fanfare plays)

Celeina: This is it.

Kumagai: Of course horse racing fans, but even if you are not a fan of horse racing, when this song is played, it gets you fired up and you think, “The game is about to start! I get into the spirit of “The game is about to start!

Celeina: When this fanfare started playing, you seemed to smile (laughs).

Kumagai: I couldn’t help but react (laughs).

Takano: Yakult fans who are listening to this song may be saying, “Here it comes! Kumagai:Yakult fans who are listening to the song may be saying, “Here it comes!

Kumagai: I think you will understand.

Takano: Are there others?

Kumagai: Masaki Ishikawa. I am from Akita, so we are from the same hometown. He is a veteran pitcher, 43 years old this year, and has been a long-time supporter of the Yakult baseball team. Also, he is 15 wins away from 200 wins, a record only 24 pitchers have achieved in the past (as of September 21), so I am rooting for him to continue his career for as long as possible.

Takano: 15 more wins. That’s remarkable. I would like to hear more, but here is one song. I asked Mr. Kumagai to choose a song he would like everyone to listen to together on the radio at this time. What song would it be?

Kumagai: Yes. It’s “Till I Know Love” by Aimyon, the song in which Munetaka Murakami, Yakult’s leading hitter, plays in his fourth at-bat.

RECOMMEND

NiEW’S PLAYLIST

NiEW recommends alternative music🆕

NiEW Best Music is a playlist featuring artists leading the music scene and offering alternative styles in our rapidly evolving society. Hailing from Tokyo, the NiEW editorial team proudly curates outstanding music that transcends size, genre, and nationality.

EVENTS