January 1, 2009
Japanese Ballers Parade NY 1911

My first research and comments were on Japan-related photos of the Library of Congress.

Japan (Waseda Ball Team) in N.Y. 4th of July Parade (LOC)

LC already had the date, location, etc. My question was, what the heck was a Japanese baseball team doing in New York in 1911??

The New York Times mentioned several games in New York and Chicago around this time.

I found the official Waseda Baseball Team website's history page, which says that this was their second tour of the US, and ended 17 victories, 36 losses, one cancellation. The trip lasted from March 28th until August 17th.

Digging around, I found that there were only a few (college) teams in Japan, so they often hosted international teams and traveled to play. I'd like to understand exactly how this counted as school credit... were they really learning English? Touring businesses and factories?

For background I read about baseball history on the National Diet Library site. I found that it was controversial in Japan at the time. The rivalry between Waseda and Keio universities led to vicious, open threats. In August when the Waseda team returned, an historic editorial was printed by Nitobe Inazo, comparing baseball's deceit - the pitcher trying to trick the batter - to picking pockets. Inazo preferred the manliness and honesty of rugby. It took awhile for baseball to clean up its image and become popular in Japan.

(This is a combination of comment sin the photo and a post on the Flickr Commons discussion group. It was picked up by the blog indicommons.org.)

Written by Rob Ketcherside at January 1, 2009 7:32 PM
Lost Seattle
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