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[I-House Lecture]
Baseball and Diplomacy: A Game Changer for U.S.-Japan Relations


  • ※This program has finished.
  • Lecturer: Robert Whiting (Journalist)
  • Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 7:00-8:30 pm (Doors open at 6:30 pm)
  • Venue: Lecture Hall, International House of Japan
  • Language: English (without Japanese interpretation)
  • Admission: 1,000 yen (students: 500 yen, IHJ members: free)
  • Seating: 100 (reservations required)
Japan and the United States have a history that spans more than 150 years. For most of that time, the common sport of baseball has played a key role in forging a relationship between the two countries. A memorable visit by Babe Ruth in 1934 temporarily eased escalating tensions. The visit by the San Francisco Seals in 1949 rebuilt goodwill between the former enemies, and Nomo Hideo’s success in 1995 helped to defuse trade conflicts while permanently opening the MLB door for fellow stars like Suzuki Ichiro, Matsui Hideki, Darvish Yu, and Otani Shohei.
   Since its introduction to Japan in the early Meiji Era, the grand old game of baseball has been the connective tissue that has bound the United States and Japan together for nearly a century and a half. This lecture will let us see the two countries’ relations through the prism of baseball.

Robert Whiting (Journalist)

photo: Robert WhitingFirst came to Japan in 1962 and has lived in Japan for nearly 40 years. After graduating from Sophia University with a degree in Japanese politics, he worked for Britannica Japan. His first book, The Chrysanthemum and the Bat (Dodd Mead, 1977), was chosen by TIME Magazine as the best sports book of the year. Mr. Whiting is the author of several highly acclaimed books on contemporary Japan, including You Gotta Have Wa (MacMillan, 1989; Vintage, 2009); Tokyo Underworld (Pantheon, 1999; Vintage, 2000), which describes organized crime in Japan and examines the corrupt side of the Japan-US relationship; and The Samurai Way of Baseball (Warner Books, 2005), which describes the impact of the outfielder Ichiro of the Seattle Mariners and other Japanese stars on U.S. baseball.