The Keiko and Charles Belair Centre for East Asian Studies and Japan Futures Initiative presents this speaker series, featuring Sayuri Shimizu, Professor, Department of History, Rice University.
“Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.”
This oft-quoted observation about baseball’s special place in American culture and society by Jacque Barzun applies to other regions of the world where baseball took hold in the 19th century and remained popular ever since, such as Japan. This presentation illuminates baseball’s remarkable odyssey across the Pacific to become one of the most beloved ‘imported’ traditions in Japan and areas where it left its cultural footprints.
Who brought baseball to Japan and why and how the sport endeared itself to the local populace, both as athletic practice and spectator sport? What does a story of baseball diffusion across the Pacific tell us about the America’s place in the world at the time? What is Canada’s place in the “Transpacific Field of Dreams”? How has the sport, as a cultural import, evolved in a new environment? These are some of the questions that will be explored in this braided story about baseball, national identities, and cultural diffusion.
Fee free to view Sleeping Tigers – The Asahi Baseball Story as a precursor to this talk.
Please RSVP if you'd like to attend.