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  • Chunichi Ouendans banned

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 March 28日 Friday

    2 Chunichi Dragons ouendan (cheering squads) have been banned from all NPB stadiums. Here’s my transation of the news wire item:

    Police and all 12 NPB clubs ban 2 Chunichi Dragons cheer squads

    13:32, 27 March 2008

    In an effort to remove elements of organized crime and malicious ouendan (cheer squads) from NPB, the Pro Baseball Crime Elimination Committee have banned 2 unaffliated (private) ouendans of the Chunichi Dragons. The notification was received by the Dragons on 27 March, and the decision bans 26 members of one ouendan, and the other ouendan were not granted special (organized) cheering privileges for this season. It was found that the 2 groups in question have ties to organized crime.
    The group receiving the full ban are not allowed to enter any NPB stadium. The group that had its special cheering priviledge withheld can enter stadiums, but are not allowed to set up their organized cheering section in the stands.
    The Pro Baseball Crime Elimination Committee comprises of the 12 clubs of NPB and the National Police Agency among other organizations. The ouendan system has been on an approval basis since the 2006 season in an effort to eliminate criminal elements from the game.

    This is the dark underbelly of the baseball cheering squads in Japan, and the efforts made by NPB and the police should be applauded, even though some fans have complained about the lack of “oomph” in some clubs’ ouendans starting in 2006, but the diminished sound volume from the banning (oops, not granting cheering priviledges) of select ouendans will be good in the long run and the volume of the sound generated by the cheering squads will go back up to pre-2006 levels if there are enough dedicated supporters of the club.

    The troublesome ouendans have a history of grabbing up excessive number of outfield seats, being rude and malicious both verbally and physically to fellow and opposing fans, excessive public intoxication (though this is not a crime in Japan), along with their ties to organized crime gangs known as boryokudan.

    Hakuryukai (White Dragons Club) and Ryushinkai (Dragon Spirit Club) are the 2 ouendans in question, with the former being banned outright and the latter not getting its cheering priviledges granted.

    In response to this news, all Chunichi ouendans (there are way more than 2) will not lead any cheering, and definitely not with the usual drums and trumpets (though the Chiba Lotte Marines supporters use a soccer/football style cheering using mostly just their voice and hands, pretty amazing sight and sound in their unison). It will be interesting to see how the Dragons fans react to this as the Central League season opens tonight. They just might enjoy the MLB style natural reactions to the onfield actions (though there is way too much PA sound effect prodding in NA sports for my tastes…)

    Original Kyodo wire news item (in Japanese).

    中日応援2団体を活動禁止 警察庁と12球団が処分

    2008年3月27日 13時32分


    4 Responses to “Chunichi Ouendans banned”

    1. Deanna said

      They WHAT?

      I mean, I’m all for banning the ouendan that cause problems, but it sounded like these are just two private groups, not the official one? What the hell? I can’t imagine people NOT cheering, although to be fair I also wasn’t listening too carefully during the news broadcast of last night’s game…

    2. […] little tidbit on Simon Currie’s site, about two Chunichi Dragons cheering squads, known as Hakuryukai (White Dragons Club) and […]

    3. simoncurrie said


      I was sort of watching the Swallows – Giants opener last night on TV (David triumphs over Goliath, for one day! Lim looked good though, great movement on his fast pitches and deceptive delivery), so I barely just saw the recap of the Dragons opener, so I didn’t notice anything either.

      Anyways, a quick glance of the Dragons mixi (Japanese SNS) community shows that many fans were predictably complaining about the lack of coordinated cheering, since that can intimidate the opposition (valid point, but it’s only the first game without these 2 ouendans). While a minority were greeting this as perhaps the dawn of a new age in Dragons cheering, moving towards MLB style (PA system prodded and) natural ebb and flow cheering, which has its own merits.

      There are 3 other Nagoya groups accredited with official cheering squad status for the Dragons, but they are not leading cheers right now because they’re showing solidarity with the 2 banned ouendans. Nothing’s made clear regarding if and when the 3 other ouendan will start leading the cheers.

      Personally, I think it’d be neat if the Dragons went to something close to MLB style cheering, just to add some variation to Pro-Yakyu. The MLB opening series in Tokyo proved that Japanese people are capable of cheering without being led. Then again, the most likely conclusion to this situation is that the 3 other ouendans will start leading the cheers sooner rather than later in the season and things will be a-OK again (except for the 2 banned squads, but they seemed to have deserved it).

      After all, the trumpet and drums style cheering has only been in NPB since the 70’s when the Carp fans began doing it and supporters of other clubs quickly followed suit. So, it’s as traditional as the DH. Then again, they are very Japanese (so, I think adding some variety in cheering styles would be neat).

    4. Deanna said

      I think it sucks. What the heck is MLB style cheering anyway? Yelling “LET’S GO RED SOX” at random intervals and only clapping when something cool happens, and sitting there drinking beer and chatting with your friends and ignoring the game for the rest of the time? Part of why I love baseball here is because it’s NOT stupid and dull and boring to be a fan. Like it or hate it, the ouendan represent a group, and without them, being a fan loses a decent chunk of unity with the group.

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