Kuwata and Kiyohara’s Legacy Ignites Revival: PL Gakuen High School Baseball Returns | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Kuwata and Kiyohara’s Legacy Ignites Revival: PL Gakuen High School Baseball Returns

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Kiyohara and Kuwata, the baseball legendary “KK duo” (PHOTO: Katsuro Okazawa/Afro)

Will the legend begin again?

The baseball team of PL Gakuen (Tondabayashi City, Osaka Prefecture) boasts seven Koshien championships. The club has been on hiatus since 2005, but it is now known that it has welcomed a new student and is moving toward revival.


PL Gakuen is one of the most prestigious high school baseball clubs in Japan. The KK duo of Masumi Kuwata (55) and Kazuhiro Kiyohara (56) participated in the Koshien five times in spring and summer, winning the championship twice and finishing runner-up twice, and more than 80 of their former players have gone on to play professionally. Next season, Kazuyoshi Tatsunami (54) of Chunichi, Kazuo Matsui (48) of Seibu, and Toshiaki Imae (40) of Rakuten will serve as managers.

Senior students batting underclassmen 

The school had been a powerhouse, and had been named a regular at the Koshien National Championships, but things changed when a member of the club became violent.

The PL baseball team had a strict hierarchical relationship, with underclassmen taking care of upperclassmen under the valet system, and there were frequent incidents of violence by club members and coaches. The reason for the suspension of the club was a violent incident in 2013 in which an upperclassman beat an underclassman with a baseball bat.

It is said that the school’s administrator, the PL Order, decided to suspend the baseball club after it was banned from playing outside games for six months. In 2015, the school quit recruiting members for the club, and in 2017, it withdrew from the Osaka Prefecture high school baseball league.

However, there is a strong desire among alumni and high school baseball fans for the club to be reinstated, and according to an official of the church, The third generation of the club is scheduled to join in 2020.

According to an official of the church, the reason for this is that the church’s attitude toward the baseball team has gradually changed since the death of the third Oyasama in 2020.

And this year, for the first time in nine years, the club decided to allow a new member to join.

The new member is currently a first-year student and was a member of the basketball team in junior high school. Although they have no experience in baseball, they are practicing on the field with dreams of the hardball team playing as they did in the past.


Yuichi Kawakami, vice principal of PL Gakuen, who served as director of the baseball team from 2016 until the team’s suspension, said, “The current club members are all first-year students. He expressed his wish to join the hardball team, and the school decided to support him by allowing him to join the team after confirming his wish with the faculty. I knock on the baseball team’s field for the students, and we practice together with the softball team.”

Joint practice with the softball team

The school’s softball team is also strong, having represented Osaka in the national tournament in 2017. Although the number of members has been reduced to less than nine, the team can practice jointly with the hardball team, only using a different ball. The fact that the PL Baseball Club has accepted the members of the hardball team is a revival of the PL Baseball Club.


“The PL Baseball Club has been officially reinstated as a school club, but with only one member. However, since there is only one member, the club has not yet been registered with the Osaka Prefecture High School Baseball Federation. If more people want to join the baseball club and we are able to play games in the future, we will re-register with the Federation so that we will be able to play in official games. There are other clubs besides the baseball club that have been suspended, but our policy is the same: if there are students who want to play in the club, we will respect their wishes and reinstate the club.”

For high school baseball fans of yesteryear, the revival of the prestigious PL is good news. However, some believe that the future is not so bright.

PL Gakuen is an integrated junior high and high school, and students must be members of the church. The current number of students in the high school is about 50 to 60, and unless the population increases, the number of applicants for the baseball team will not increase. In addition, good baseball players will be invited by strong schools to go there, so how many members will be attracted to the club? The barriers to PL Gakuen winning the fierce competition in Osaka and making another appearance in the Koshien Tournament will be quite high.

The school’s baseball team was once known as the PL of Reversal for its many miracles. We hope that the PL baseball team will overcome adversity and achieve glory at the Koshien again.

Kiyohara, who hit 64 home runs in high school
Kuwata, who also hit 25 home runs in high school
The rare “KK duo” in their uniforms
Kuwata and Kiyohara captivated fans all over Japan
Kiyohara with his first set of double teeth.
Tatsunami was two grades junior to the “KK duo. Current manager of Chunichi
Atsushi Kataoka, who was in the same grade as Tatsunami
Hiroki Nomura, who supported the second golden era of the PL with Tatsunami and Kataoka
Matsui, who was also a pitcher in the PL. Current manager of Seibu
  • Interview and text by Masayoshi Katayama


  • PHOTO Katsuro Okazawa/Afro

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