Japan Cup telecast airs Sunday

by Bob Johnson 0

One of the great long-standing traditions of the PBA Tour has been its annual trip across the Pacific to Tokyo for the Japan Cup.

The tradition continues after a two-season absence when the finals of the 26th classic airs on ESPN this Sunday (Jan. 20) at 3 p.m. Eastern from  Round1 Stadium Diver City Tokyo Plaza.

Leading the contingent of 20 invited PBA Tour players, who battled against 123 Japan and Korean PBA members in qualifying and match play rounds at the Minami Suna Round1 Bowling Center in December, was 13-time tour winner and Japan Cup defending champion Tommy Jones, trying for his fourth Japan Cup title.

Joining Jones in Japan were PBA stars Chris Barnes, Dom Barrett, Jason Belmonte, Josh Blanchard, Ryan Ciminelli, Norm Duke, Mike Fagan, Mika Koivuniemi, Wes Malott, Amleto Monacelli, Rhino Page, Osku Palermaa, Sean Rash, Bill O’Neill, Ryan Shafer, Pete Weber, Stuart Williams, Walter Ray Williams Jr. and 2013 PBA World Championship winner Parker Bohn III.

Bohn will be looking to add another Japan Cup title to his record four wins, which included three consecutive championships in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Weber, Monacelli, Barnes, Koivuniemi and (Walter Ray) Williams — competing in his 26th consecutive Japan Cup — also are past winners of the tournament.

The Japanese and Korean players will be trying to break the winning streak by U.S. tour players of 21 consecutive Japan Cup titles, dating back to the 1989 event won by Randy Pedersen. Ken Taniguchi and Takeo Sakai are the only Japanese winners, claiming titles in 1985 and 1988, respectively.


1985 – Ken Taniguchi

1986 – Pete Weber

1987 – Amleto Monacelli

1988 – Takeo Sakai

1989 – Randy Pedersen

1990 – Chris Warren

1991 – Walter Ray Williams Jr.

1992 – Parker Bohn III

1993 – Pete Weber

1994 – Brian Voss

1995 – Amleto Monacelli

1996 – Steve Wilson

1997 – Doug Kent

1998 – Parker Bohn III

1999 – Parker Bohn III

2000 – Parker Bohn III

2001-02 – Bob Learn Jr.

2002-03 – Robert Smith

2003-04 – Chris Barnes

2004-05 – Tommy Jones

2005-06 – Tommy Jones

2006-07 – Walter Ray Williams Jr.

2007-08 – Mika Koivuniemi

2008-09 – Patrick Allen

2009-10 – Tommy Jones

2010-11 – Tournament Not Held

2011-12 – Tournament Not Held

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.