Japan national team captain Tomoyuki Sasaki
of Kanagawa and women’s national member Mirai Ishimoto
of the Intercollegiate Bowling Association of Japan won the men’s and women’s titles in the NHK Cup 50th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships to earn Japan’s most prestigious individual bowling titles.
It was the third victory in the Japan All-Star Championships for Sasaki and the first for reigning World Youth Masters champion Ishimoto.
The NHK Cup 50th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships, Japan’s most significant individual championships, were held from May 20-22 at Shinsayama Grand Bowl (pictured right), Sayama-Shi, Saitama-Ken, Japan.
Only previous champions, Japan national team and youth national team members, bowlers who have represented Japan in World Tenpin Bowling Association (WTBA) or Asian Bowling Federation (ABF) championships, prize winners of Japan Bowling Congress (JBC) championships and bowlers who have bowled more than 1,000 games in JBC sanctioned tournaments within the previous year are qualified for the event.
The men’s and women’s champions are considered the best amateur bowlers in Japan.
All players bowled nine games of qualifying with the top 40 men and the top 28 women advancing to the semifinals. Following another six games, the top 12 division leaders with the highest 15-game total qualified for the final round.
Those 12 bowled another six-game block to cut to the top four men and the top four women for the championship round. All four players bowled a one-game grand final elimination match with the top two players advancing to the championship match.
Both men’s & women’s championship matches were broadcasted live across the nation by NHK (Nihon Hoso Kyokai or Japan Broadcasting Corporation), the national broadcaster. The shows were re-broadcasted by NHK’s satellite TV a week later in two-hour program.
Second-seeded Daisuke Yoshida
(left) of Aichi rolled a big 247 game in the men’s eliminator round to easily advance to the title match. Top-seeded Sasaki (right) beat out Shogo Wada
of Wakayama for the last spot by mere three pins, 192-189, with Yuta Saito
of Kanagawa a distant fourth on 144.
Men’s finalists: L-R Sasaki, Yoshida, Wada and Saito.
Sasaki rebounded with 236 game in the championship match to seal his victory well before the final frame as Yoshida managed only 158 and had to settle for second place.
The women’s eliminator match was a closer affair than the men’s as all four finalists finished within 15 pins. Haruna Nojima
(left) of Shizuoka, who took the fourth and last spot for the finals led the round with 206 and was closely followed by top-seeded Ishimoto (right), who chalked up 205.
Missing the cut to the TV finals were third-seeded Shion Izumune of Ehime with 201 and second-seeded Hikaru Takekawa of Gifu with 191, who finished in third and fourth place, respectively.
Women’s finalists: L-R Ishimoto, Takekawa, Izumune and Nojima.
In the women’s TV match, Ishimoto, who also won the tournament’s High Series Award rolled a solid 191 game to defeat Nojima, who managed 174.
The NHK Cup 50th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships was the 28th event since the Japan Broadcasting Corporation NHK granted the Cup.
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Takuma Echigo, Hikaru Takekawa victorious at NHK Cup 45th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships
JBC Youth National Team members Misaki Mukotani, Shusaku Asato win 44th NHK Cup
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Defending champion Haruka Matsuda and Tomoyuki Sasaki win prestigious 40th NHK Cup
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NHK Cup 50th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships – Men’s Division
1. Tomoyuki Sasaki, Kanagawa, 428 (2 games)
2. Daisuke Yoshida, Aichi, 405 (2 games)
3. Shogo Wada, Wakayama, 189 (1 game)
4. Yuta Saito, Kanagawa, 144 (1 game)
Did not advance after 21 games:
5. Takayuki Torao, Aichi, 4,364
6. Yuta Takagi, Mie, 4,335
Grand Final Eliminator Match: No. 2 Yoshida (247), No. 1 Sasaki (192), No. 3 Wada (189), No. 4 Saito (144)
Yoshida and Sasaki advanced.
Championship Match: Sasaki def. Yoshida, 236-158
High Game Award: 300 – Sayato Takahira, Aichi
High Series Award: 769 – Yuhi Shinbata, Tokyo
NHK Cup 50th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships – Women’s Division
1. Mirai Ishimoto, IBAJ, 396 (2 games)
2. Haruna Nojima, Shizuoka, 380 (2 games)
3. Shion Izumune, Ehime, 201 (1 game)
4. Hikaru Takekawa, Gifu, 191 (1 game)
Did not advance after 21 games:
5. Mitsuki Okamoto, Fukuoka, 4,230
6. Kana Shimoide, Chiba, 4196
Grand Final Eliminator Match: No. 4 Nojima (206), No. 1 Ishimoto (205), No 3 Izumune (201), No. 2 Takekawa (191)
Nojima and Ishimoto advanced.
Championship Match: Ishimoto def. Nojima, 191-174
High Game Award: 268 – Maki Nakano, Osaka
High Series Award: 692 – Mirai Ishimoto, IBAJ