International PBA Regionals return with Regional Players Invitational berth at stake

Ten years after launching the first-ever PBA International Regional program, the Professional Bowlers Association and Japan Bowling Promotions have come together to bring PBA Regional Tour events back to Japan.

Four events will take place at PBA Fuji Bowl in Iruma, Saitama, Japan, beginning with the PBA Japan Chameleon Open on July 13-14.

“I am deeply grateful to have renewed my contract with the PBA, the world's premier bowling organization,” said Shinichiro Kinoshita, the CEO of Japan Bowling Promotions. “This partnership began in 2015, and we are extremely honored to be able to add new traditions and history to it.”

“Bringing the PBA back to Japan, a country with a rich and passionate bowling fanbase, is an exciting opportunity and reestablishes the PBA’s influence around the world,” PBA Commissioner Tom Clark said. “We expect this partnership to enhance the global presence of the PBA and foster greater international competition and participation in the sport.”

In 2014, eight PBA Japan Regional events were held across the east Asian island nation. One of the top goals of the program was to cultivate high-level competition around the world.

To continue that goal, the points leader across the first three PBA Japan Regional events will earn a berth in the 2024 BowlTV PBA Regional Players Invitational. More details on the RPI will be released at a later date.

The player must be a PBA member to qualify for the RPI. International players can become a member here.

A PBA “animal pattern” will be used for all four events — Chameleon, Cheetah, Bear and Scorpion — allowing Japanese players to compete on PBA-caliber lane conditions. Licensed PBA animal pattern merchandise will be available for purchase on-site as well.

“I would like to spread the PBA patterns throughout the country and develop top athletes,” Kinoshita said. “Last year, about 3,600 bowlers participated in the Animal League at the PBA Animal Pattern Contract Center. This year, over 300 people are participating each month. We also hope that Japanese bowlers will challenge themselves in the U.S. and become regular PBA Tour bowlers.”

Shota Kawazoe is among those Japanese bowlers who have tested their skills on the PBA Tour. Kawazoe earned the No. 1 seed in this year’s PBA Shark Championship at the World Series of Bowling XV, ultimately finishing as the runner-up to EJ Tackett.

Kawazoe is expected to compete in the PBA Japan Regional events as well.

2024 PBA Japan Regional Schedule

PBA Japan Chameleon Open: July 13-14, 2024
PBA Japan Cheetah Open: Aug. 31, 2024 - Sept. 1, 2024
PBA Japan Bear Open: Dec. 21-22, 2024
PBA Japan Scorpion Open: Feb. 21-22, 2025

More information on the PBA Japan Regional schedule is available here.