Mr. Sato forces his fellow ossan to step up to the plate in the name of baseball and school spirit.

August is the month of nonstop baseball fun (or not fun, depending on who you are) in Japan as the National High School Baseball Championship, otherwise known as Summer Koshien, whips the country into a fever of hometown pride as the strongest high school teams from across the country compete in a single-elimination tournament. The very first iteration of this annual summer tradition was held August 18-23, 1915, and consequently August 18 is now known as High School Baseball Commemoration Day in Japan.

Only the winners at Koshien have the privilege of singing their school song (“koka“) in front of the whole stadium to celebrate their difficult journey and sacrifices along the way. It’s worth noting that Japanese school songs are usually a very solemn affair and ubiquitous at all types of school ceremonies designed to make the audience bawl their eyes out. Therefore, all students must learn their school song by heart and be ready to belt it out on a moment’s notice.

This year’s High School Baseball Commemoration Day got our Japanese-language corresponding ace Mr. Sato thinking: Could a group of middle-aged ossan in the office still remember the songs that were drilled into them in their youths? He decided they didn’t have a choice in the matter and set out to test their memories. Here he is with the four unlucky victims that he rounded up along with the number of years ago that they graduated high school: Mr. Sato (30), Masanuki Sunakoma (24), Seiji Nakazawa (22), Takashi Harada (20), and Ahiruneko (18).

▼ (Clockwise from upper left) Masanuki, Mr. Sato, Ahiruneko, Seiji, Takashi. We can only hope that their actual high school yearbook photos were more attractive.

As the oldest of the ossan, Mr. Sato took it upon himself to transform into Cheer Leader Sato (not coming to your local Barbie section anytime soon). Traditional Japanese school cheering uniforms are quite different from their western counterparts and a routine involves a series of precise movements and yells, all to the beat of a taiko drum. The office was fresh out of drums on this day, but nonetheless he donned his costume gakuran and adopted his best drill sergeant attitude instead.

Mr. Sato: All right you sorry lot, you all had to sing school songs in high school, right? Don’t even try telling me that you didn’t.

The Sorry Lot: Yes, we did, but…

Mr. Sato: OK then, you should definitely remember them. I remember all of mine perfectly from elementary school, junior high, and high school. You’ve gotta be able to sing them. You’re up first, Takashi!

Takashi (20 years since graduation): I don’t remember it…ehehe…

Mr. Sato: What’re you laughing at, you swine?! This isn’t funny at all!!

Mr. Sato: Clench your teeth!

Takashi: *smiling clenching teeth sounds*


Takashi: GAAAAAH!!!

Well, that escalated quickly. And so it continued.

Mr. Sato: Masanuki! You’re up next. You can sing it, right?

Masanuki (24 years since graduation): Excuse me, but I also don’t remember mine.

Mr. Sato: You too?! Don’t pretend to be some cool, aloof guy!

Mr. Sato: Clench your teeth!

Masanuki: *muffled clenching teeth sounds*


Masanuki: GAAAAAH!!!

Mr. Sato: Ahiruneko, what about you?

Ahiruneko (18 years since graduation): There’s no way I’d remember a song that I haven’t sung once since graduation.

Mr. Sato: What’s with that sass?! You think you’re so full of yourself since you’re good at karaoke. It’s B.S. that you can sing “Innocent World” [by Mr. Children] by heart but not your school song!

Mr. Sato: Clench your teeth!

Ahiruneko: *awkward clenching teeth sounds*


Ahiruneko: GAAAAAH!!!

Mr. Sato: Seiji, you’re my last hope. You’re not gonna let me down, are you?

Seiji (22 years since graduation): Well, I can still sing my elementary school song. I liked it a lot.

Mr. Sato: This is High School Baseball Commemoration Day! Nobody cares about your elementary school song. And you call yourself a musician?!

Mr. Sato: Clench your teeth!

Seiji: *distressed clenching teeth sounds*


Seiji: GAAAAAH!!!

At this point Mr. Sato had had enough of this rubbish. He decided to dig up a distant memory of his bucolic upbringing in Shimane Prefecture and show them how it was done.

Mr. Sato: All right, you sorry lot. Clean your ears out and listen well. Here’s Shimane Prefectural Matsue Commercial High School’s school song!

▼ Yama murasaki ni mizu kiyoki~ (“Purple mountains and pure water”)

Waga san’in no fukei wa~ (“Our scenery in the shelter of the mountains”)

Kamiyo no rekishi to morotomo ni~ (“Together with the history of the ancient times”)

Tenka ni hokoru ni~ (“Of this world”)

Tarinubeshi~ (“We must be worthy”)

To the amazement of all, Mr. Sato proceeded to belt out the first verse of his school song without missing a beat.

▼ Mr. Sato showing how it’s done from start to finish


And so, Mr. Sato will watch over these four closely to make sure they can properly sing their high school songs in time for next year’s observation of High School Baseball Commemoration Day. If they can’t, you can bet that he’ll have some kind of zany consequence up his sleeve.

Reference: Shimane Prefectural Matsue Commercial High School
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