Japan Series Most Valuable Player Award

Japan Series Most Valuable Player Award
Awarded forAnnual Most Valuable Player of the Japan Series
Presented byNippon Professional Baseball
First awarded1950
Currently held byTakuya Kai, 2018 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
An Asian male wearing a gray uniform with the lettering "NEW YORK" across it, in his after-swing pose.
Hideki Matsui won the 2000 Japan Series MVP with the Yomiuri Giants. He went on to win the 2009 World Series MVP with MLB's New York Yankees.

The Japan Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award (日本シリーズ最高殊勲選手, Nippon Shirīzu Saikō Shukun Senshu) is given to the player deemed to have the most impact on his team's performance in the Japan Series, which is the final round of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) postseason. The award was first presented in 1950.

The series follows a best-of-seven playoff format and occurs after the two-stage Climax Series. It is played by the winners of the Central League Stage 2 series and the Pacific League Stage 2 series.[1] The most recent champions are the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, who won the 2018 series, and their catcher Takuya Kai the current holder of the award.

Kaoru Betto won the inaugural award in 1950 with the Mainichi Orions. Depending upon definitions, the first non-Japanese to win the award was either Andy Miyamoto in 1961 or Joe Stanka in 1964.[2] Fifteen Japan Series MVPs were inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame;[3] Osamu Higashio (1982) is the only Hall of Famer to have won the Japan Series MVP between 1981 and 2000. Higashio is also the first and only pitcher to appear solely as a reliever to win the Japan Series MVP. Eight of the ten Japan Series MVPs who have won the award since 2000 are still active in professional baseball—Atsuya Furuta and Takashi Ishii are the Japan Series MVPs from that period who are inactive. Hideki Matsui and Norihiro Nakamura are they only two Japan Series MVPs to play in Major League Baseball (MLB). While Nakamura's MLB career lasted less than one season, Matsui's lasted seven seasons. He became the only player to be named both a Japan Series and a World Series MVP after winning the latter award in 2009.[4] The reigning Japan Series MVP is Brandon Laird of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.

Sixteen of the 60[needs update] Japan Series MVPs have also won the NPB MVP or the Eiji Sawamura Award in the same season. Shigeru Sugishita (1954), Tsuneo Horiuchi (1972) and Takehiro Ishii (1992) are the only players to have won all three awards in the same season. Two players won the Eiji Sawamura Award and the Japan Series MVP in the same season: Takehiko Bessho (1955) and Takashi Nishimoto (1981). Ten players have won the Japan Series MVP in the same season in which they won the NPB MVP: Betto (1950), Bessho (1952), Kazuhisa Inao (1958), Tadashi Sugiura (1959), Shigeo Nagashima (1963), Stanka (1964), Hisashi Yamada (1977), Randy Bass (1985), Tom O'Malley (1995), Furuta (1997) and Matsui (2000).[5][6]

Five players have won the award multiple times. Nagashima has won the most Japan Series MVP awards with four wins (1963, 1965, 1969–1970). The remaining four players all won the award twice: Bessho (1952, 1955), Horiuchi (1972–1973), Kimiyasu Kudoh (1986–1987), Koji Akiyama (1991–1999) and Furuta (1997, 2001); Akiyama is the only player to have won the award with different teams. There has been one occasion on which multiple winners were awarded in the same Japan Series: Masayuki Dobashi and Masayuki Tanemo in 1962.

Pitchers have been named Series MVP 21 times, 13 of which appeared in both starting and relief roles in the Series.


