There are some that are wondering why the government decided to give Hideki Matsui and Shigeo Nagashima the People's Honor Award when there are other players that may be just as, if not more, deserving. Among the reasons why the two were selected: Matsui won a World Series MVP and Matsui and Nagashima have a strong teacher/student bond.
Prime Minister first considered Matsui for the award on December 29, a day after the former Giant/Yankee announced his retirement. Nagashima may have made it into the picture because the government did not want to give the award to another person posthumously, like it did with sumo wrestler Taiho Koki.
- The number fifty-five: Matsui wore the number, it is the number of years since Nagashima first turned pro, and Matsui's retirement ceremony will take place on May 5. May 5 is also Children's Day in Japan.
- Advance tickets to the game on May 5 first went on sale March 30. The retirement ceremony announcement was made at around 1:00pm on Monday. Ticket sales jumped and by 8:00pm there were only a few tickets left.
- Prime Minister Abe grew up a Yakult fan and did not care much for Yomiuri.
- Two other baseball players have been given the award: Sadaharu Oh (1977) and Sachio Kinugasa (1987). Ichiro Suzuki was considered in 2001 and 2004, but he declined both times. Other players like Katsuya Nomura, Isao Harimoto, and Hideo Nomo will be considered in the future.