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Eizo Matsui

 

Date and Place of Birth: November 10, 1918 Tamachi, Hamamatsu City, Japan
Date and Place of Death:    May 28, 1943 Yao Jiafang, Hubei Province, China
Baseball Experience: College
Position: Pitcher/Outfielder
Rank: Unknown
Military Unit: 34th Infantry Regiment, Imperial Japanese Army
Area Served: China

Eizo Matsui was born in Tamachi, Hamamatsu City, Japan on November 10, 1918. In the summer of 1930, while in junior high school, he participated as a pitcher in Group A of the Japan Youth Baseball Tournament that was held at Waseda University’s Tozuka Stadium. Matsui’s team won the tournament and repeated the feat the following year.

With enthusiasm for high school baseball at fever pitch, there was a great deal of attention put on the young Matsui. Chairperson Kenzo Endo of the Gifu Shogyo (Commercial & Business) High School Baseball Booster Club made the following offer to Matsui’s father, Hanjiro: "Absolutely no money shall be paid. However, our school shall raise young Eizo to become an outstanding human being, and we shall take responsibility for his cultivation until he graduates from university."

Chairperson Endo’s offer was accepted. Matsui left Hamamatsu and was raised under the supervision of Kenzo Endo. Matsui first transferred to Gifu Kinka High School. He then entered the Gifu Shogyo High School in 1932. Chairperson Endo and his wife did not have any children of their own, and they treated Matsui as if he were a son.

In the spring of Matsui's second year in high school, the Gifu Shogyo High School baseball team won the National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament. Despite being only 14 years old, Matsui’s performance as the winning pitcher was outstanding. In the spring of 1935, Gifu Shogyo won the national tournament again, becoming the top high school baseball team in Japan for the second consecutive year. This time Matsui contributed to the victory both on the mound and with his bat.

In 1936, Gifu Shogyo battled through a Tokai Region Tournament to secure the school's first-ever berth in the Summer High School Baseball Tournament held at Koshien Stadium. Their opponent in the championship game was Heian High School, a team that had finished as runner-up twice in the past. Matsui held Heian to just one run to capture the tournament victory. Matsui set Koshien records of 11 wins in the National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament and 3 homeruns in a single game (achieved during the summer of 1936 against Morioka Shogyo).

After graduating from high school, Matsui played Tokyo Big 6 baseball with Waseda University. His debut came during Waseda's first autumn league game versus Rikkyo University as a relief pitcher in the bottom of the 9th inning with the score tied. Matsui held the Rikkyo offense scoreless until the 11th inning to earn the win.

Due to an injury to his shoulder, Matsui shifted to the outfield from 1939, and quickly became Waseda’s leading hitter. In 1940, he was selected to play for the Japanese team in the East Asian Games commemorating the 2,600th anniversary of the founding of the Empire of Japan.

After graduating from Waseda University in 1941, Matsui entered employment at Fujikura Electrical Wire Company, which fielded a powerful inter-city baseball team. On February 1, 1942, Matsui enlisted in the 34th Infantry Regiment. In May of the same year, he entered the Toyohashi Military Academy, graduating in October and being deployed to China as a cadet. He participated in the Dabie Mountains Operation at the beginning 1943, and the Jiangnan Operation in April of the same year. A fierce battle continued in the mountainous regions of China.

On May 28, 1943, Eizo Matsui was killed during a battle in the vicinity of Yao Jiafang, in Hubei Province, China, while leading his men in an advance against Chinese troops.

Immediately before departing for the battlefront, Matsui wrote a will which included the following phrase: "If you hear news of my death in battle, please imagine a courageous death in which I fought gallantly and died with a smile on my face."

News of Matsui's death reached the Waseda baseball team days later. Teammate Kiyoshi Kondo was shocked and made the following pledge: "After putting my full effort into my remaining year at university, I will seek revenge for the death of my dear friend."

Date Added: May 11, 2013

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