Playing & Talking about Baseball Across the Pacific

Playing & Talking about Baseball Across the Pacific


>>Eiichi Ito: Good afternoon, welcome to the Library
of Congress. I’m Eiichi Ito, one of the
two reference librarians in the Asian Division of
the Library of Congress. We are delighted to have all of
you here for today’s program, a panel discussion
entitled, Playing and Talking About Baseball Across
the Pacific. This program will be
recorded and made available for later viewing online
so now is a good time to turn off mobile devices
if you have not done so already, thank you. I’d like to thank Exhibition
Office for their support for this event and
the excellent work with the ongoing baseball
[inaudible] exhibit, and related programs. Exhibit itself will
end on July 27th. This event is also sponsored
by the Asian Division, one of four international
divisions in the Library of Congress. The Asian Division maintains the
largest Asian collection outside of Asia, with more than
4 million physical items in 179 Asian languages,
including a rare book collection with more than 50
thousand items. The collection can be accessed
in the Asian Reading Room, which is open from 8:30-5:00,
Monday through Friday. Next, please welcome my
colleague, Cameron Penwell, who will serve as a
moderator for today’s program. Thank you. [ Ambient Noise ]>>Cameron Penwell:
Good afternoon, my name is Cameron Penwell,
and together with Eiichi Ito, I work as a Japanese
reference librarian in the Asian Division here
at the Library of Congress. Welcome, and thank you for
coming out to our event today, Playing and Talking About
Baseball Across the Pacific. And here, it might be hard to
see, but we have some people who are quite literally playing
baseball across the Pacific, these are members of the
University of Washington, baseball team, playing on the
deck of the ship as they travel to Japan for their
second visit in 1913. Well, we’re fortunate to have
four engaging panelists here today; Robert Fitts,
William Kelly, Chandra Manning,
and Bill Staples. And I look forward
to hearing them speak about their recent
research, writing, and teaching activities
related to the study of baseball in Japan and the United States. Shortly, I will introduce each
panelist and innovate them to speak individually
for 10-15 minutes each. Afterward, we hope to have
around 30 minutes or so for free discussion among the
panelists, to expand on points of common interest in
their presentations, and also to explore connections
among their areas of expertise. Due to an event shortly
following this one, our event staff will
need to begin their work in this room promptly at 3:50,
with this consideration in mind, we may not have time to open
up the floor to questions from the audience, however,
we do have space reserved after the program, at the end
of the hallway in room 110, where books from each of the
panelists will be available for purchase and also
signing, and also, if you have any questions for
any of the individual panelists, that’d be a great
time and opportunity to approach them individually
and have a conversation after the program is over. And if you haven’t had a
chance to check it out, please do see the library’s
Baseball Americana Exhibit, on the second floor here in the Jefferson
building on your way out. Now, before we begin with the
panel, I have just a couple of preliminary comments; first, the Asian Division’s
Japanese collection holds more than 1.2 million monographed
volumes in addition to tens of thousands of journal
issues and microfilm items. The collection has
great breadth and depth, and as I was delighted to learn
while preparing for this event, it contains many excellent
resources for the study of Japanese baseball, and we’ve
presented a sampling of those, a very small sampling of those
on the back table in the room so please take a
look at your leisure. Just to highlight, if you’re
interested in exploring any of these resources,
we have periodicals from the Occupation period, and
also further in the post-war from the ’70s up to the 2000’s. We have a couple hundred
Japanese language monographs on all topics of baseball, and a great new resource we
have is the separates industry history database, which
looks like a very fascinating and rich resource for
the study of sports and baseball in post-war Japan. Now second, I presume that everyone here
today has an interest in baseball and/or Japan,
probably both, that being said, I think something that is not
always well-known among baseball fans is just how far back the
story of baseball goes in Japan. So I have three very brief
but important days to try to give you a mental map to
get a sense for the chronology of some of the topics
we’ll be discussing today. The first is 1872, which is, according to the
traditional narrative, as baseball was introduced by the American educator,
Horace Wilson. Fast-forward to 1896, the Ichiko
High School Baseball Club, pictured here, defeats a
team of expatriate foreigners from the Yokohana
Country and Athletic Club. And this was important
for two reasons; one, it shows just how much the
club baseball as a sport, had grown over the
last 20 years, and two, it really gave a sense to
Japanese baseball players, hey we can be as good
or maybe even better than these American’s who came and taught us the game
in the first place. And finally, 1935, the
establishment of the forerunner of Nippon Professional Baseball. So professional baseball’s
already in full swing, even before World War II began. Now, likewise, the same
hold true I believe, for Japanese American baseball. There’s just a lot that most
people don’t know, I should add that May is Asian Pacific
American Heritage month and it is especially timely
to highlight this point, in reading Bill Staples
book, Kenichi Zenimuro, Japanese American
Baseball Pioneer, I immediately came upon
an eye opening chronology in the book’s forward,
that was written by former Seattle Mariners
manager, Don Wakamatsu, the first Asian American
to hold his position in the major leagues. So if you look here on the
slides, 1897, the first person of Japanese ancestry attempted
to play in the majors. 1903, first Japanese American
baseball team was organized. 1905, major league
color line was drawn against Japanese players. And in 1910, the first Japanese
American league was founded. Now we’ll hear more
details about this later on, but just to give you an idea of
how far this history goes back. Finally, for those of you
who may not be familiar with the ubiquity of baseball
in popular Japanese culture in daily life, I just
had to share this image that Japanese friend
happened to share on social media this past week, this is a Hiroshima Carp branded
shower head, so in addition to your baseball
cap and t-shirt, you can show your support for the home team while you’re
taking a shower after going to the baseball game as well. So, as we begin, just
keep these dates in mind, and I think we’ll discover that
there remains much to be learned through the lens of baseball
regarding U.S. Japan relations, ideas around national identity, history of the American migrant
experience, and the fight for equal treatment under
the law, regardless of race or national origin,
in American history. Now, I would like to
innovate our first speaker, Dr. Chandra Manning,
Professor of U.S. History at Georgetown University. Professor Manning researches
and teaches U.S. history with a focus on the
19th century. Her first book, What This Cruel
War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War, won the
Avery O. Craven Prize in 2007, from the Organization
of American Historians. Published in 2016, her
second book, Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in
the Civil War, is a portrait of the union army’s
escaped slave refugee camps and how they affected
emancipation and citizenship in
the United States. Professor Manning is also
an avid Boston Red Sox fan, and for several years, she has
taught a perennially popular course at Georgetown on
the history of baseball. To tell us a little bit
more about this experience of teaching baseball in the
classroom, please join me in welcoming Professor
Chandra Manning. [ Applause – Ambient Noise ]>>Chandra Manning:
Alright well, first of all, thanks so much, Cameron,
thank you Eiichi, thank you to all the
panelists and to all of you for being here. Anybody who knows me–>>[inaudible]>>That is the are not one. Anyone who knows me, knows
that I will talk about baseball at any time, so delighted
to be here to do it today. Let’s see if we can find– [ Ambient Noise ]>>She’s presenting your
presentation, is that yours?>>She could talk to
mine, it [inaudible] [ Inaudible ]>>Chandra Manning: There we go, that looks more familiar,
thank you very much. I wonder how long it would
have gone before I would have realized it. What I’m going to do today
is a little bit different from what my colleagues
are going to do. They’re going to be
talking from their own sort of deep research base, but
I’m going to be talking to you specifically
about teaching baseball. And about how we can
use baseball or how I like to use baseball to
really open up students ideas, to really open up
the world for them, in a way that they hadn’t
really thought of before. I bright a couple copies of the
syllabus if any of you would like it, I will not test you on
the reading and you don’t have to do the final paper,
but I’ll pass those around in case they
are of interest. Thank you. And teaching baseball
is really a great way to approach many
topics with students in the history of
the United States. It’s a great way to really get
them to wrestle with questions of gender, with questions
of race, with questions of the relationship
between labor and capital in U.S. history. Certainly with questions of
class and my perennial favorite, what the heck was the
progressive era anyway? Personally as a historian who
writes a lot about slavery and emancipation, I also
need a break every other year and baseball is it. So, teaching the history of baseball class is a
real pleasure for me. But, among other things,
it’s a terrific way of innovating students
to really learn about U.S. foreign
relations and the politics of overseas expansionism
from a unique angle, one they haven’t
thought of before. And one that often
disrupts things that they thought they knew. So what I’d like to do
with my time today really, is a little mini demonstration of how baseball can do these
things in class with students. So, imagine yourselves, you’re
all now about 19 years old, and sitting in a
Georgetown lecture hall, hopefully not right after
lunch, don’t fall asleep on me, but we’re going to do
just a little mini, a little mini class. And one of the techniques
that I like to use, is to start with
sort of a provocative or outrageous question
that’s going to go against everything students
think they know, and then to go from there to get them to
consider some new ideas. So today’s question is,
what does Japan have to do with the Hall of Fame in
Cooperstown, New York? Because that iconically
American place and institution. Answer number one, obviously
Eiichi will be there someday, guessing when is a
