Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game transports us onto diamonds and into dugouts on the other side of the globe, where the vigorous sportsmanship of the game and the impassioned devotion of its fans transcend cultural and geographic borders and prove that baseball is fast becoming an international pastime.
Called Yakyu, baseball has been played in Japan since the 1890s but has only recently gained a substantial global following. Robert K. Fitts chronicles the nation’s distinctive version of the sport as recounted by twenty-five of its players. Fitts’s careful choice of subjects represents the experiences of a mix of American and Japanese players—including stars, titleholders, and members of the Japanese Hall of Fame. Informal, candid, and remarkably specific, these recollections describe teammates and opponents, corporate owners and loyal fans, triumphs and frustrations, collectively capturing all the spirit and emotion engendered by the game from decidedly personal vantage points. Throughout, readers glimpse the unique traits of baseball in Japan and discern how the game has evolved since its inception as well as how it differs from its American counterpart.
An unparalleled introduction for an American audience, Remembering Japanese Baseball is augmented by photos of its twenty-five interviewees and a timeline demarking milestone moments in the game’s Japanese history. Robert Whiting, author of You Gotta Have Wa! and The Meaning of Ichiro, provides the foreword.