Chunichi Ouendans banned
Posted by simon c 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 2008In 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.(Kyodo)
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).