favorite suppertime sports at the Manning household but
that’s not what I mean today. What I mean today, is
what does Japan have to do with putting the Hall of Fame
in Cooperstown, New York? And to answer that question,
I want us to go back farther than you think, I want us to go
back to the 1870’s and we have to look not just in Cooperstown,
New York, but really we have to look around the world
to answer this question. So, what is going
on with baseball around the world in the 1870’s? Well, in the 1870’s baseball
is growing in lots of places and it’s very fluid in many
places, not just the U.S. but many places, and we’ll
start with the U.S. rather than outside the U.S., I want to
disrupt my students’ thinking, I want to get them
to think in new ways. I don’t want to give them
heart attacks, so we’ll start with the U.S. where
they expect us to start. And in the U.S. context, in the
1870’s, what is baseball up to? Well, baseball, organized
baseball still exists largely in U.S. cities in the 1870’s,
most American’s do not yet live in cities in the 1870’s so organized baseball
is still confined to where most American’s
aren’t yet living. The 1870’s are the first decade of professionalization
in American baseball. And it’s important to note,
and this one rocks their world, that in the 1870’s, there are
professional women’s teams as well as professional
men’s teams. It is not yet clear that
baseball, professional baseball, is going to be a men’s game. And in fact, professional
baseball teams, a part of both men and women,
are regarded as suspect, paying people to play
a children’s game? You have got to be kidding me! Now men’s baseball will
eventually gain acceptance, professional baseball will
eventually gain acceptance, the world you know
will come into being, but the 1870’s are a key decade
in which that begins to happen. One of the key figures of making
that happen, is the fellow in the Boston shirt, in
the bottom, my right, your left I think, corner,
Mr. Albert Goodwill Spalding, often known as A.G., that’s
him older in the middle. Spalding started out as
a pitcher, but he turned, become a league official
and a businessman, and he’s a really
important figure for understanding the develop of professional baseball
in the United States. In 1876, he helped found
the National League, which is the National League
that you know and love today. He also, in 1876,
founded A.G. Spalding and Brother’s Sporting
Goods Emporium, in Chicago, which is the beginning of the
Spalding Sporting Good business, also still in existence today. I have a pink Spalding
ball in my office, to throw against the wall
when I need something to like get my brain going or
when I got a kid in there I need to entertain, and it
goes back to this guy. So, in the 1870’s, we
have Spalding and others, really beginning to organize
this amorphous thing called baseball, and baseball
is beginning as a professional
endeavor at least, to definitely be a men’s game. But it’s growing
elsewhere in the world too. This is not the only place
baseball is really developing in these years. So let’s look elsewhere. By the 1860’s, sugar workers
in Hawaii are playing baseball, which I don’t have a picture
of, if anyone finds a picture of Hawaii workers, sugar
workers in the 1860’s, playing baseball,
I would love it. I don’t have one but they were. In Cuba, baseball’s probably
in existence by 1864, but it’s definitely
there by 1866, because when U.S. sailors
docked in Havana in 1866, they found Cubans
already playing and they didn’t learn
it in 20 minutes. In 1878, the Liga de Beisbol
Professional Cubana was established by Emilio Sabourin,
1878, that’s just two years after the establishment of the National League
in the United States. So professional baseball in Cuba
goes all, or organized baseball in Cuba, pardon me, goes back
almost to the exact same time. It’s Cubans, not
American’s, it’s Cubans, who introduce baseball
to Mexico, via the Yucatan Peninsula, and
also to the Dominican Republic in the 1870’s, that’s the one that in my household
is a really big deal, because that brings us
Big Papi, David Ortiz, who adorns every wall
in my kid’s bedroom. Where’s Japan? We’re getting there. At the same time, in the 1870’s, an intentionally outward looking
[inaudible] government in Tokyo, sent Japanese students abroad,
to observe and to observe, including in the United States,
and also invited advisors from Great Britain and France,
Prussia, and the United States to come to Japan to consult
on various aspects of science and technology, and
agriculture, and education. U.S. advisors in particular,
specialized in agriculture, education, and in the case of
one Horace Wilson, he’s the, standing up in the top row with
the mustache, he taught math, he taught English, and in
Tokyo, he also taught baseball. Meanwhile, Japanese students who
had been sent abroad to observe, come home and they also
begin spreading the game of baseball in Japan. One of those students
is Hiraoka Hiroshi who, when he was in the United
States, met none other than Albert Goodwill Spalding. He became fascinated with
railroads and with baseball. He studied both throughout the
United States, and returned to Japan as both a
railroad engineer, and a disciple of baseball. In 1878, as you can
see from the screen, he founded the Shinbashi
Athletic Club and built the very
first baseball field, that we know of, in Japan. The [inaudible] field
for members of the Shinbashi Athletic Club. Baseball spread very quickly, quite quickly among
Japanese youth, not least because Japan had
physical education in schools as early as the 1880’s, the United States wouldn’t
institute it universally until after 1/3 of all World
War I recruits failed their physicals, that’s when
the U.S. gets gym class, Japan had it earlier. And it’s one reason why baseball
spread quite quickly there. Now, Spalding and Hiroshi
stay in teach with each other and Hiroshi’s enthusiasm gave
Spalding the business man, a great idea. Why not market his
sporting goods in Japan as well as the United States? So it was as early as 1884, Spalding’s annual official
baseball guide starts to be available in Japan. Exhibition games, good will
games, began to take place between the U.S. and
Japanese colleges. There’s a clear moment
of open exchange between the two countries around
this institution of baseball. But at the same time, in the
1880’s and into the 1890’s, the national mood in the United
States is really souring. And it’s particularly
growing suspicious of all things foreign. 1882, with the passage of
the Chinese Exclusion Act, that would be the first time that American’s would restrict
migration and it was symptomatic of a general anti-Asian
feeling that was mounting in the late 19th century. As that feeling is mounting, the
quest, the United States quest for overseas possessions
really climaxes at the turn of the 20th century with
the Spanish American War and subsequent revolts in
Cuba and the Philippines. A very quick timeline here, so
I’m not going to quiz you on it. I won’t need to spend a
ton of time, but in 1898, Spain seeded Cuba, Puerto Rico,
Guam, and the Philippines, to the U.S. and the U.S.
also formally annexed Hawaii that year. That was the easy part,
defeating Spain was easy, trying to figure out what to do
next turned out to be trickier, Filipinos rebelled against
American occupation, leading to a long messy
conflict through 1902. For our purposes, the
pertinent point of which is that by the turn of the
century, we have a sort of hyper aggressive
form of nationalism, usually called jingoism,
plus a creeping suspicion of all things foreign, just in
the air in the United States. While Japan defeats Russia
in the Russo-Japanese War, making Japan appear to be
poised to become a real power, perhaps a source of
competition to the United States in the Pacific, which further
stokes U.S. suspicions. So for these and other reasons,
the U.S. becomes very interested in projecting American
power abroad, and does so, partly by sending
troops and fleets to far flung locals
around the globe. But something strange happened;
when U.S. troops arrive in foreign locals, when they
get to places in the Caribbean or Latin America, or Japan,
what do you suppose they find? They find people
already playing baseball. And sometimes, beating them
at it, as in the 1896 game that Cameron introduced
at the beginning. So in this particular
atmosphere, suddenly baseball status as
a uniquely American game, starts to matter to its
promoters in the United States, especially one named
Albert Goodwill Spalding, who becomes very motivated to
demonstrate what he called, the purely American
origins of baseball, for reasons of both
business and politics. The business side,
well we’ll get there in a second, so what’s he do? How does he decide to establish
these purely American origins of baseball? He establishes in 1905, something called the
Mills Commission. Mills is right next
to him in the picture. Spalding has the fur coat,
Mills is right next to him. The Mills Commission’s charge is to discover the purely
American origins of baseball, which they do through a method
that would never make it through History 101 these days, but what they do is
they just send people to ask recollections, when do
you first remember learning to play baseball? And they get plenty of accounts,
and none of them agree, which stands to reason
because the game sort of develops organically. But they get one, sent by an
old man named Abner Graves, who sent a story about Abner
Doubleday, who would go on to fight in the Civil
War, dreaming of baseball and drawing a diagram of it
one summer day in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839, where a group of farm children
begin to play it. Now this is perfect for
Spalding’s purposes, it’s exactly what
he wants to hear. There are a few problems, A, Abner Graves is only
5 years old in 1839. His memory’s not great. B, and probably more troubling, Abner Doubleday was nowhere near
Cooperstown, New York in 1839. But no matter, this story
really works for Spalding. So he really, he widely
circulates it and he’s motivated to do so for reasons of
both business and politics. Business, partly because
in 1906, Mizuno starts to manufacture sporting
equipment in Japan. There is a competitor
to Spalding, in fact, my oldest kid’s favorite
glove, like sleeps with it at night glove, is
a Mizuno glove. This is a problem for Spalding. In terms of politics, the sort
of so-called, yellow peril, the suspicion of all things
Asian is really intensifying in the United States at exactly
this moment, culminating in 1907 with the gentleman’s agreement
restricting Japanese immigration to the United States. So for all these reasons,
there is a popular will to embrace this Doubleday myth,
despite its obvious falseness. So the myth of baseball’s
birthday in 1839, in Cooperstown, New
York, at the hands of Abner Doubleday, was born. And was still floating
around decades later when the Great Depression
hit in the 1930’s. That Great Depression
hit the town of Cooper– hit all of upstate New
York, including the town of Cooperstown, very hard. So, the Clark Foundation,
a private foundation, essentially a sort of
private chamber of commerce in Cooperstown, New
