This year's opening ceremony at the 84th National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament was an emotional event for both players and survivors of last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami.
The tourney opened Wednesday at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, with a march of players from 32 schools, a regular opening event that was canceled last year in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
After the march around the stadium to the hit song "Everyday--katyusha" by the pop group AKB48, last year's winning school returned a championship flag to the organizer.
Then, Shoto Abe, captain of the Ishinomaki Technical High School in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, pledged fair play on behalf of the participants.
Abe's school was hit hard by the tsunami that followed the quake, as were many residents and other buildings in the prefecture.
"Through our play, let's move people, display courage and make people smile," he said. "Let's show Japan's fundamental power and human bonds."
Before the first game, students of Mie High School in Mie Prefecture in the bleachers along the baselines formed kanji reading, "Kizuna" (human bonds) and "Kokoro Hitotsu (One heart)" with the colored costumes they were wearing.
Cheering with musical instruments, which was banned last year in consideration of the region hit by the disaster, was allowed this year.
Yoko Ono says her own bitter experience in Japan during World War II inspired her to support WhyHunger's "Imagine There's No Hunger" campaign to fight childhood hunger around the world. (abcnews.go.com )
Japanese police arrested former sumo ozeki Kotomitsuki on Wednesday on suspicion of violating the immigration law by employing foreigners illegally at a barbecue restaurant he runs in Nagoya, central Japan. (Jiji Press )
A thousand days have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. However, only 1.2 percent of the planned land development for collective relocation of disaster-affected communities and construction of publicly operated housing have materialized, according to a survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun. (Yomiuri )
There is a fairly well-documented sex doll subculture in Japan, and one of its leading manufacturers is Orient Industry. Gaga and Universal Music Group's Japanese branch recruited the company to make replicas of the pop star. (businessinsider.com.au )