While I was digging up video clips for my recent profile of Norichika Aoki, I found a couple of Ichiro highlights that I thought were worth posting. Ichiro's style of hitting is known as furiko dahoh in Japan, which roughly translates to "pendulum hitting technique", named for the way he leans back and then lunges forward through his swing. Ichiro shortened up his stride and cut down on the movement his swing after moving to Seattle, so he's much less pendulum-atic now.
These home runs show the evolution on Ichiro's swing while he was still in Japan:
- 1995 Japan Series, game 5: note the slightly open stance and the lengthy stride.
- 1996 Japan Series, game 1: much more open stance, big kick-ish stride.
- Two homer-game, 1997: big, exagerrated kick-stride. You can see how he transfers his power to his front foot in this clip.
- 100th career home run, off Daisuke Matsuzaka in 1999: kick less pronounced.
- And a lengthy collection of Ichiro's Japan-era home runs, starting with the 1992 Junior All-Star Game and ending with the 200 All-Star Game.
Ichiro has changed his approach quite a bit since moving to MLB - he's shortened his stride, cut down on his movement, and become more of a back leg hitter focusing on making contact and taking advantage of his speed. In Japan, he used his lower body to generate a lot more power and was able to turn on weak breaking pitches. He wasn't renowned for his power in Japan, but was always good for a .500 slg pct.