'U.S.-Japan Baseball Diplomacy Project' examines connection sport helped create
TOKYO — America and Japan are bound together by a common sport. That is the theme of an ambitious year-long study undertaken by William and Mary University in Williamsburg. Virginia, called the “U.S.-Japan Baseball Diplomacy Project,” which is exploring baseball’s long history and its importance in shaping relations between the two countries since being introduced in Japan in 1872.
It is led by professors Marcus Holmes, Hiroshi Kitamura and Paul Manna, along with a team of undergraduate students, and is funded in part by the State Department’s Tokyo Embassy, under the auspices of a year-long grant authorized by the U.S. State Department.
W/M kicked off the study on the last day of the World Series, Oct. 27, with an informative symposium entitled “150 Years of U.S.-Japan Baseball Diplomacy,” that included journalists, scholars, educators and former baseball pros such as Brad Lefton, Sayuri Shimizu, Masanori “Mashi” Murakami, Greg “Boomer” Wells and Bobby Valentine. U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emmanuel and MLB executive Jim Small also addressed the crowd.