344 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 18 halftones, notes, bibl., index
How Baseball Linked the United States and Japan in Peace and War
Baseball has joined America and Japan, even in times of strife, for over 150 years. After the "opening" of Japan by Commodore Perry, Sayuri Guthrie-Shimizu explains, baseball was introduced there by American employees of the Japanese government tasked with bringing Western knowledge and technology to the country, and Japanese students in the United States soon became avid players. In the early twentieth century, visiting Japanese warships fielded teams that played against American teams, and a Negro League team arranged tours to Japan. By the 1930s, professional baseball was organized in Japan where it continued to be played during and after World War II; it was even played in Japanese American internment camps in the United States during the war.
From early on, Guthrie-Shimizu argues, baseball carried American values to Japan, and by the mid-twentieth century, the sport had become emblematic of Japan's modernization and of America's growing influence in the Pacific world. Guthrie-Shimizu contends that baseball provides unique insight into U.S.-Japanese relations during times of war and peace and, in fact, is central to understanding postwar reconciliation. In telling this often surprising history, Transpacific Field of Dreams shines a light on globalization's unlikely, and at times accidental, participants.
"An impressively researched contribution to the study of baseball's globalization."
“Exhaustively researched. . . . This is a well-written book.”
--The Wall Street Journal
“Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers.”
"A thorough, excellently researched . . . and professionally competent effort that will help other scholars."
--Journal of American History
"Beautifully written and richly researched in English- and Japanese-language sources, this book reveals that 'America's pastime' was truly a transnational game, one with power to bind two very disparate nations. This book will surely be the definitive study of an important topic with ramifications well beyond the world of sport."
--Barbara Keys, University of Melbourne
"This wonderful book makes significant contributions to U.S. foreign relations, American studies, sports history, and Japanese history. Guthrie-Shimizu's prose is beautiful and her scholarship is complete and up to date--she is an excellent storyteller."
--Thomas W. Zeiler, University of Colorado at Boulder
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