Year Links to the article about that corresponding Japan Series
Member of the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
Active player
Indicates multiple award winners in the same Japan Series
Indicates number of times winning Japan Series MVP at that point (if he won multiple times)
Year Player Team Position Selected statistics Note
1950 Kaoru Betto§ Mainichi Orions Outfielder [7]
1951 Yuko Minamimura Yomiuri Giants Outfielder [8]
1952 Takehiko Bessho§ Yomiuri Giants Pitcher [9]
1953 Tetsuharu Kawakami§ Yomiuri Giants First baseman [10]
1954 Shigeru Sugishita§ Chunichi Dragons Pitcher [11]
1955 Takehiko Bessho§ (2) Yomiuri Giants Pitcher [12]
1956 Yasumitsu Toyoda§ Nishitetsu Lions Shortstop [13]
1957 Hiroshi Ohshita§ Nishitetsu Lions Outfielder [14]
1958 Kazuhisa Inao§ Nishitetsu Lions Pitcher [15]
1959 Tadashi Sugiura§ Nankai Hawks Pitcher [16]
1960 Akihito Kondo Taiyō Whales Second baseman [17]
1961 Andy Miyamoto Yomiuri Giants Outfielder [18]
1962^ Masayuki Dobashi Toei Flyers Pitcher [19]
1962^ Masayuki Tanemo Toei Flyers Catcher [19]
1963 Shigeo Nagashima§ Yomiuri Giants Third baseman [20]
1964 Joe Stanka Nankai Hawks Starting pitcher [21]
1965 Shigeo Nagashima§ (2) Yomiuri Giants Third baseman [22]
1966 Isao Shibata Yomiuri Giants Outfielder [23]
1967 Masaaki Mori§ Yomiuri Giants Catcher [24]
1968 Shigeru Takada Yomiuri Giants Outfielder [25]
1969 Shigeo Nagashima§ (3) Yomiuri Giants Third baseman [26]
1970 Shigeo Nagashima§ (4) Yomiuri Giants Third baseman [27]
1971 Toshimitsu Suetsugu Yomiuri Giants Outfielder [28]
1972 Tsuneo Horiuchi§ Yomiuri Giants Pitcher [29]
1973 Tsuneo Horiuchi§ (2) Yomiuri Giants Pitcher [30]
1974 Sumio Hirota Lotte Orions Outfielder [31]
1975 Takashi Yamaguchi Hankyu Braves Pitcher [32]
1976 Yutaka Fukumoto§ Hankyu Braves Outfielder [33]
1977 Hisashi Yamada§ Hankyu Braves Pitcher [34]
1978 Katsuo Osugi§ Yakult Swallows First baseman [35]
1979 Yoshihiko Takahashi Hiroshima Toyo Carp Shortstop [36]
1980 Jim Lyttle Hiroshima Toyo Carp Outfielder [37]
1981 Takashi Nishimoto Yomiuri Giants Starting pitcher [38]
1982 Osamu Higashio§ Seibu Lions Relief pitcher [39]
1983 Takuji Ota Seibu Lions Outfielder [40]
1984 Kiyoyuki Nagashima Hiroshima Toyo Carp Outfielder [41]
1985 Randy Bass Hanshin Tigers First baseman [42]
1986 Kimiyasu Kudoh§ Seibu Lions Pitcher [43]
1987 Kimiyasu Kudoh§ (2) Seibu Lions Pitcher [44]
1988 Hiromichi Ishige Seibu Lions Shortstop [45]
1989 Norihiro Komada Yomiuri Giants First baseman [46]
1990 Orestes Destrade Seibu Lions First baseman [47]
1991 Koji Akiyama§ Seibu Lions Outfielder [48]
1992 Takehiro Ishii Seibu Lions Starting pitcher [49]
1993 Kenjiro Kawasaki Yakult Swallows Starting pitcher [50]
1994 Hiromi Makihara Yomiuri Giants Starting pitcher [51]
1995 Tom O'Malley Yakult Swallows First baseman [52]
1996 Troy Neel Orix BlueWave Infielder [53]
1997 Atsuya Furuta§ Yakult Swallows Catcher [54]
1998 Takanori Suzuki Yokohama BayStars Outfielder [55]
1999 Koji Akiyama§ (2) Fukuoka Daiei Hawks Outfielder [56]
2000 Hideki Matsui Yomiuri Giants Outfielder [57]
2001 Atsuya Furuta§ (2) Yakult Swallows Catcher [58]
2002 Tomohiro Nioka Yomiuri Giants Shortstop [59]
2003 Toshiya Sugiuchi Fukuoka Daiei Hawks Starting pitcher [60]
2004 Takashi Ishii Seibu Lions Starting pitcher [61]
2005 Toshiaki Imaedagger Chiba Lotte Marines Third baseman [62]
2006 Atsunori Inaba Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters Outfielder [63]
2007 Norihiro Nakamura Chunichi Dragons Third baseman [64]
2008 Takayuki Kishidagger Saitama Seibu Lions Pitcher [65]
2009 Shinnosuke Abedagger Yomiuri Giants Catcher [66]
2010 Toshiaki Imaedagger (2) Chiba Lotte Marines Third baseman
2011 Hiroki Kokubo Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks First baseman
2012 Tetsuya Utsumidagger Yomiuri Giants Starting pitcher
2013 Manabu Mimadagger Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles Starting pitcher
2014 Seiichi Uchikawadagger Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks Outfielder
2015 Dae-ho Leedagger Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks First baseman [67]
2016 Brandon Lairddagger Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters Third baseman [68]
2017 Dennis Sarfatedagger Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks Pitcher [69]
2018 Takuya Kai Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks Catcher [70]
2019 Yurisbel Gracial Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks Outfielder .375 average, three home runs, six RBIs [71]
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