On the field, the Hanshin Tigers and Orix Buffaloes were separated by half a game this season, and through two games of the Japan Series they remain close, having traded 8-0 victories. In the Kansai region, the two teams’ stadiums are separated by a mere 15 kilometers of railway track.

In the stands, media and public consciousness, however, there’s a yawning gap in support, enthusiasm and attention paid to each club.

Even with the Osaka-based Buffaloes’ incredible run of success over the past few years, including three straight Pacific League pennants and the 2022 Japan Series title, the metropolis and neighboring cities like Kobe and Kyoto remain Tigers territory.