Forty-four-year-old pitcher Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi has decided to retire. He was released by the Rakuten Eagles last year and attended a tryout with the Los Angeles Dodgers in February. He did not make the cut with the Dodgers, but did apparently receive some offers from US independent league teams. But he could not accept because he felt strong tightness in his left shoulder and pain in his lower back.
Shimoyanagi began his career as a 4th round draft pick out of the Industrial League in 1990 for the Daiei Hawks. He was traded to the Nippon Ham Fighters in 1995 and again to the Hanshin Tigers in 2003. He was released by the Tigers in 2011 and signed with the Rakuten Eagles in 2012 after passing a tryout.
Shimoyanagi does not plan on holding a press conference to announce his decision. He already informed former teammates Tomoaki Kanemoto and Akihiro Yano about his decision.
Former Chiba Lotte Marine Tasuku Hashimoto (36) announced he was retiring today. Hashimoto began his career with the Chiba Lotte Marines but left and signed with Yokohama via free agency before the 2010 season. Two years later, he was senryokugai'ed by Yokohama and spent this past year playing for the Ehime Mandarin Pirates (Shikoku Island League plus).
"I have no regrets," said Hashimoto. "My happiest moment was winning the league pennant in 2005 [with Lotte]. I am grateful to the many that [helped me] over my eighteen year pro career."
Source: Sponichi 12/9/2012
Nikkan Sports is carrying Tomoaki Kanemoto's retirement speech:
First, I would like to express appreciation to both my parents, the amateur leagues, Hiroshima, Hanshin, and to all people that help support my baseball career. I started playing baseball at ten and chased after the dream to become a professional player. After joining Hanshin in 2003, I was fortunate enough to be a part of two pennant winning teams. Koshien Stadium helped bring out the best in me.
After hurting my shoulder three years ago, I started thinking about retirement. But I pushed through rehab after hearing fans say they wanted to see another one of my home runs, another one of my bullet line drives. To see me bat .300 and hit thirty home runs again.
I decided to remove the uniform today. I will be honest, I feel as if I am leaving behind a lot of unfinished business. We did win two pennants [while I was here] but we never won a Nippon Series. I will pass that dream on to the younger players.
Lastly, I will no longer be able to stand in the left-handed batter's box at Koshien and swing the bat full force. I will never get to run the bases at full speed. I will never get to chase after the ball in left. This really makes me sad.
I saw signs that said, "Aniki, thank you for the dream" [while playing in left]. That is something I actually want to say to you fans. Hanshin fans are very kind, they even pushed for a player like me.
Finally... Thank you very much. To yakyu the sport, to the yakyu God, thank you.
Yokohama players Daisuke Miura and Tatsuhiko Kinjo, Hanshin players Kentaro Sekimoto, Kyuji Fujikawa, and Takashi Toritani, and Kazuhiro Kiyohara presented Kanemoto with flowers. He then took a walk around the stadium field to bid fans farewell.
Source: Nikkan Sports 10/9/2012
After receiving the flowers and before walking around the stadium field, Kanemoto placed the flowers on the ground and approached the Hanshin dugout, where he started shaking hands with all his teammates. When he came to Takahiro Arai, he slapped him in the face. The players then gathered around and tossed Kanemoto up into the air six times. Source: Sanspo 10/9/2012
When Kanemoto tried to give Randy Messenger the game-winning ball because it was his tenth victory of the season, he declined and deferred it back to the veteran. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/9/2012
Sports Hochi is carrying the interview with Kanemoto:
This was your last game.
I wanted to hit a home run. I hit one out to center on my last swing during batting practice for the first time since getting hurt. I could not turn on all the power, the bad part of me came out.
You made an easy out in the 7th inning with runners in scoring position.
There was moving past [Shigeo] Nagashima [on the All-time list] with two RBIs, but it was a fierce battle where I could not even think about that. I am taking the uniform off because I popped out there. It is the right decision.
How have things been since injurying the right shoulder?
Things did not go as I had hoped. There were times I even hated baseball. But, perhaps I inspired hope by trying to make it back to the field despite having an injury that would not allow it. I think it was good that I made the attempt.
Any memories about Koshien Stadium?
The walk-off home run during the Nippon Series. I remember that [Senichi] Hoshino was so happy, almost as if he hit it himself.
I will relax while making appearances on TV here and there. I have not really thought about my future dreams.
What about coaching in the Hanshin organization?
This is a tough place. You need to have a lot of perseverance to make it here.
Source: Sports Hochi 10/9/2012
====== UPDATE @ 11:44pm
Kanemoto also had a little something to say to the Yokohama Bay Stars after the game:
To the DeNA Bay Stars, thank you for taking part in my retirement ceremony. ... This year, they brought in new manager [Kiyoshi] Nakahata and the team suddenly changed and was continually in the spotlight. However, it was the manager that stuck out the most. To the players, if the manager sticks out more than the players, then something is wrong. ... I think Nakahata is hoping that the players will outshine the manager. If the Bay Stars become a competitive team next year, I think they can become the most talked about team in Japan."
Source: Daily Sports 10/9/2012
About a thousand fans gathered outside Koshien Stadium after the retirement ceremony and sang out cheer songs. Source: Daily Sports 10/9/2012
====== UPDATE 10/10 @ 1:18am
Nikkan Sports has posted a longer version of the interview, but it is a bit long so I am going to skip it. If you are interested in the link: Nikkan Sports 10/9/2012
Thirty-six-year-old Yoshihiro Doi announced today that he decided to retire as an active player. His new goal is to become a coach.