York, got the idea of reviving the local economy
by reviving the Doubleday myth, and putting something
related to baseball in Cooperstown, New York. And they get in touch with Ford
Frick of the National League, and say we’ll pay for it. And together they
come up with the idea of the Baseball Hall of Fame. So 1939 is set as
baseball’s Centennial year and the grand opening of the
Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, happens in 1939, that
is where it resides to this day. I would be shocked if
there aren’t at least half of the people in this room who
have made a pilgrimage to it at some point in your lives. So, is it there because
of Japan? This is the in class moment. Well, not exactly, but we can’t
tell the story of how the Hall of Fame got there without
taking Japan into account. Telling the story of a
Hall of Fame in this way, really helps underscore the
trans-Atlantic circulation that is endemic to the game
right now, has always been, that there’s always been
a circulation and exchange at the heart of the
game of baseball. And when we tell the story
of the Hall of Fame this way, that’s when those trans-Atlantic
roots become more visible and apparent. And a space is really
created for them to understand today’s
international 40 man rosters, not as some radical departure, but really as a true
characteristic of the game from the beginning. And as an expression of an international
tradition really quite as old as the game itself. So, test next Tuesday,
thank you all. [ Applause – Ambient Noise ]>>Cameron Penwell:
Alright, thank you very much. Next I would like to introduce
Bill Staples Jr., board member of the Nisei Baseball
Research Project, Chairman of the Asian
Baseball Committee, and member of the Society for
American Baseball Research, or SABR, as it’s commonly known. An expert on Japanese American and Negro League baseball
history, Mr. Staples has spoken at numbers conferences, including the Cooperstown
Symposium on Baseball in American Culture, held at the aforementioned
National Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown, New York. Mr. Staples has also
been very active in preserving Japanese American
history in his home state of Arizona, especially
with regard to the Gila River
Interment Camp there. His book, Kenichi Zenimura, Japanese American Baseball
Pioneer, won the 2012, SABR Baseball Research
Award, and his latest book, and I’m really excited about
this one, Gentle Black Giants: A History of Negro
Leaguers in Japan, was published just last month. Please join me in
welcoming Mr. Bill Staples. [ Applause ]>>Bill Staples Jr.: Okay, okay. Well it’s an honor to be here
today, to talk about baseball across the Pacific, and I want
to start with this photograph, and this gentleman right
here in the middle, that’s manager John McGraw, and
this is 1913, on his world tour, and a year later when
he came back, he said, mark my prediction, some
star ball players will come out of Japan within
the next 10 years. Now he was a smart guy, but
he was about 50 years off when it comes to
Major League Baseball, with Masanori Murakami, in
’64, but I like to think that he was talking about star
players like Kenishi Zenimura, Japanese American
Baseball pioneer. And I’m going to talk about
him today, Kenishi Zenimura. I want to cover his life
before the war, during the war, and after, and just
talk about his legacy and why he’s important. Alright, let’s get started. So, as Cameron mentioned,
I’ve written the book on Kenichi Zenimura, and I have
a new book coming out called, Gentle Black Giants, which is
related, Zenimura inspired some of those tours and I want to make sure everybody gets
the commemorative bookmark with the Zenimura
baseball card on it, so you get to take home
a little history there. Alright, so prior to
2004, I knew nothing about Kenichi Zenimura,
and I’m honored to say that I am now the
official caretaker of Zenimura’s home plate,
which is in Cooperstown, and I’ll talk a little bit about
that later, during the Q and A, but it’s quite an honor. Zenimura did have a Hall of Fame
career, as a player and manager, and international ambassador. And if he is to be recognized
someday by Cooperstown, or perhaps even the Japanese
Baseball Hall of Fame in Tokyo, it will be because of his work
as an international ambassador and what he did to help build
the bridge across the Pacific between the U.S. and Japan. But first let me talk
about him as a player, I want to highlight some of
these other Nisei players who were picked to play ball
with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, back in 1927; Harvey Iwata, Fred
Yoshikawa, and Johnny Nakagawa, great Japanese American
ball players. In my opinion, Johnny Nakagawa
probably could have played major league baseball. I’ve looked at all the stats
and he’s competed quite well against Negro League players,
Pacific Coast League, et cetera. But the stars never
aligned for him. There’s a lot of debate
about Mr. Zenimura because of his size, as you
can see, next to Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but I would say that Mr. Altuve would have
something to say about that, in terms of smaller players
being able to compete. Basically the same size
difference between the players, some of the players today. Alright, I did, or
Cameron did mention, 2006 I went to Cooperstown
and presented and in that presentation we talked
about the desire and asked, if you will, for a
permanent exhibit to honor Japanese American
baseball in Cooperstown. They currently have one
for African Americans, Women in Baseball, and Latino
Baseball, but that was 2006, and surprisingly, 2019,
still nothing to this day. So it’s Asian Pacific Heritage
month, it’s a great time to remember that and put
out that request again. There was some discussion
that maybe they were waiting for this guy to get
into the Hall of Fame, and it will be 2025
when he’s eligible, but they keep changing the
rules in terms of, you know, how people are recognized
in Cooperstown, and they just created something
called, the early baseball era, and Kenichi Zenimura is now
a nominee for that category. We’ve been talking with baseball
writers and they’re going to be discussing his candidacy. Now if he were to make
it, I would imagine that his plaque would
cover these four items, and I’ll just talk
through it briefly; recognized as the father of
Japanese American baseball, Zenimura was a celebrated
player, manager, league organizer and global
ambassador who used the game to break down barriers
during his 40 year career, from 1915-1955. He led three goodwill tours
to Asia; 1924, ’27 and ’37, and played key roles in
inspiring other tours, including the Negro League
Philadelphia Royal Giants in ’27, and Babe Ruth’s in
’34, that spurred the start of pro baseball in
Japan in 1936. During World War II, he was
incarcerated at Gila River, Arizona, where he built
a diamond in the desert that gave hope to
thousands behind barbed wire. And after the war, he helped
improve U.S. – Japan relations by facilitating tours on
both sides of the Pacific and continued to scout
American ball players for professional teams in Japan. So, quite a career
that he did have. So I want to talk about
his life, quickly. He was born in Hiroshima
in 1900, his family moved to Honolulu, Hawaii in 1907,
1920 he went to the mainland, he was actually on his way
to Iowa to play baseball. I think he got distracted by a
woman in California, his wife, he ended up staying
in California. And then he really got disrupted
with World War II and going to Arizona during the war years. And that’s how I
learned about his story. 1915 he’s playing for
the Honolulu Asahi, one of the top semi-pro teams
in Honolulu, and at that time, Hawaii was a very multi-cultural
baseball paradise; African American teams,
Chinese teams, and of course, Japanese teams as well. By 1919, he’s able to
take the Honolulu Asahi up to the senior level, and really made them
a competitive team. He kind of outgrew that
environment and he moved to the United States in 1920, where he joined the
Fresno Athletic Club, which was actually
founded by this gentleman, the year before, 1919. His name is Frank
Takizo Matsumoto, and he played an important
role in Zenimura’s career for the next 30 years. So we’ll come back in the story. But Zenimura eventually
took over as the captain of the Fresno Athletic Club. And at that time, unfortunately,
California was the epicenter of anti-Japanese sentiment. But Zenimura intentionally
used the game to go into these small towns
and break down barriers and build relationships
with people in those towns. He also forged relationships
with the African American teams of California and invited
them to come and play on his Japanese ball
field that he had built in Fresno, California in 1925. He believed that to be
the best, you had to play against the best, and
he scheduled games against the Pacific
Coast League teams like the Salt Lake City Bees, and they did eventually
beat them, 6-4, in 1924. And on that team was
Frank “Lefty” O’Doul, Lefty O’Doul would later
play a role in U.S. – Japanese relations and we
think this might be one of the earliest interactions
documented between O’Doul and people of Japanese ancestry. But it was the 1924 tour that
really put Zenimura on the map. A reporter for the Japan Times
said that, Zenimura is one of the smartest, most
colorful players the writer had ever seen. He was a terror on
the diamond and a man who played every
position in baseball. He was tricky, shrewd, and positive poison
to every opponent. And that reputation stayed
with him throughout his tours in 1927, and in 1937,
when he attempted to play in an amateur tournament
in Japan, he was banned from playing because
they thought that he was a professional
back in the U.S. So what that allowed him to do
was, he became a scout, he scouted for some
Japanese teams there, and he was also able to
reconnect with his son, who was being raised
by his mother in Japan. So that’s kind of interesting that the Zenimura
family was split through that divide if you will. Which I hear is maybe
quite common back then. But when the war broke out, part of the Zenimura family
went behind barbed wire and the other part of the
family was fighting for Japan. So really interesting dynamics. So World War II, 120
thousand Japanese – Americans are incarcerated by
the United States government, Zenimura is sent to
Gila River, Arizona and the first thing he does
is build a baseball field with his sons and it’s
a beautiful stadium out in the middle of the desert,
on the Indian reservation, the Gila River Indian
Reservation, and it seated over about 7000 individuals. And it was quite the center
point for the community and it really created
a great sense of hope for everyone there. As George Omachi said, “It
was demeaning and humiliating to be incarcerated
in your own country. Without baseball, camp life
would have been measurable.” Alright, after the
war; so August 1, 1945, Zenimura writes a letter
to the Gila River Courier as his family is
leaving the camp, the war is essentially
over, but we all know that a week later
something big happened. Try to speed up the
