Tokyo Yakult Swallows

Tokyo Yakult Swallows
Tokyoyakultswallows.png Tokyo Swallows insignia.png
Team logo Cap insignia
League Nippon Professional Baseball
Central League (1950–present)
Location Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Ballpark Meiji Jingu Stadium
Year founded 1950
Nickname(s) Tsubame (つばめ, swallow)
Central League championships 7 (1978, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2015)
Japan Series championships 5 (1978, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2001)
Former name(s)
  • Tokyo Yakult Swallows (2006–present)
  • Yakult Swallows (1974–2005)
  • Yakult Atoms (1970–1973)
  • Atoms (1969)
  • Sankei Atoms (1966–1968)
  • Sankei Swallows (1965)
  • Kokutetsu Swallows (1950–1965)
Former ballparks
Colors Blue, Red, Green
Mascot Tsubakuro, Tsubami, and Torkuya
Playoff berths 5 (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2018)
Ownership Takashige Negishi
Management Yakult Honsha
Manager Shingo Takatsu
Tokyo Yakult Swallows uniforms.png

The Tokyo Yakult Swallows are a professional baseball team in Nippon Professional Baseball's Central League.

The Swallows are named after their corporate owners, the Yakult Corporation. From 1950 to 1965, the team was owned by the former Japanese National Railways (known as Kokutetsu (国鉄) in Japanese) and called the Kokutetsu Swallows; the team was then owned by the newspaper Sankei Shimbun from 1965 to 1968 and called the Sankei Atoms. Yakult purchased the team in 1970 and renamed it the Yakult Atoms, before renaming it again as the Yakult Swallows in 1974, and then the Tokyo Yakult Swallows in 2006.

Novelist Haruki Murakami is a fan of this team.

Kokutetsu and Sankei era (1950–1969)

The franchise was established for the first time in 1950 when the team was created by the owners of what was then Japanese National Railways (now the privatized Japan Railways Group). The team name was made the Kokutetsu Swallows. The team never finished with a winning record in their entire first decade of the 1950s. In 1961, the team ended up being third in the league for first time in their team history.

Pitcher Masaichi Kaneda, nicknamed "The Emperor", starred for the team during this era and was the league's most dominant pitcher. Kaneda holds numerous career records in the Japanese leagues. For the Swallows, he went 14 straight seasons with at least 20 wins, led the league in strikeouts 10 times, wins three times, ERA three times, and won the Eiji Sawamura Award three times. Kaneda pitched for the Swallows from 1950 to 1964.

Yakult era (1970–2005)

The team won its first Japan Series championship in 1978.

In 1990, Katsuya Nomura became the new manager of Swallows, making drastic changes in the team. Although his first year with the Swallows resulted in them finishing in fifth place, the Swallows improved to third in the league the next year for the first time since 1980. From 1992 to 2001, the team won five Central League championships, prevailing in the Japan Series in 1993, 1995, 1997, and 2001. (Nomura managed the team to the first three of those championships.)

Tokyo Yakult era (2006–present)

In 2006, Tokyo was added to the team name, resulting in the team name of Tokyo Yakult Swallows, and the logo of Tokyo was added to the uniform for the first time since the Kokutetsu era. The team maintained a winning percentage of .500, and ended up in third place in the league.

2011 was an impressive year for the Swallows. In April, the Swallows topped the Central League and kept 1st place until September when the Chunichi Dragons climbed to win in the pennant race, ultimately leaving the Swallows in 2nd place in the Central League.

The Swallows entered the Climax Series in 2009, and faced the Yomiuri Giants for the stage 1, which ultimately resulted in a 2–1 victory. Swallows advanced for their first time into stage 2 and faced the defending Central League champions, the Chunichi Dragons. The Swallows eventually lost against the Dragons by 2–4, ending their postseason. At the end of season, Hirotoshi Ishii retired from the team.

In 2012, Norichika Aoki was posted to the Milwaukee Brewers. On 19 March 2012, the main office was moved to Kita-Aoyama which is located close to the Meiji Jingu Stadium from Higashi-Shinbashi.

In 2013, Swallows outfielder Wladimir Balentien broke the NPB single-season home run record, finishing the season with 60 home runs.[1]

The Swallows finished the 2015 regular season with the Central League's best record and defeated the Yomiuri Giants in the Climax Series to advance to the Japan Series, where they lost to the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in five games.


Current roster

First squad Second squad







Head coach
Infield defense/Base running
Outfield defense/Base running
  • 83 Atsushi Kinugawa






Infield defense/Base running
Outfield defense/Base running
  • 87 Masakazu Fukukawa
Development chief
Development pitching
Development Players
  • 014 Reiji Kozawa (P)
  • 017 Shota Maruyama (P)
  • 019 Shinnosuke Shimo (P)
  • 022 Sho Matsui (C)
  • 023 Yoshihiro Akahane (IF)
  • 025 Taishi Uchiyama (C)
Updated October 20, 2021 All NPB rosters

Honoured numbers

Former players

MLB players



The team's mascot is a black swallow with a red face named Tsubakuro (ツバクロ). He is known for his feuds with the Orix Buffaloes mascots.

The number on the back of his uniform is "2896" as opposed to 111/222 used by Buffalo Bull and Buffalo Bell, the Buffaloes' mascots.

There is also a female swallow mascot named Tsubami. She wears a skirt and may be intended as Tsubakuro's little sister, just as Bell is Bull's little sister.

Before Tsubakuro was created, the teams mascots were Yabo and Sue-Chan (ヤー坊 & スーちゃん), who were the team mascots from 1979 to 1994.


  1. ^ Berry, Adam (September 15, 2013). "Balentien breaks Oh's Japanese home run record". Retrieved September 15, 2013.

External links