First Gateball Competition in Tokyo in 2023

Every start of the year there is a Gateball Singles Competition held in Tokyo. Players from outside Tokyo love to travel during the New Year holiday period to compete in this Singles Competition. Many players from neighbouring countries like S. Korea, China and Taiwan would compete because it is also a holiday time for many of them. However, the Covid pandemic has halted the event. This year the Gateball Singles Competition went ahead with smaller numbers in the Singles section. One overseas player who came from Taiwan was given a warm welcome.

Consequently the games were expanded to include a Doubles Competition and one in which a Doubles plays a Singles player. Altogether, there were 83 Players involved and 19 courts were set out on a huge area that is used for baseball and soccer. Satoshi Kamijo, one of the instigators for this Singles Competition, was helped by other people to set out the 19 courts.

Because of the multiple uses for this expanse of playing area, there were several lines permanently marked in white paint. The surface is artificial grass so great care was taken in setting out the line tapes. The corners were carefully anchored to avoid damage to the grass. Big spikes are attached to the metal plate.

Every game was started by the tournament manager and a big clock face was provided to show the count down. No referees were used and everyone kept their own score. As expected, mutual respect and honesty was paramount to a smooth running of each game. The youngest players were two brothers who were ‘captained’ by their mother.

It was a very good event for all concerned. Having played in quite a few Gateball competitions in Japan, this singles competition is the most challenging with little time between games. The joy of playing the game with like minded players is obvious as I met up with so many players.

Barbara Northcott