mutual feeling between Americans and Japanese. It’s much easier to make efforts of starting a better
understanding between us in the field of sports,
than trying to talk your way through the rough spots. So even after the war,
he’s trying to use the game of baseball to improve relations
between the two countries. And that he did, in the 1950’s
he welcomed the Tokyo Giants to Fresno, literally in their
home, there are stories of him at a party, you know,
with the Giants, but they did compete as well. And he also coordinated
contracts and scouted players, the first Americans that
played for the Hiroshima Carp, he organized that as well. Fibber Hirayama, a great
all-star player, he scouted and helped him play
over in Japan. And up until even the
mid-1960’s, he is now scouting for different teams and scouts, including the Chunichi
Dragons, so very active. So his legacy; I do equate
Japanese – American baseball to African American baseball
and the Negro League history. Similar struggle, different
impact, equally important. Whereas African Americans
immigrated baseball, Japanese – Americans internationalized it. I think the star
players from Japan, who are in the game today, are
indebted to Kenichi Zenimura and other Japanese
– American pioneers. When you look at the
characteristics of Japanese – American baseball, I point
out five of them in the book, they had their own
leagues, they competed against high caliber
competition, ambassadors before the
war and after the war, and the history inside the camp. Now Zenimura was not the
first to form a league, or even a team, and he didn’t
have the best numbers, but he, in my opinion, he is
the most important. And they say the same thing
about Jackie Robinson, and his impact in
Negro League baseball, and Major League
Baseball as well. So that’s why he’s
worthy of the title, the father of Japanese
– American baseball. So looking at some of the
numbers and what he did do to help build the bridge to the
Pacific; between 1905 and 1940, there’s roughly 100 tours, 98. And you see that the
Japanese Americans, along with Japanese teams, accounted for 55%
of those tours. That’s important because
major league stars back then, get a lot of the
credit for helping to establish baseball in Japan. Babe Ruth appeared in 34,
and the next thing you know, they have their leagues. That wasn’t quite the case,
there was quite a building up of talent and
opportunity if you will. And then when you look at
Zenimura’s role between 1923 and 1940, there are 53
tours going back and forth between the U.S. Zenimura
was involved in 17 of them, so that’s basically 1 out
of every 3, where his, he either led the tour or he
influenced or was involved. So his fingerprints were on
a lot of those tours as well. One of those tours was the
Philadelphia Royal Giants, which the book, Gentle
Black Giants, is based on. But that relationship goes
all the way back to 1925, where Zenimura was competing against the LA White
Sox at the time. They did change their name to
the Philadelphia Royal Giants when they went to Japan. It was the 4th of July,
1926, 4th of July weekend, where Zenimura already had
his tour in place, in 1927, where he convinced
manager, Lon Goodwin, that he should be
taking his team as well. So I’m not saying that Zenimura
organized it and put everything in place, but he was a
spark and a connector to help make that possible. And the same thing is
true with the 1934 tour. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, they
came to Fresno, California and we’ve all seen this
famous photograph here, but during this stay in
Fresno, there was a banquet where Zenimura and Babe Ruth
discussed him going to Japan. And that discussion, to our
pleasant surprise, was captured in a recently discovered
letter that Zenimura wrote to several people in Japan, this one in particular
is Masaru Kataoka, who was a newspaper executive
and a former ball player, and Zenimura writes; Babe Ruth
is interested to visit Japan and he asked me to try to line
things up so that he may be able to come with our team. I wrote to Meiji University, asking them to what
extent they can offer to have Babe Ruth come, and
he says, his prediction, I believe that it will be a
draw to have Babe Ruth in Japan. So pretty easy prediction but. And sure enough, it was, and
if you want to learn more about that, this
Rob, is for you, a promotion of Bansai Baseball, wonderful book on
Babe Ruth’s tour. So one individual, and
someone I talked about before, is Takizo Frank Matsumoto,
he’s now on the Japanese side, organizing a lot of these tours. In 2016, to our pleasant
surprise, he is now in the Japanese
Baseball Hall of Fame. We had written a proposal
in 2007, asking for Zenimura to be recognized, and we
highlighted everything that Matsumoto did with
him, and they picked him, and not who we nominated. So they, but their
relationship is very symbiotic so they’ve recognized the yin,
we’re now going to ask them to recognize the
yang, if you will. So with that, about fifteen of
Zenimura’s peers from that era, are recognized in Tokyo, twelve
players, three ambassadors, who knows, he may be next. I did recently have the
opportunity to visit Tokyo and we met with the executives
at the Hall of Fame there, had great conversations, although I do not
speak Japanese. So, I had a translator there. And the gentleman at the far
right, his name is Don Nomura, and Don was my translator. Don was also the agent
for this ball player here, named Hideo Nomo, who
played back in 1995, had a very important role. So we’re in good
hands with Don Nomura, and hopefully he can help
getting Zenni in over there. So where can you go to learn
more about Kenichi Zenimura? You can visit my blog
at Zenimura dot com, and now Gentle Black Giants,
NiseiBaseball dot com is for the Nisei baseball
research project, we have a very active
Facebook site as well. My book is probably more
appropriate for the college and adult reader, but there’s
some great children’s books about Zenimura, Baseball Saved
Us, Barbed Wire Baseball, and A Diamond in the Desert,
for the middle school reader. Wonderful movie came out in 2007
that’s based on Zenni’s life, American Pastime, that still
holds up, it’s fun to watch. Two documentaries that I
participated in; one with NHK and one with TV Asahi. And if you visit Arizona, come
visit Nozomi Park, it’s in honor of Kenichi Zenimura, nozomi
is the Japanese word for hope, and it is to honor
the game of baseball that gave individuals hope
there, but also the hope that we don’t repeat the
same mistakes from the past. And of course, you
can go to Cooperstown and see Zenimura’s home
plate exhibited there. And hopefully, in
the near future, we will have Baseball’s Bridge to the Pacific a permanent
exhibit, and who knows, maybe Zenni will
be honored as well. Alright? So thank you. [ Applause – Ambient Noise ]>>Cameron Penwell: Okay,
thank you very much. I would now like to invite Dr.
Robert Fitts, originally trained as an archeologist, with a
PhD from Brown University, Dr. Fitts is now active as a
baseball historian and author, he has published four
books on Japanese baseball, and is also an expert in the
area of Japanese baseball cards. His books include;
Remembering Japanese Baseball, which was awarded the
Sporting News Society of American Baseball
Research, 2005 award, for baseball research,
Wally Yonamine: The Man Who Changed
Japanese Baseball in 2008, the aforementioned Bansai Babe
Ruth, recipient of the Society of American Baseball
Research’s Seymour Medal for Best Baseball Book of 2012,
and most recently, in 2015, Mashi: The Unfulfilled Baseball
Dreams of Masanori Murakami, the First Japanese
Major Leaguer. As we learn more about
Mashi’s life, please join me in welcoming Dr. Robert Fitts. [ Applause – Ambient Noise ]>>Robert Fitts: So Monday was
Mashi Murakami’s 75th birthday. So I thought we’d
celebrated today by telling you a Mashi story. In the bottom of the 8th
inning, on September 1, 1964, Jack Lee’s voice boomed over
the Shea Stadium loudspeakers, attention please,
ladies and gentlemen, now coming in to
pitch for the Giants, number ten, Masanori Murakami. The left field bullpen
gate swung open and a Japanese stepped onto a major league
field for the first time. Masanori walked slowly to the
mound, a wad of chewing gum in his mouth, 40,000
fans were on their feet, cheering, clapping, whistling. Murakami’s heart skipped a beat. To remain calm, he hummed to
himself, the song Sukiyaki. It took Mashi just 13
pitches, 10 thrown for strikes, to polish off the [inaudible], marking what the San
Jose Mercury News called, an historic occasion
for baseball and Japan. Now Mashi was an
unlikely candidate to be the first Japanese
major leaguer. He was a good high school
player, but not a star. He’d only pitched one inning in the famed Koshien
[inaudible] tournament. He had no thoughts of turning
pro, he thought he’d go off to college and become a salary
man, but to his surprise, Kazuto Tsuruoka, the
manager of the Nankai Hawks, showed up to his house and offered him a contract
to turn professional. Now, Mashi had no
intention of signing. He listened politely and
decided alright, you know, I’m going to go to
college anyway. But as Tsuruoka’s leaving
the home, he turns to Mashi and says, if you sign
with us, I’ll send you to the United States to
learn American baseball, and this excited young Mashi, but he had no interest
in American baseball. Instead, he really wanted
to go because that’s where his favorite TV
show, Rawhide, was filmed. So Mashi spends his first year
in the Japanese minor leagues, he’s just 18 years old, he’s a
country boy, he’s very naive. So Tsuruoka decided he’s going
to board him in his own home, and not let him stay
with the older players. So for 1 year, Mashi becomes
basically an adopted son. He takes meals with the
family, he has chores, he follows their
household rules. In the beginning of
1964, Tsuruoaka announced that the Hawks had
reached an agreement with San Francisco Giants,
to send three prospects to the American minor
leagues for seasoning. The agreement was
just two pages long and written entirely in English. And viewing it as a mere
formality, the Hawks decided not to translate it,
they just signed it. What they missed was
this clause stating that the Giants could
buy the contracts of any of these players
for only $10,000. Now Mashi, and his
two teammates here, show up to San Francisco spring
training in March of 1964, and this is big news, it’s
the first Japanese to come over to play in the
U.S., even if it’s only at the minor league level. So they are, in the sports
pages across the country. Mashi is assigned to Fresno,
a single A California league, and there he meets Bill Werle,
and Werle does something that changes his life. Mashi had been a starting
pitcher, and Werle looks at him and turns him into a reliever. And for Mashi, this is a huge
demotion, because in Japan at that time, relievers
were not important. Starting pitchers were
where all the glory was. And he was like,
what’s wrong with me? And he had a lot of
soul searching to do. Now Mashi thought he
was only going to be in the United States
for one year. So he ate up American
culture, you know, literally. He went out to the dog
