Takahashi, Sato triumph in NHK Cup 47th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships



     Japan national team member Toshihiko Takahashi (pictured right) of Gifu and Yuri Sato (left) of Kanagawa triumphed in the live TV stepladder finals of the NHK Cup 47th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships en route to win Japan's most prestigious individual bowling titles.

    Click image for larger view.

    260 players, 147 men and 113 women, participated in Japan's most important annual championships, which were held from May 17-19, 2013 at JFE Chiba River Lanes, a 64-laner with Brunswick wooden lanes in Chiba-Shi, Chiba-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 bowlers in Japan.

    In a change for 2013, the top four men and the top four women after 21 games advanced to the finals. All four players bowled a one-game shootout match with the top two players advancing to the championship match which was broadcasted live nationwide on NHK.

     Takahashi and fellow Gifu bowler Shusaku Asato rolled games of 212 and 199, respectively, to eliminate Yuhi Shinbata of Tokyo (191) and Shogo Wada of Wakayama (175).

    Takahashi, who rolled one of three 300 games in the men's division (Norihiko Nakajima of Nagano and Yoshinao Masatoki of Nagasaki were the others), carried the momentum into the final match and defeated Asato 228-214, to wrap up the title.

    Pictured right are the top six men. Click image for larger view.

     Sato led the women's semifinal match with 201 and was followed by Haruna Nojima of Shizuoka with 191, while Kana Shimoide of Chiba (179) and Futaba Imai of Nagasaki (173) were eliminated to finish third and fourth, respectively.

    Sato, who also received the tournament's High Series Award (740 for three games), topped Nojima in the championship match, 221-209, to seal the victory.

    Pictured left are the top six women. Click image for larger view.

    The NHK Cup 47th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships was the 25th event since the Japan Broadcasting Corporation NHK (Nihon Hoso Kyokai), a quasi-national broadcasting corporation, granted the Cup. Both championship matches, men and women, are live-broadcasted nationwide by NHK every year.

    This is the only bowling tournament that is broadcasted live in Japan. The championship rounds will be re-broadcasted by NHK's satellite TV one week later in a two-hour program.


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    NHK Cup 47th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships - Men's Division

     Championship Round:
    1. Toshihiko Takahashi, Gifu, 440 (2 games)
    2. Shusaku Asato, Gifu, 413 (2 games)
    3. Yuhi Shinbata, Tokyo, 191 (1 game)
    4. Shogo Wada, Wakayama, 175 (1 game)
    5. Daisuke Yoshida, Aichi
    6. Yoshinao Masatoki, Nagasaki

    Top 6 men from left to right. Click image for larger view.

    Playoff Results:
    Semifinal Shootout Match: Takahashi (212), Asato (199), Shinbata (191), Wada (175);
    Takahashi and Asato advance.
    Championship Match: Takahashi def. Asato, 228-214.


    NHK Cup 47th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships - Women's Division

     Championship Round:
    1. Yuri Sato, Kangawa, 422 (2 games)
    2. Haruna Nojima, Shizuoka, 400 (2 games)
    3. Kana Shimoide, Chiba, 179 (1 game)
    4. Futaba Imai, Nagasaki, 173 (1 game)
    5. Shinobu Saito, Aomori
    6. Chika Terashita, Hokkaido

    Top 6 women from left to right. Click image for larger view.

    Playoff Results:
    Semifinal Shootout Match: Sato (201), Nojima (191), Shimoide (179), Imai (173); Sato and Nojima advance.
    Championship Match: Sato def. No. 1 Nojima, 221-209.


    High Game/High Series Awards

     Women High Game Award:
    288 - Miho Hisamatsu (left), Shizuoka

    Women High Series Award:
    740 - Yuri Sato (right), Kangawa

    Click image for larger view.


     Men High Game Award:
    300 - Toshihiko Takahashi (Gifu), Norihiko Nakajima (Nagano) and Yoshinao Masatoki (Nagasaki)
    (from left to right)

    Men High Series Award:
    800 - Norihiko Nakajima (Nagano)

    Click image for larger view.