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Parents' Guide to

Koshien: Japan's Field of Dreams

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Compelling docu about Japan's biggest baseball tournament.

Movie NR 2021 94 minutes
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This is a compelling documentary about how seriously high-school baseball players and coaches in Japan take the opportunity to participate in the country's annual tournament. Baseball might be known as America's favorite pastime, but the Japanese have made it a national obsession. Mizutani, the older of the two coaches highlighted, is hyper-focused on his team to the point that he dashed his own parents' expectations for him to take over the family business. He's a fascinating, nuanced character to follow, particularly after the filmmakers introduce Sasaki, who was once Mizutani's protege but ended up becoming head coach of one of the most storied high schools in Japan.

Director Ema Ryan Yamazaki highlights the coaches more than the players in Koshien, but a few players' stories stand out for their perseverance, discipline, and, yes, heartbreak. This isn't a Hollywood sports movie in which every underdog gets a happy ending. The story here is in the players' and coaches' devotion to their teams -- and the earnest love of the game they all display. Because of the regional and "anything can happen" nature of the single-elimination tournament, every team, even those favored to win, has to bring their all to every single game. This is an ideal pick for families who love baseball.

Movie Details

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