Haruka Matsuda and Masaru Ito win 39th Japan All-Star Championships



    By Masahiko Kosugi

    Haruka_Matsuda_5200.jpg The NHK Cup 39th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships were held in Kokubnji Park Lanes, 32 Brunswick wooden lanes, Kokubnji-Shi, Tokyo from May 13-15. Haruka Matsuda (pictured left) and Masaru Ito, both members of the Japanese National Team, claimed the titles in the women's and men's division, respectively.

    The NHK Cup Japan All-Star Invitational Championships are the most important individual championships in Japan amateur bowling and the winners are considered the best amateur bowlers in Japan.

    Eligible to participate in the prestigious event are the defending champions, national team members, Team Japan members, the prize winners of JBC official championships and bowlers, who bowled more than 1000 games within the year in JBC approved tournaments.

    The picture shows the top 3 men and the top 3 women of the NHK Cup 39th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships.

    The men's and women's winner of the championships are considered the best bowlers in Japan. NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, is virtually a national broadcasting corporation. Both the men's and the women's Stepladder grand finals are broadcasted nationwide by NHK every year.

    The format is different from the ordinary ones. 156 men and 120 women participated in this year's event. The top 48 male and 30 female bowlers after 9 games are qualified for the semi-finals and bowled another 6 games. The top 12 men and women after 15 games advanced to the Masters Finals played in a Round Robin format (10 bonus points per win). The top 3 bowlers in each division qualified for Masters Grand Finals (one-game matches).

    Pictured here is winner Masaru Ito in an interview immediately after winning the men's title.

    All three qualifiers for women's stepladder finals are first-timers on the national squad, selected during a nation-wide tournament in January. 25-year-old Haruka gave up her job to start a bowling career (Japan has men's and women's professional bowlers tour) and fulfilled her dream to become a national team member.

    In the championship match, she defeated Maki Nakano, 225-189, to win her first career national title. Nakano bested Yuka Tsuchiya in the opening match, 218-206. All three took a giant step towards securing a spot for the team that will participate in the inaugural Women's World Championship in Aalborg, Denmark, August 3-14.

    The men's final featured two Japanese veterans, Yasuo Nishida and Tetsuya Ishijima, both 57 years old. However, national team captain Masaru Ito, 28, who rolled one of two perfect games in the tournament (Haruyoshi Kimura rolled the other), had his own plans.

    Ito (pictured), seeded second, defeated Ishijima in a high-scoring opening match, 257-235, then topped Nishida in the championship match, 234-201. Ito will represent Japan in the World Games in Germany, in July.

    NHK Cup 39th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships
    - Men's Division - Championship Round

    Kokubnji Park Lanes in Tokyo, Japan
    May 13-15, 2005

    1. Masaru Ito, Fukushima
    2. Yasuo Nishida, Osaka
    3. Tetsuya Ishijima, Shizuoka

    Playoff Results:
    First Match: Ito def. Ishijima, 257-235
    Championship Match: Ito def. Nishida, 234-201

    Top 6 after Round Robin with pinfall, bonus and total:
    1. Yasuo Nishida, Osaka, 1655, 30, 1705
    2. Masaru Ito, Fukushima, 1634, 50, 1684
    3. Tetsuya Ishijima, Shizuoka, 1592, 50, 1642

    Missed Cut:
    4. Ryohei Suzuki, IBAJ, 1611, 30, 1641
    5. Mitsuhiro Otsuki, Aichi, 1606, 30, 1636
    6. Toshihiko Takahashi, Gifu, 1593, 30, 1623

    Honor Scores:
    300-Game: Masaru Ito, Fukushima, and Haruyoshi Kimura, IBAJ High Series: Masaru Ito, Fukushima - 831

    NHK Cup 39th Japan All-Star Invitational Championships
    - Women's Division - Championship Round

    Kokubnji Park Lanes in Tokyo, Japan
    May 13-15, 2005

    1. Haruka Matsuda, Hokkaido
    2. Maki Nakano, Shizuoka
    3. Yuka Tsuchiya, Kanagawa

    Playoff Results:
    First Match: Nakano def. Tsuchiya, 218-206
    Championship Match: Matsuda def. Nakano, 225-189

    Top 6 after Round Robin with pinfall, bonus and total:
    1. Haruka Matsuda, Hokkaido, 1599, 50, 1649
    2. Yuka Tsuchiya, Kanagawa, 1569, 50, 1619
    3. Maki Nakano, Shizuoka, 1510, 60, 1570

    Missed Cut:
    4. Mihoro Kawamura, Aichi, 1512, 40, 1552
    5. Ayano Katai, Shizuoka, 1499, 40, 1539
    6. Maki Sano, Ishikawa, 1493, 40, 1533

    Honor Scores:
    High Game: Kazue Kasai, Hokkaido - 289
    High Series: Yuka Tsuchiya, Kanagawa - 736