The evening of November 4. The Minami district of Osaka was crowded with foreign tourists and many other people, as it was a three-day weekend. Under such circumstances, riot police and police officers gathered one after another, occupying a lane of Midosuji Avenue with police vehicles and other vehicles. By 6:00 p.m., the police had already set up the Dotonbori Bridge, which has been used for the league championship and Halloween.
On the day of the game, Hanshin scored a run in the top of the 2nd inning, but Orix scored two runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning, and the plainclothes police who were on guard said, “We’ll have to go on guard again tomorrow.” The game proceeded in the Orix’s favor, and the Orix eventually grabbed the victory. A Hanshin fan watching the game on his phone at the pier near Ebisubashi Bridge said, “What the hell!” and other shouts as they quickly left the scene. The police gradually reduced their security measures, and around 10:30 p.m., the leader of the riot police said to his men , “Disarm it!” and the police officers also left the scene. The security on the Ebisu Bridge was minimal, but the scene returned to normal.
On November 5, the day of the final game finally arrived. The Dotonbori area was filled with tension as to whether Hanshin or Orix would win. In the early innings, neither team was able to score any runs, and in the top of the 4th inning, the Hanshin scored three runs on a home run. The game was now in a mood of Hanshin dominance. At the same time, the number of police officers gradually began to increase.
Before 9:00 p.m., the promenade on both banks of Dotonbori was overflowing with people. Many people had gathered to catch a glimpse of the dives into the river. In response, the police began to restrict the flow of people onto the promenade. At around 9:40 p.m., the Hanshin baseball team won the championship in Japan for the second time in 38 years. At that moment, overflowing jubilation could be heard from everywhere. Immediately afterwards, people started jumping into the river. The police officers were calling for the prohibition of diving, but the police officers’ voices did not reach them and they jumped into the river one after another.
Unlike the time when the league won the championship, the police officers were seen leaving with the participants after they jumped in. A man dressed in a Colonel Sanders costume was also thrown into the river after being lifted up by his friends, reminiscent of the throwing of the dolls 38 years ago.
In front of the Kani-Doraku, the crowd was in a state of excitement as they lifted the man up and sang Rokko Oroshi (Rokko Japanese folk song). The police officers repeatedly called out to the crowd, “You’re not going to finish until you look back at the pictures you’re taking anyway, so fix your phone and get the hell out of here.” The Hanshin Tigers fever is likely to continue to sweep Osaka.
Photography and text by： Takuma Arimura