Posted November. 21, 2015 11:21,
Japanese media put a spotlight on Thursday`s shocking defeat of "Samurai Japan" in the ninth inning against Korea. The defeat was described as a "nightmare." Major sports newspapers made the headline "Humiliating Defeat" with two pictures; the Korean team shouting for joy and the Japanese team vacantly looking at their opponents.
The blame has been put on manager Hiroki Kokubo for replacing Shohei Otani (21, Nippon-Ham) who did not allow any points until the seventh inning. The Sankei Sports made the headline "My Mistake" with a picture of Kokubo`s head drooping down. According to the article, Kokubo stood before the players after the match and said "I am responsible for all these" with inflamed eyes. The Sports Hochi newspaper used the same picture of him with the title "Middle Reliever`s Failure." The newspaper said, "Kokubo was watching the Korean team`s jubilation with his mouth closed."
Japan`s major daily newspapers also highlighted the story. The Asahi Shimbun wrote, "`Samurai Japan` swore to earn the first championship of the newly founded competition but instead had to taste `bitter defeat` against its nemesis, Korea. The Yomiuri Shimbun praised Korea`s victory in an article titled "Unbelievable Stamina," saying that Korea fought well and pertinaciously with the seven middle relievers.
Over 40,000 spectators watched the match in Tokyo Dome. Considering that the stadium can accommodat 43,000, almost all seats were occupied. The match was broadcasted live by TBS and the viewer rating was 25.2 percent, the highest among Premier 12 matches. The rating was higher than the average rating of the Japan Series (about 10 percent) and the return match (23.2 percent) of figure skater Asada Mao (25), one of the most popular figures in Japan. In the bottom of the eighth inning when Japan was leading, the rating was 32.2 percent.
The rating of the match was similar in Korea as well. The semi-final broadcasted by SBS had a rating of 13.1 percent on average, according to Nielsen Korea. In the top of the ninth inning in which Lee Dae-ho made the timely two-base hit that turned the game around, the highest rating reached 23.2 percent. The rating of the opening game on Nov. 8 was 8.8 percent. In that match, Korea lost to Japan 5 to 0.
The Asahi Shimbun reported that the match was held under stringent police precaution due to the impact of the Paris terror attacks. All coin lockers and some trash cans inside the stadium were blocked due to precautions against bomb installation. In addition, inspection of personal belongings was stricter than usual.