parks with his teammates, to the American movies, to
shows, he went gambling, he couldn’t speak English,
he carried two dictionaries with him; one English to
Japanese, and one Japanese to English, and he would quickly
figure out what was going on and point to the right words. But his teammates loved him
and they nicknamed him, Mashi. But on the diamond, in this new
role as a reliever, he excelled. And he quickly became
the top pitcher in the single A California
league. Now in September, 1964, the
San Francisco Giants were in the middle of
the pennant race, and they needed a left handed
reliever, so they decided to see how good Mashi
really was. After his debut on September
1st against the Mets, Mashi-mania swept through San
Francisco, and not a day goes by without huge articles in all the San Francisco
newspapers featuring him. He’s on radio shows,
he’s on TV shows. During September he became
the San Francisco Giants ace reliever out of the pen. Now remember, this
kid is 20 years old, he had just played minor
league baseball in Japan, he’s come out of single A
baseball and now he’s a star for the San Francisco Giants. Naturally at the end
of the 1964 season, the Giants wanted to keep him. So, they get him
to sign a contract with the Giants for
the ’65 season. And then the Giants
do something silly, instead of sending a check for
$10,000, with a cover letter and an explanation of what
they’re doing to the head office of the Nankai Hawks, they write
out the check and they give it to the Nankai Hawks scout, who happens to be watching
the U.S. World Series. Now in January 1965, Mashi
goes home to visit his family for New Years, and he’s
treated like a star, hundreds of people are
there at the airport to meet Japan’s first
major leaguer. He goes into a packed room
for a news conference and then in the middle of it, the head of the Nankai Hawks steps
up and drops a bomb. He says, we’re not giving Mashi
to the San Francisco Giants, we never agreed to that. He’s going to stay in
Japan and pitch for us. For the next 5 months, the
Giants and the Hawks argued back and forth and you can see major
league baseball gets involved, the commissioner
threatens to ban all ties or the sever all ties with
Japan, and it’s pretty nasty. They now nickname this is
Japan, the Murakami Typhoon. During this time, the press
camp outside Mashi’s house. Every time he leaves the house, people follow him,
asking him questions. And Mashi, when he talks about
it he goes, I felt horrible, here I was, at this
point 20 years old, and I felt like a criminal. I had no social life,
all I did was stay home. But finally, in May
of 1965, the Hawks and the Giants reached an
agreement; Mashi could return to the Giants for
the 1965 season, and then would be allowed
to decide for himself where he would finish
his career. So Mashi fits right into his
old team and goes right back to the bullpen and becomes
an effective reliever for the Giants. Now he was, Mashi was always
known for his sense of humor, he joked around with his
players, was quickly accepted by his teammates, they did
things like put rubber snakes in his locker room, hid his
clothes during the game, the usual baseball pranks. There he is posing
in the Astrodome. Now you may have heard of one of
Mashi’s, the most famous prank that was pulled on Mashi. Mashi’s English was
not particularly good, he could get around, but he didn’t really understand
the nuances of the language, so his catcher said, you know
Mashi, when your manager comes to the mound to take
the ball from you, to take you out of the game, you know you don’t
just hand him the ball, you have to say these words, they’re very important they
said, and he said okay, so he practiced and
he practiced, and manager Herman Franks
comes to the mound one time and Mashi goes, Herman,
take a hike. And that made the pages
all over the country. [ Ambient Noise ] Now, during this time in San
Francisco, Mashi actually stayed with a Japanese –
American family, and the family showed him around
San Francisco and introduced him to the Japanese –
American community. And he really integrated
himself, he went to socials, he had made best friends,
but he also became kind of a hero for the community. He talked to many people
and he became a symbol for the Japanese – American
community, of San Francisco. An idea that a Japanese
– American could make it in the white dominated world
and white dominated baseball. And here is getting
yet another award. [ Ambient Noise ] On August 15, 1965, the San
Francisco Giants held Masanori Murakami Day, and here
he is, getting his car which was a great prize and
they told him before the game, that he was going to get a red
Mustang and he was very excited, getting a red Mustang. But right the day before, the
Japanese Consulate complained, they said you’re going to
give him an American car and we’re trying to promote
Japanese auto industry? So they switched it
out the night before and it was said he got a
robin’s egg blue Datsun, and he’s still complaining
to this day. But not all Americans
loved Mashi Murakami. In June, manager Herman Franks
began receiving death threats, stating that he would be
killed, shot, in the stadium if he planned to
pitch Mashi yet again. The FBI investigated and they
actually had secret agents guarding Mashi, and
Mashi didn’t know this. They never found
the perpetrator, there was never really
a credible threat, then after about 2 or 3 weeks,
they stopped the investigation. At the end of the 1965 season,
Murakami has a decision to make, does he stay with the
San Francisco Giants or does he return to Japan? He’d grown to love San
Francisco and the United States, he wanted to remain
in the majors, matter of fact he felt
more at home, culturally, in the United States than
he had ever felt in Japan. But he also felt a
strong obligation to his former manager,
Tsuruoaka. Tsuruoaka had signed him to the
contract, he had let him live with his family, he’d
allowed him to play in the United States, and
become the first major leaguer in Japanese history. He owed him an obligation,
in Japanese [foreign word]. Now Mashi knew that Tsuruoaka
wanted him to return to Japan and become the ace of his staff,
so, in late 1965, he announced that he would give up
his dreams of remaining in the major leagues,
and return to Japan to fulfill his debt
to Tsuruoaka. As Japan’s only major leaguer,
the Japanese expected Murakami to become a super star. But it was not to be,
hampered by extreme pressure, a couple small injuries,
Murakami struggled. The media and the fans ridiculed
him and eventually some of his own players even
ostracized him, claiming he was such a distraction that
they couldn’t concentrate on their game. And he ended up becoming
a mediocre player. He persevered, as you see,
he played for 18 seasons, he won 100 games, and later
became a pretty famous baseball commentator. And he’s also the reason
there were no Japanese playing in the major leagues between him
and Hideo Nomo, because as soon as they had finally,
major league baseball and Japanese baseball had got
over the Murakami debacle, they came to an agreement that they would respect
each other’s reserve cause and no Japanese could be
signed by a major league team until they officially retired,
which is what Nomo did in 1995. But to this day, Mashi’s still
conflicted by his decision to return to Japan, as he
told me, if I had returned to the Giants, I would
have realized my dream but I would have to
live with a sense of betraying Mr. Tsuruoaka. So I fulfilled my [foreign
word] to Mr. Tsuruoaka, and forever carried
a sense of regret. Thanks. [ Applause – Ambient Noise ]>>Cameron Penwell:
Thank you very much. Next, I would like to
introduce Dr. William Kelly, professor emeritus
of anthropology and [inaudible] professor of Japanese studies
at Yale University. Professor Kelly is a noted
scholar of the social and historical anthropology
of Japan, his early work in this area includes the books;
Water Control in Tokugawa Japan, Irrigation Organization in a
Japanese River Basin, 1600-1870, as well as Deference
and Defiance in Nineteenth-Century Japan. In addition, Professor
Kelly’s research over the past two decades has
explored sport and body culture and their significance in
modern Japan and East Asia. He has published numbers
articles and chapters on this topic, and contributed to theorizing this growing
new area of scholarship. Earlier this year, a culmination
of his ethnographic field work and research on baseball in
Japan was published in the book, The Sportsworld of the Hanshin
Tigers Professional Baseball in Modern Japan. Please join me in welcoming
Professor William Kelly. [ Applause ]>>William Kelly: Well, thank
you very much, thank you all and thanks to the Library
of Congress and especially for us here today, for this
seminar presentation the Asian collection and its
wonderfully professional staff. I feel a bit like I’m
in the old Fenway Park with the obstruction poles. I sat behind a few
of them in my day. I have three quick points
and three images here at the end before we
have some discussion; the title of this exhibit
is based on Americana, but as soon as you
walk through the door, you realize that
this is not Americana as we have thought it before. We Americans cherish our
baseball history, we know a lot about it, we’ve tended
to be somewhat paroquial about our sense of the
national pastime until recently when scholarship by people
like Rob and Bill and teachings of people like Chandra,
began to expand this notion of what Americana is and this
exhibit does a wonderful job of opening up baseball. What we realize is, baseball was
international and transnational, almost from the beginning. And this is a point I think
that comes out very strongly in the three presentations
before, just the ways in which baseball located
itself in the Caribbean, in the Pacific, interest Western
Pacific, at the same time as it was developing
here in North America, it was international
and it was transnational because it depended upon the
flows of people and equipment and rules and teams and
ideas and political forces. One of my own very small
favorite anecdotes is represented in this cover
of the Saturday Evening Post in the spring of 1945. This was a time, some
of you will remember, American military was making its
way, fighting island by island across the Pacific
to get to Japan. These were bloody battles,
when the battles were over, and they were recuperating,
getting ready for the next, they would get out their
baseball gloves and bats and play baseball, and
they were stunned in some of these islands, that the
local people would come out and they already knew
how to play baseball. And they would play it fairly
well and they couldn’t figure out how did these Pacific
Islanders learn baseball? Well, they learned
it from the Japanese, because the Japanese had
moved in the early 1940’s, island by island, taking
over these islands, brought their own
baseball bats and gloves and taught these
islanders baseball. So when the American
soldiers showed up, these islanders already knew, just like the Cubans
knew baseball when the American soldiers
showed up in Havana. It gives you a sense
of just how complicated and sometimes how
