Watch the All Japan High School Championship Finals on Volleyball TV
The 75th annual Haruko tournament will feature a total of 104 teams
Published 04:00, 04 Jan 2023
52 teams per gender from all over the country will get together at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium in the Japanese capital for the tournament, which is also called Haruko. Regional qualifications were organised so that each prefecture in Japan is represented by at least one team per gender. Both 2022 champions - Japan Aviation High School of Yamanashi for boys and Shujitsu High School of Okayama for girls – will be back in 2023 to defend their titles.
With 12 schools seeded directly into the second round, the remaining 40 will get the event underway on January 4. Over five competition days, the single elimination bracket will gradually lead to the tournament culmination on Sunday, January 8, when the new champions in both genders will be decided live on Volleyball TV.
All matches through the quarterfinals will be played in a best-of-three format. The winners of the four semifinals and the two finals will be determined in a best-of-five format.
The annual championship first took place back in 1948 and over the years it has become one of the highlights on the Japanese volleyball calendar. It has been held in the current format since 2011. The event, which is organised by the Japanese Volleyball Association and the National High School Athletic Federation, gives professional prospects the opportunity to showcase their skills before their high school graduation.
Many successful members of the Japanese national teams through the years have participated and excelled in the tournament. One of the country’s biggest volleyball stars, 21-year-old Ran Takahashi is one shining example. He won Haruko in 2020 with his high school team, Higashiyama of Kyoto, and earned the Most Valuable Player award. Hinotori Nippon’s outside hitter Kotona Hayashi won the girls’ tournament in 2018 with Kinrankai High School of Osaka.