Speaker's Profile


Hiroshi Sasaki

High School baseball coach for both Shohei Otani and Yusei Kikuchi, MBL Players

Hanamaki Higashi High School which has produced two Major League Baseball (MLB) players–Shohei Otani and Yusei Kikuchi. We found Hiroshi Sasaki, coach of the school’s baseball team, is bonsai hobbyist. Coaching young people and growing bonsai…do they have anything in common?

Sasaki is renowned not only in Japan but also in the US–the home of baseball–as a coach who delivers results using his flexible, innovative approach. In Japan, most high schools with a strong and prestigious baseball team recruit outstanding players from all over the country. This does not ring true for the Sasaki-led Hanamaki Higashi team. By sticking to the principle “Made in Iwate,” the team comprises only players from within Iwate Prefecture. This approach may be feasible in metropolitan areas such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, but Iwate Prefecture has a comparatively small population of only 1.2 million. Iwate does not seem to be the ideal place for discovering talent. So, why is Hanamaki Higashi so strong? What are the secrets the team uses to enable their players to grow and develop? Where do the concepts of bonsai fit into the picture?

Sasaki will speak about the unique ways to develop young players in associated with Bonsai.


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