surprising are the flows of baseball throughout
its history. Actually, this kind of
transnationalism has given rise to a really fascinating and
vibrant and important sort of literature and debates about
national styles of baseball. What is the American
style of baseball? Japanese style baseball? Cuban style of baseball? And there’s lots of sort of
interesting talk about that. This is actually not
what interested me as an anthropologist
of Japan, in the 1990’s when I got interested
in baseball in Japan. I’m not a sports scholar. Started going to Japan
in the early 1970’s, doing work on various
other things, baseball is really important
in Japan, I couldn’t avoid it, I started looking at it, but
what I wanted to know was, what was baseball like in
Japan, how was it played, how was watched,
how was it reported? And if any of you go
out to National Stadium, you probably don’t
want to this season, it’s a little disappointing,
you go out to National Stadium, you’re sitting there
watching the game. You’re not thinking oh, I’m watching American
style baseball. You’re not operating at that
level of sort of national styles of baseball, you’re wondering
shouldn’t we fire the manager now, or why is, you know,
can so and so really get over that injury, or what
is it about the Nationals as opposed to the Phillies? We were thinking, that’s
how we approach baseball in the U.S. whether it’s as a
player, as a reporter, as a fan. And I suspected the
same was true in Japan. When Japanese go to Koshien
Stadium, or to [inaudible] in the old days, they’re
not sitting there thinking about this is Japanese
style baseball versus American style baseball,
so what are they thinking about? That’s what led me to
spending 5 or 6 years with one particular team, the team is called
the Hanshin Tigers, unlike the Yomiuri
Giants, the arch rival of Tokyo’s Yomiuri Giants, to try to understand what the
experience was of the players, of the managers, of the
fans, of the reporters. And the term in the title that
I just want to talk about here as a third point, is
the word Sportworld, see I’m not a sport’s scholar. There are a lot of sports books
and sports books tend to focus on individual players,
individual teams, individual leagues, the
history of a team over a period, and that makes for some high
quality sports scholarship, but it doesn’t seem
to include the full– when you go to National Stadium and you’re watching these
nine men on a field, they’re playing baseball. When you go to Koshien and in
Japan at Osaka and you look out on the field, they’re
nine men playing baseball. It’s different baseball,
different strategies whatever, but what really makes
the Washington Nationals, what really makes
the Hanshin Tigers, is not just the players playing
the game, but everything else that surrounds it helps to produce what the
Hanshin Tigers are, and sportsworld is the
term that I use in sort of organizing this book, to
think about all of the parts that are involved in
making the Hanshin Tigers. It could be true for the
Washington Nationals, it could be true for the Boston
Celtics, it could be true for my heartthrob now, shell
shocked Barcelona soccer team, but essentially the
Hanshin Tigers are created by the relationships among,
first of all the stadium itself, Koshien Stadium, we can
talk about that later, the most famous stadium
in Japan, has a very special atmosphere,
a very special feel to it, very special smell to it, and
the stadium is very much a part of what makes the Hanshin Tigers
experience [inaudible] the Hanshin Tigers. The players, the
managers, the coaches, the way in which a Japanese
professional team is put together, it’s more like an
NFL team in terms of its roster of some 70 players, it has a
manager, really two managers for the farm team,
maybe 10-12 coaches, it’s very different
sort of personnel layout than an American team. Japanese teams are
owned by corporations, not by individual owners,
although this gentleman on the right was the long
time CEO of the parent company and ran it as if he was the
personal operator of the team, but the relationships between
the team, the front office, and the parent company,
are also part of what identifies the
Hanshin Tiger experience. The fans, particularly the fans
who come out to Koshien Stadium in Japan are much
more highly organized and the Hanshin Tigers’
fans are even more organized than the average club spans. In Koshien Stadium there
are 200 different fan clubs who are organized into
several different associations until 2005-2006, they
were entirely independent of the club. They would have to meet with
the club a couple times a year to negotiate proper behavior and they were always testing
the limits of proper behavior in the fans, but the club
needed the fans in order to create the Hanshin Tiger
experience, and the media. Especially in the case of Japan,
and especially in the case of Japanese baseball,
the daily sports papers. There are three national
newspapers, their sport sections tend
to be fairly perfunctory, it’s not like the
Washington Post or the New York Times,
2 or 3 pages. Instead these companies have
separate sports dailies, more like the European
case and the American case, and these sports dailies,
that’s one front page, have a front page that pretty
much looks like a Manga cartoon, in fact, there’s a
lot of relationship between Manga art
and sports dailies. And so this, front page
that depicts some event of the previous day and the
sports dailies exert enormous influence and pressure
in reporting the Hanshin, in creating the narratives,
the stories, the gossip, the statistics, about
the Hanshin Tigers. So my point is, in thinking
about this as a sports world, is not to eliminate the players
but to try to put the players and what happens on the
field, in the context of all of these other things together,
not always harmoniously, sometimes with a great
deal of conflict, but together create the
Hanshin Tigers experience. There are American players there
sometimes in the sports dailies, sometimes in the stands,
certainly in the front office, there are arguments about
these lazy American players or this American player
who’s doing more than some of the Japanese players, but
by and large, the experience of playing and managing
and watching and reporting, professional baseball in Japan, is really about the
Hanshin Tigers and what everyone has invested
economically, psychologically, socially, into that experience. So, that’s my perspective on what I think is an absolutely
fascinating exhibition and a very delightful symposium. Thank you very much. [ Applause – Ambient Noise ]>>Cameron Penwell: Alright well
thank you very much Professor Kelly, that was wonderful. Now I’d like to turn
to our remaining time, the approximately 30 minutes,
to pose a couple of questions to the panelists, but also
encourage the panelists to ask each other
questions or expound upon any of the responses of each
other to the questions that I’m about to pose. Firstly, I think, well maybe
just because we just heard from Professor Kelly, I was wondering could
you tell us a little bit, while we’re still thinking about
this, about the perhaps the lore or the mythology surrounding
Koshien and what makes it such a vital and powerful
symbol for baseball in Japan. [ Ambient Noise ] Sure, yeah, sure, yes, yes, yes. [ Ambient Noise ]>>William Kelly: Well, it’s been referenced several
times already and some of you know one of
the key sports events in Japan is the National High
School Baseball Tournament that takes place in August, there is a second National
Baseball Tournament in the spring, they both take
place at Koshien Stadium. Koshien Stadium dates
back to the mid-1920’s, when it opened it was the
largest stadium in Asia, seated 50,000 people,
it was a modernist icon. Now we look back and it seems
very traditional but then, it had the opposite
sort of feel to it. The tournament back then,
because very few people went on to high school, was
actually middle school, junior high school, was
started by newspapers and a train company in 1915. It’s always played at Koshien, that’s what gives Koshien
the special feel as a place. The final four in March madness
rotates, the Super Bowl rotates, it’s not– the World Series
rotates, it’s not associated with a particular place. This high school tournament
is really is unusual in global sportsworld because it
is a year after year, in August, in the heat of the summer, and
August is the time of month when the ancestral spirits are
supposed to return to the home. So there’s all of these
associations in time and place, with this particular tournament,
that give a special feel and a special pressure. Hanshin Tigers, you know, some of these people had played
there as high school kids. Now they’re coming back
as professional players, they really feel the pressure
of performing at Koshien and as they often did
at that time, failed, the pressure was felt and
the pressure was put on them by the sports dailies for
their failures as opposed to the high school glory.>>Cameron Penwell:
Thank you very much. I really enjoyed your anecdote about the U.S. military
discovering as they went island by island, that the local
people knew baseball and that the Japanese
had taught it to them, and I think that’s
a very fascinating and significant thread
throughout all the presentations is, as it was said, just how
baseball was international almost from the very
beginning of its history. So on that note, I have a couple
of follow-up questions for all of you, so feel free to
chime in as appropriate. Perhaps I’ll start
with Professor Manning, I was wondering, when you
present this to students, I imagine it’s somewhat, as
you said, you know surprising that you’re wanting to
shock them a little bit to get them thinking outside
of the box, and that’s part of the goal of historical
thinking, right? Could you tell me a little bit,
what are some of the surprises, especially with regards to the
international aspect of baseball that you see in students
in class?>>Chandra Manning:
I think the way to generalize what surprises
them over the whole course of the semester is that much
of what they think is new, is really old, and
what they think is old, is really fairly new. So, we have sort of in our
mind, what classic baseball is and we’re a little foggy
and if we’re pressed on it, we might not all
really be able to agree about when the classic era of
baseball is, but we have an idea that there is a traditional, that there is a baseball
tradition and many of the things that we associate with that
baseball tradition are actually more 20th century
innovations of that. For example, women
played it as early as men, in the 19th century there are
women’s professional teams in the 19th century, they don’t
suddenly appear in the 1940’s. So as a men’s game, that’s a
newer rather than older aspect of baseball, and that
really blows their mind, especially when you flip it
around and introduce them to how actually deeply rooted
an international flavor to baseball is. That people have played it
outside the United States for almost as long as
there has been baseball. So I like to give them,
put them in the place of maybe a U.S. Army recruit
