Former Samurai Japan coach, who kneeled in the ‘2015 Korea-Japan War’, is promoted internally → takes over as head coach of Japan’s Softbank first team

Coach Hiroki Kokubo, who previously served as the head coach of the Japanese national team ‘Samurai Japan’, will take command of the Softbank Hawks first team.

Japan’s ‘Sponichi Annex’ quoted Softbank’s announcement on the 21st (Korean time) and said, “Coach Kokubo, the second-team coach, will take office as the first-team coach.” Director Kokubo is scheduled to hold an inauguration press conference on the 23rd.

Softbank recorded 71 wins, 3 draws, 69 losses, and a winning percentage of 0.5071 this year, falling behind Chiba Lotte Marines by 1 game, but finished the season in 3rd place in the Pacific League, Class A (1st to 3rd). But SoftBank’s fall baseball season was too short. Softbank finished this season’s schedule with 1 win and 2 losses in the Climax Series First Stage match against Chiba Lotte.

As SoftBank finished its season schedule, there was a change in the team, with coach Hiroshi Fujimoto retiring. Softbank strengthened its strength by recruiting Kensuke Kondo, who was the biggest free agent in the off-season, and Roberto Osuna, who rose to the top as a closing pitcher in the major leagues, but did not achieve the results expected.메이저놀이터

According to Japan’s ‘Sponichi Annex’, former coach Fujimoto said with tears in his eyes, “You can say it was difficult, but we were able to have an enjoyable two years because the players worked hard. It was really difficult to win while changing generations.” If his performance was good, he could have tried to extend his contract, but as the ending was disappointing, he had to step down from the baton after completing his two-year term.

As Coach Fujimoto’s contract ended, the person who emerged as the most influential person was Coach Kokubo, who was serving as the second team commander. Coach Kokubo can be seen as a franchise star who began his professional career after being selected by the Fukuoka Daie Hawks (currently Softbank) in the second round of the 1993 Japanese professional baseball rookie draft, and returned to Softbank after playing for the Yomiuri Giants.

During his active career, Manager Kokubo was the home run king in 2015 and the RBI king in 2017, won three Golden Gloves (second baseman in 1995, first baseman in 2010-2011), and was selected as a Best Niner three times, appearing in a total of 2,057 games and recording 2,041 hits. He is a legend with 413 home runs, 1,304 RBIs, 1,091 runs, a batting average of 0.273, and an OPS of 0.838.

After taking off his active uniform at the end of the 2012 season, Coach Kokubo took a leadership role in ‘Samurai Japan’, and was the first head coach after the national team called ‘Samurai Japan’ was founded. Coach Kokubo received a lot of criticism for falling to Korea in third place in the 2015 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier 12, but he led the team to advance to the semifinals in the 2017 World Baseball Classic (WBC).

Coach Kokubo was unable to return to the field for a while after putting down the baton of Samurai Japan at the end of the WBC in 2017, but he served as the head coach of Softbank’s first team in 2021 and has been the manager of the second team since last year, and is the second team’s coach this year. As a result of leading the Western League championship, he was promoted internally and took over as head coach of the first team.