Doi signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles in January this year and was later released in March. He finished out the year as a pitcher/pitching coach for the Na Koa Ikaika Maui baseball team of the NABL.
Source: Nikkan Sports 10/9/2012
The Rakuten Eagles announced today that Hiroki Yamamura (36) will be retiring after the season.
Yamamura injured his right wrist in April this year and never managed to make it to he active roster. He visited the team offices in Sendai today to inform the team of his decision.
Said Yamamura, "I had an eighteen-year career. I was lucky to play alongside some great teammates. I am happy I came to Sendai. ... The team did not mention anything [about a possible position]. I no longer have to worry about working out all the time. I will sleep well from here on out."
UPDATE @ 11:33pm - Yamamura made the final decision to retire today after he was told he was not a part of the team's plans next season. Source: Daily Sports 10/7/2012
The Yakult Swallows officially announced today that Kazuki Fukuchi and Ryuji Miyade will be retiring after the season.
Statement to fans from Fukuchi:
To Yakult Swallows fans and others,
This is Kazuki Fukuchi of the Yakult Swallows.
I have played on Hiroshima, Seibu, and Yakult during my nineteen-year career. I have struggled with injuries over the last few years and my body is no longer moving in ways that I would like it to. After much thought, I decided to retire.
I have no regrets about pushing myself to the limits over these last nineteen years.
My only strength is speed and the only reason I was able to play for this long, is because I had support from the fans, team personnel, the manager, coaches, players, team staff, and my family.
I am full of feelings of appreciate for everyone that has helped me up to now.
Thank you very much.
The Swallows did approach me about a retirement game.
However, I have decided to accept just their feelings because in my mind, I feel retirement games also mark the end of a player's career and since the is such an important time during the season, with the Climax Series still ahead of us, I decided to turn down the offer.
Lastly, I would like to ask for your continued support as I want to work hard as a member of this team to win the Nippon Series and bring happiness we can all share.
October 6, 2012
Statement to fans from Miyade:
To Yakult Swallows fans and others,
This is Ryuji Miyade of the Yakult Swalows.
It will be retiring at the end of the a seventeen-year career.
Two years ago, I was released from the Rakuten Eagles and I was thinking about retiring from the game I once loved so much. But Junji Ogawa and other Yakult staff gave me one more chance.
I worked hard for the sake of the team, but I feel I am on the decline and the younger players are stepping up. I have decide to take the uniform off.
There was discussion about a retirement game, but with the team heading for the Climax Series, I declined the suggestion because I want to play straight through without losing emotional momentum.
I did happily accept their kind words though.
I am really just filled with feelings of appreciation. I want to thank the fans, the manager, the staff, and my teammates.
I will do my best to the very end, so that we can win the Nippon Series and so that I can continue to play baseball with my teammates for as long as possible.
October 6, 2012
The Swallows have also asked Miyade to return next season as a Ni-gun batting coach. Fukuchi has also been asked to return as a Ni-gun OF/base-running coach. Source: Sanspo 10/6/2012, Sports Hochi 10/4/2012
The Chunichi Dragons announced today that Takashi Ogasawara (35) will be retiring after the season and will return to the team next year as a member of the coaching staff.
I honestly still feel as if I can continue playing, but this is not a decision I alone can make. I was able to make it this far with the support from my family. Not wanting to leave Nagoya also helped with the decision.
My fondest memory is the moment we became Nippon Series champions. I was able to pitch in the  Climax Series. I was surprised and the other team was surprised. That became a very good memory.
I was getting hurt every year and there were occasions where I spent more time at Ni-gun.
I was given the opportunity to create a lot of good memories. I know both good and bad. I think that could help me as a coach.
There are a lot of active pitchers older than me. I would like to take the things I learned from them to help younger players. Young players have a hard time listening. I would be nice if I could help them see these things.
Makoto Imaoka's press conference took place at QVC Marine Field earlier today.
Comments from the press conference taken from various sources:
"I had a short run as an everyday player, but it was an interesting career with peaks and valleys."
"I think I had my best offensive season was in 2003."
"You can change a young players life with just one word. Coaching seems interesting."
"Honestly, I was at peace about retirement during the off-season last year."
"Marines fans, like the Hanshin fans, are very passionate so it made me happy when they supported me beginning with my first year. I am really grateful. I hope they can now support Imaoka the person from somewhere in the corner of their hearts."
Footage from the press conference is also currently available at Marines.tv.
Imaoka took part in his final workouts at Lotto Urawa Stadium on Thursday. Before practices, the players got together and tossed him up in the air seven times while signing his support song. Source: Sponichi 10/5/2012
The Yomiuri Giants announced today that Jin Nakatani has decided to retire from baseball. Nakatani visited Giants Stadium today and informed the manager, coaches, and players of his decision.
Source: official announcement
The media learned on Wednesday that Kazuki Fukuchi (36) will be retiring after the season.
"There were a number of factors and it was not an easy decision to make. This is something that I thought through," said Fukuchi to reporters.
The Swallows were thinking about holding a retirement ceremony for Fukuchi during their last game of the season on Sunday, but he turned down the idea because he did not want to cause any distractions for the team.