from Nebraska or North Dakota, somewhere on the great plains,
who is serving in the military and finds himself in Cuba or
finds himself in Puerto Rico in the early 20th century
and he’s a farm kid who really hasn’t seen much
baseball before until he gets to Cuba, or until he
gets to Puerto Rico and there they are, playing it. So that sense of what we
thought was old is new and what we thought was
new is old, really tends to shake students
up a little bit.>>Cameron Penwell: Thank you. Continuing on that note of
the international aspect of baseball, something
that stood out for me was just what a big
role these international tours played in the
internationalization of the sport and the
diversification of the sport, in the early 20th century,
specifically for Mr. Staples and Dr. Fitts, could you
maybe expand a little bit or if you have any other
anecdotes or some other aspects of these tours that
you might like to share and I’m especially thinking, you
know, we refer to them as kind of goodwill tours, you
know, promoting baseball, promoting American values
abroad or vice versa, for the Japanese teams
coming to the U.S., experiencing American
life, seeing the world. What are some of the
other aspects to the tours that maybe are not so
obvious aside from just kind of the enjoyment of
seeing baseball played in different places? So whoever would
like to go first.>>Robert Fitts:
I’ll start that, I just finished a manuscript
for my next book last month which is called,
[inaudible] Baseball, it’s about the first
Japanese immigrant baseball and why I bring that up is the
first Japanese team to come to the United States was
Waseda University in 1905. It was also [inaudible] in
1911, Waseda came back in 1911, there’re Japanese
college teams coming over to the United States every
few years throughout the whole period before World War II. And when Waseda came
over, their manager, a fellow named [foreign
name], was also the founder of the socialist movement
in Japan, and baseball for him was more
than just a sport, it was almost a social movement,
it was a way to instill values to youth, to create
a better society, and international baseball
for [inaudible] was a way to bring countries
closer together. So, in 1905 through 1911,
when Waseda comes over, the anti-Japanese
immigrant feeling in the United States
is incredibly strong. But the Waseda team plays
and speaks to the press at every single game,
emphasizing the shared love of baseball and how the
game brought the players on the field together, brought
the fans together, so it’s used by these collegians to bring
countries closer together, beyond just playing
in the diamond.>>Cameron Penwell: Thank
you, that’s very interesting to hear there’s multiple
political angles that one could approach the
kind of the goodwill and bonding across linguistic
and national lines. Thank you.>>Bill Staples Jr.:
Yeah, could I add to that? So, Keio University also
visited the U.S. on that tour, I think in the early ’20s was
Shinji Hamasaki he’s featured on the cover of the new
book, Gentle Black Giants, this isn’t the final copy, it’s so new I don’t
even have a copy yet. But he was able to compete
against negro league teams of the university while they
were here and they exposed him to that relationship
with African Americans. Then when the Philadelphia Royal
Giants visited Japan in ’27 through ’32, it actually
reinforced that. What’s interesting about
Hamasaki is he went on to become a manager for the
Hankyu Braves, and they were one of the first teams to start
recruiting African Americans to come over to Japan, and he specifically said
it was earlier interactions that really opened him
up and really wanted him to have African Americans
on his team. So it’s fascinating to see that
cultural exchange and dynamic and how it impacted baseball in
Japan years later in the ’50s.>>Cameron Penwell: Interesting,
yes, Professor Kelly.>>William Kelly: I can add a
brief footnote to Robs mention of the Waseda tour
that is also suggestive of these transnational
flows, as some of you know from contemporary
Japanese baseball, going to a stadium either
at a high school game or a professional game, is the most animated
fans you will ever see at a baseball game. You know, they are
chanting non-stop, they’re blowing trumpets,
beating drums, it’s quite disconcerting to
American, to many American fans who thinks they’re not really
paying attention to the game. Well the cheer, not
the cheerleaders but the cheer squads
have been a part of the Japanese baseball
almost from the beginning, but this Waseda visit
to the United States in 1905 was especially important
because it happened in the fall. They were playing baseball
but they were going to American football games on Saturday afternoon
during the tour, and they were completely
flabbergasted by these collegiate, they’d
show up in their raccoon coats and they had these cheerleading
squads with the megaphones and leading these mid-western
university student bodies in these– and they
took careful notes. I mean there is a 3 or 400
page journal that was kept by a Waseda team member about
everything; baseball strategy, and one of the things
was on these– they went back and reorganized
the Waseda cheerleaders along the lines of American
football cheering. So in fact, the baseball
cheering that you see in Japan now, in
professional stadiums and high school stadiums,
really has its origins in American collegiate
football cheering patterns from the beginning
of the 20th century.>>Fascinating.>>Cameron Penwell: Wow, that’s
very interesting, thank you, I did not realize that. They certainly are
boisterous at the one Keio – Waseda game I attended
was very interesting. Right, well, too,
so Mr. Staples, you mentioned the new
book in your comment, the Gentle Black Giants. Could you tell me a little bit
about what that book explores and sort of how it came about?>>Bill Staples Jr.: Yeah, so Kazuo Sayama is a baseball
historian based in Japan, he’s written dozens, if not
hundreds, of books, very active. He contact me first, he
was working on a book about Kenso Nushida in the
1935 Japanese – American team that competed in Bismarck,
South Dakota, I’m sorry, against the Bismarck
team in Wichita, Kansas, in a semi-pro tournament. So he wanted to know
more about that and so I helped him
with that research. And through that,
he sent me a copy of his book, Gentle
Black Giants. I couldn’t read it. It took me about 3 years to
find somebody who could help me and so we did eventually
find a team of translators and it was a fascinating
discovery as it came to light to me in terms of the
story that he was telling. It was based on interviews
of the Japanese ball players who had competed against the
Philadelphia Royal Giants. And of course, as the title
suggests, Gentle Black Giants, it really explores the way that the African Americans
approached the relationship with the Japanese ball players who were still learning
the game at the time. I compare it to Aikido
training and in the early part of the book, there’s something
called the ukay-nahgay [phonetic] relationship between
the teacher and the student, and it’s an agreement where
the teacher will not exert full force, so that the
student can still learn and still enjoy while
they’re learning and not become discouraged. And that’s the approach that
the African Americans had in Japan at the time. So they said instead of saying
well we’re the experts here, follow us, they said you know,
we’re friends, let’s play ball and have fun together. So it really nurtured
them and helped them grow and become better ball players.>>Cameron Penwell:
As a quick follow-up, so I know you mentioned some of
the parallels between Japanese – American baseball players
and the Negro League players, if you could just tell us
briefly, about whether or not, I mentioned at the outset
this little, very briefly, the kind of announcement or
recognition of a color line for Japanese players, which is
obviously another thing they, another barrier they shared in
common with African Americans. Could you speak briefly
to that of what it was and how it functioned?>>Bill Staples Jr.: I can, the
answer is did a color line exist against Asian ball players,
and the answer is, it depends. I think it depends on who you
ask, where they come from, what their experiences were. For example, for years
I interviewed Japanese – American ball players
and I found that the ones who were raised in the mainland, who went through the interment
experience, it was their opinion that a color line existed. They had felt oppressed
throughout their life and it impacted the way
that they viewed the world. Whereas when I interviewed ball
players who came from Hawaii, they were like no, no color line
existed, it was just you know, it was the opportunity was there and either I didn’t
succeed et cetera. But Fibber Hirayama, who
was recruited by or signed by the Saint Louis
Browns at the time, felt that he did not have an
equal opportunity once he got into the minor leagues
and that’s why he chose to go to Japan and play. So really, it does depend, and I
think a really good example is, you look at Jackie Robinson in
1947, and Pumpsie Green in 1959, and how it took 12
years for the color line against African Americans to really be eliminated
if you will. And it was really based on
geography and the mindset and the heads and hearts of
those who controlled the game. So I think a lot of that applied
as well to Japanese – Americans, for really, any Asian
ball player. Just want to point out one
really interesting thing; a gentleman by the name of
Andy Yamashiro, from Hawaii, was the first Japanese – American to sign a
professional contract but he did so under the identity
of a Chinese American. He played under the name
of Andy Yen and he played in the East Coast, and that’s
a complicated story as well, there’s always a lot of
nuance, but he maintained that name throughout
his playing career while in the U– on the mainland.>>Cameron Penwell:
Wow, that’s fascinating. Oh Chandra– yeah,
please go ahead.>>Chandra Manning: Thank
you for bringing that up because I was just going to ask you something along
those lines, that color line–>>Bill Staples Jr.:
About Pumpsie Green?>>Chandra Manning: No,
not about Pumpsie Green. I am such an avid Red Sox fan that I have made
major life decisions around the proximity
of Fenway Park. So, Boston’s record
on that is terrible and I have to face that. No, I wanted to ask
you, the color line against African American players
is, that’s one of the things that surprises students, that
that’s a 20th century invention. That it isn’t there, at first
and there are some years in which African Americans sort
of get snuck in by pretending to be Cuban and by
pretending to speak Spanish by actually speaking
Spanish and that’s allowed. But an African American person
isn’t allowed and I wanted to know if there was a, if
there was an analogous case for Asian players and
it sounds like yes, it sounds like by pretending not
to be Japanese, by pretending to be something else,
he could find a road in. Am I hearing that right?>>Bill Staples Jr.: Well, it’s
complicated because he came over in 1913 with
the all Chinese team and they packaged him and marketed him as
a Chinese player. So it’s really tough to
tell if maybe he maintained that marketing and branding because that’s how
they knew him, or if truly there was
anti-Japanese sentiment rising and so he said it’s better to
be Chinese in this scenario, I’m going to continue with that. So I don’t know, Rob,
do you have any insight?>>Cameron Penwell: Yes,
I was going to ask if, in speaking about Mashi’s case
or others that you’ve looked at.>>Robert Fitts: So Bill and
I love to fight about this, you know, it gets violent
after a couple beers. There was, unlike the color
line for African Americans, there was no rigid, but as Bill
just said, rigid color line against Asians in professional or organized baseball
in the United States. There was strong
discrimination and so what– I, I [inaudible] what
Fibber said about feeling that when he was signed for
the Browns, he was not allowed to rise, I completely
believe him. [foreign name] who played for the San Francisco 49ers
professional football, and then went on
to, spent one year in the American minor
leagues before going to Japan, did not have that experience. He said yeah, there
was discrimination, but he felt that if he, he
felt there was a chance for him to make the major leagues. He eventually did not
go to the, went to Japan because he felt he was
physically not able to make the major leagues, but there he felt there
was no dividing line. And so it goes, it really is
not formal, the way it was against African Americans, it
depends on the time, the place, so as Bill said many
times, it’s complicated.>>Bill Staples Jr.:
Yeah, it’s complicated, if I could just add– there’s
a few stories of Japanese – American ball players
coming to the U.S., going to the deep
south in the ’50s, and they go to a public restroom
and it says colored and white, and they don’t know what to do. And they go into the colored
restroom, or they go to the back of the bus and they’re
being told, no, no, no, you need to come up to
the front of the bus. So there was a lot of by complicated social
interactions at that time.>>Robert Fitts: Yeah.>>Cameron Penwell: Well
one, one other topic, we have about 10 minutes
or a shade under remaining. One thing I wanted to throw out for discussion is I found
Professor Kelly’s concept of sportsworld by interesting
and being a fan, a baseball fan, a fan of the Chicago Cubs,
I’m often just focused, like Professor Kelly
explained, on you know, for some on the game and I
might be one of those types who, you know, find loud
cheering distracting. But, I really enjoyed in
your introductory chapter and in what you laid
out today, you know, showing how there’s all
these other moving parts that create the, what may be until now we might have called
fandom or something like that. So I was wondering if you
could comment yourself and then turning things over
to the other panelists as well, I’m course how this notion of
sportsworld, especially the way that you looked at it in the
case of the Hanshin Tigers, could we apply this to a case in
the U.S. and what might we learn for example, if we looked
at so-called Red Sox Nation with the same kind
of analytic frame, what sort of things
might come out, what sort of things might we
see that we don’t see now?>>William Kelly: Well I
think those of us who follow, and I also follow the Red Sox,
and the Red Sox are a good case that would also be a good case to which one could think a
little bit more contextually and comprehensively about
what it takes to create and produce something
called Red Sox Baseball. One of the interesting, these sports dailies
I was talking about, when I was first working in
Osaka, Japan, second city, it’s a city of largely
public transportation. Imagine getting on the
metro in Washington, and the Japanese
subways are sort of like the New York subways
where the seats are actually against the side, and
you get on the car and at least half the people on the train have a
sports newspaper open, there’re five different
dailies so they’re different but every single
one of the five, every day on the front page,
features the Hanshin Tigers and what they had done the
day before, usually lose. But what sort of
drama was being played out in the front
office, or in the fans. Whether you care about baseball
or not, whether you know much about Hanshin or not, your daily
experience in going to work and coming home from work, is
looking at these front pages. So everybody in the, everybody
in Osaka sort of absorbs sort of the lore of the Hanshin
Tigers and goes through, even if they don’t
know much about it, even if they don’t
actually watch the games, the Hanshin Tigers sort of
works its way into the fabric of the city through the medium
of these sports dailies. In the U.S., in the ’90s,
people are driving to work, it’s an era of talk radio,
you’re not, you don’t have time to read a newspaper, if you’re
waiting in traffic, talk radio, you didn’t really have
talk sports radio in Japan, people were reading
the newspapers. They’re really– it’s the same
media, the same media focus in Boston and New York
as in Osaka and Tokyo, but the media this is
the predominant media in those different
cultures is different. And so paying attention,
as I say, to the media, paying attention to the
fans, and the relationships between them, is sort of
an, adds to our appreciation for what baseball
really means in the, as a metropolitan experience.>>Cameron Penwell: Thank you,
would anyone care to dive in?>>Chandra Manning: I actually
want to ask a question, because I’ve been
fascinated since reading about the sportsworld
and the sort of almost choreographed role
for fans as you discuss it, and if I understand
your work, the fans, the Hanshin Tigers
fans, they’re, when they sing the marches
and things like that, it’s mostly when their
team is on offense and not defense, is that right?>>William Kelly: Mm hmm.>>Chandra Manning:
And I wondered if you could talk a little bit
more about that distinction and maybe we can
make nothing of it, I’m curious about if we should
read anything into that. Because if you’re at
Fenway Park, the fans are in on every pitch, they care
about the hitting for sure, but they are really in on
whether it’s going to be a curve or a slider, and whether the
shift should be on or not. I mean, there is real
involvement around defense and not just offense, and
I wanted to hear you sort of just riff a little bit
about, on that distinction.>>William Kelly:
Well particularly if you’re a Jackie Bradley fan, that catch last night
was just amazing. It is true, when you go
to a Japanese ball park, you’re just overwhelmed
by this cacophony of sound and you think that’s
all they’re doing. But it’s actually really
important that half the time, they’re not cheering,
that is the opponents, the small contingent that
shows up, but half the time, you’re not doing this,
you’re schmoozing. So the fan experience in a Japanese park is half the
time being totally engaged, thinking that you’re the
tenth man on the field, that you’re cheers really
can motivate the hitters to do what they should
do and usually don’t, but the other half of the
time is you are sitting there, engaging with everybody
else around you. These are often people who
you’ve been to the, you know, the 70 games with
year after year, so it’s an intensely
social experience with the fans themselves and I
think those are the two halves of the pleasures and the pains of being a Japanese
baseball stadium.>>Bill Staples Jr.: I have
a sportsworld question; so the individuals of these
communities, are they almost like members of the
same religion? Do they relate on
that kind of level like it’s a religious experience
when they come together and, or part of the same
religious community?>>William Kelly: You mean?>>Bill Staples Jr.: Just
the Hanshin Tigers, yeah. I’m just curious.>>William Kelly: Well–>>Bill staples Jr.: Because
I’ve heard people say, baseball’s my religion,
you know, in terms of how much
they love it.>>William Kelly: Yeah,
and you know, it’s secular but there’re also sacred-like
rituals and when you go to the ball park in a certain
way every time you’re there. Have certain sort of
greetings and all, and there are very
similar feelings in Japan. These fan clubs are
sometimes workplace groups, or high school friends,
or neighborhood groups. These are people who
sometimes associate outside of the ball park, they come
to the ball park and they come to the ball park
and they can relate. They can bond over their common
passion for, it’s passions, religion is a little strong.>>Bill Staples Jr.: A little
strong, but it connects people.>>William Kelly: Passion
can be pretty strong too.>>Cameron Penwell:
Alright, thank you. Okay, one final question,
and then we can proceed down to room 100, or I’m sorry
110, at the end of the hall for the book sale and any
additional questions you’d like to address to
individual speakers. For Dr. Fitts, so I was
very curious about this, of how Mashi kind
of explains why, I was thinking why were there
no other Japanese players until Nomo and you, you know,
very succinctly explained it, but I was wondering, could you
tell me were there any almosts or could have beens, that
transpired in those decades between when Mashi left and
when Nomo made his debut?>>Robert Fitts:
There were a couple, there’s one very
famous Japanese pitcher who I believe is near a Hall
of Fame now named Enatsu, and when he retired, I believe
1980, 1981, somewhere in there, he actually tried out for
the Milwaukee Brewers, probably picking the worst
team at the time on purpose. But he was 42 and he
just, he wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t good
enough, they’re not going to take up a roster spot. The other person who nearly
made it was, Mashi Murakami, back in 1982, I think the
year after Enatsu tried, Mashi officially retired from
Japanese baseball and asked to come back and see if he could
make the San Francisco Giants, and he did okay once again. But he was also in his young
40’s and the Giants said look, you know, we’re not going to
use up a roster spot for you, we’re just not going to do it. So he ended up spending the year as the Giants’ batting
practice pitcher. So at least he could
get in uniform and hang out with the team one last time. So, yes.>>Cameron Penwell: Alright,
well thank you very much. Thank you all for coming today.>>Robert Fitts: Actually can
I do a real quick announcement? For those of you
who love baseball, I’ve been very privileged
to be part of a documentary on Moe Berg that will
be debuting this month, it’s called, The Spy Behind
Home Plate, and it will debut in Washington DC at the
Avalon Theatre on May 24th–>>At 18 minutes
[inaudible] Japan.>>Robert Fitts: Right, and–>>– important part. [inaudible]>>Robert Fitts: And
this is the director.>>[inaudible] story.>>Cameron Penwell:
Alright, well thank you. Thank you to our wonderful
panelists and please, I do encourage you, I know
you probably have questions, and I’m sorry we didn’t
have time to get to those, but please join us at the
end of the hall, room 110, for book purchase,
discussion, and any questions that you’d like to pose. Thank you.

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