The other side of story: Horace Wilson who introduced baseball in Japan

(This blog post also appears in JapaneseBallPlayers.com blog.)

Filling this under interesting and odd/strange story related to Japanese baseball.

Horace Wilson

The name Horace Wilson is well-known in Japan. I can confirm that it is true — I even knew his name. “The one who taught us baseball,” Japanese say. It’s an answer to a trivia question, and in first sentence in the “History of Baseball In Japan“. He has a plaque at Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame at Tokyo Dome. I seem to recall seeing that in person last time I visited there in 2008.

He is originally from Maine, and there was an interesting report on Boston’s WBUR, about his decedents, who didn’t know anything about what he did in Japan. The reporter, Theo Balcomb, is a family member.

Japanese Baseball Began On My Family’s Farm In Maine

After Horace Wilson left the farm in Maine and fought in the Civil War, he traveled to Japan in 1871 and became a teacher. He then taught at what would become Tokyo University. There, he introduced to the students the game of baseball. This is my own opinion, but I think the duel between a pitcher and a batter, even though this is a team game played between teams, had appealed to the Japanese “samurai” style — I think of the duel between Musashi Miyamoto and Kojiro Sasaki on Ganryujima in the early 1600’s. but I digress.

I think it is fascinating that his family was completely unaware until the Japanese historian contacted them. I guess Horace never bothered to tell the family, or perhaps he didn’t think much of it then — who could imagine that the baseball will be cultivated in Japan over hundred years, through World Wars, and produce likes of Ichiro Suzuki and two World Baseball Classic Titles. Whatever the reason, this is a very unique story, and worth a read/listen.


My incomplete thoughts about Ichiro (Articles that I liked: Friday, August 23, 2013)

Ichiro Suzuki of New York Yankees had his 2,722th hit in MLB. Combined with his 1,278 hits in Japan, he now have 4,000 “proffesional” hits.

This has generated some discussions among fans around the baseball. One email list that I subscribe, some people started saying “Ichiro is overrated” and all that non-sense. The man has hit 2,722 hits in the Majors. That’s good enough for 59th all time, passing Lou Gehrig.

I hope to write some more thoughts up and post it to Japaneseballplayers.com blog soon.

UPDATE: Here it is Ichiro, his 4,000th hits, and discussions that followed

In the meanwhile, check out the Commemorative Bat and my links below.

***

I’ve been posting links that I liked at Posterous (RIP) and then <a href=


Godzilla Matsui retires, and what I tweeted: Dec. 22 – 28, 2012

See my blog post here:

Hideki-Matsui

***

I been tweeting nonsense since May 19, 2007 (such long time ago, can you believe that?). I put weekly digests of my tweets on this blog, so that I can search for it quicker using my blog’s search function. I tweet awfully a lot about baseball (I am a Red Sox fan, if you didn’t notice), but if you are interested, please follow me at @DaigoFuji. Here are my tweets for the week:


Taiwanese ballplayers, and what I tweeted: From May 19-25

Lin-sanity in Boston! Well, not quite as lin-sane as Jeremy Lin, obviously, but Red Sox rookie outfielder Che Hsuan Lin made an awesome diving catch the other day:

Che-Hsuan Lin is the 8th Taiwanese-born player to make it to the Major League Baseball, (he actually made debut earlier in the season, April 14, 2012, he made one defensive appearance before optioned back to AAA Pawtucket) he recorded his first major league hit against the Baltimore Orioles on May 21, 2012.

Other 7? Here is the list (from baseball reference)

Position players

From â–´ To G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Birthdate Debut Birthplace Pos
Chin-Feng Chen 2002 2005 19 25 22 3 2 0 0 0 2 0 3 10 .091 .200 .091 .291 Oct 28, 1977 Sep 14, 2002 Tainan City /7
Chin-lung Hu 2007 2011 118 214 193 27 34 4 3 2 18 4 12 49 .176 .225 .259 .484 Feb 2, 1984 Sep 1, 2007 Tainan City 64
Che-Hsuan Lin 2012 2012 6 5 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .200 .200 .200 .400 Sep 21, 1988 Apr 14, 2012 Hwa-Lian /98
Totals 2002 2012 599 333 295 38 45 7 3 3 22 4 18 96 .153 .202 .227 .429
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/29/2012.

Pitchers

Yrs From â–´ To ASG W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO Birthdate Debut Birthplace
Chin-hui Tsao 4 2003 2007 0 4 4 .500 5.40 50 8 21 0 0 4 88.1 89 54 53 19 34 60 Jun 2, 1981 Jul 25, 2003 Hualien
Chien-Ming Wang 7 2005 2012 0 60 29 .674 4.15 121 115 3 4 1 1 736.0 771 360 339 50 210 335 Mar 31, 1980 Apr 30, 2005 Tainan City
Hong-Chih Kuo 7 2005 2011 1 13 17 .433 3.73 218 14 40 0 0 13 292.1 228 128 121 18 127 345 Jul 23, 1981 Sep 2, 2005 Tainan City
Fu-Te Ni 2 2009 2010 0 0 1 .000 4.33 58 0 14 0 0 0 54.0 47 28 26 5 30 43 Nov 14, 1982 Jun 29, 2009 Pingtung County
Wei-Yin Chen 1 2012 2012 0 4 1 .800 3.31 9 9 0 0 0 0 54.1 53 24 20 6 18 42 Jul 21, 1985 Apr 10, 2012 Kaohsiung City
Totals 21 2003 2012 1 81 52 .609 4.11 456 146 78 4 1 18 1225.0 1188 594 559 98 419 825
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/29/2012.

***

I been tweeting nonsense since May 19, 2007 (over 5 years ago, can you believe that?). I put weekly digests of my tweets on my blog, so that I can search for it quicker using my blog’s search function. I tweet awfully a lot about baseball (I am a Red Sox fan), but if you are interested, please follow me at @DaigoFuji. Here are my tweets:
Continue reading…


We are all radio active and articles I liked: Friday, March 16, 2012

Great online crowd-funded documentary movie called We are all Radio Active. View it now, and donate.

I’ve been posting links that I liked at my Posterous page at posterous.daigo.org. Here are the week worth of links:


Bruce Lee, and articles I liked: Friday, February 3, 2012

Wisdom of Bruce Lee was nicely round up in a piece by Jeff Yang’s Tao Jones column titled: Why Bruce Lee Has More Kick Now Than Ever.

Some excerpts:

The belief system behind Lee’s art, Jeet Kune Do, was rooted
in resourcefulness: “Use what works, and take it from any place you can find it”;
in flexibility: “Don’t get set into one form, adapt, be like water”;
in simplicity: “Express the utmost with the minimum”;
in action: “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”

He told his disciples that “the successful warrior is just an average man with laser-like focus”;

“real living is living for others.”

Just gotta love Bruce Lee. He still is my idol.

Photo is from bruce-lee-wallpapers.blogspot.com.

I’ve been posting links that I liked at my Posterous page at posterous.daigo.org. Here are the week worth of links:


Valentine left his mark on Japanese baseball and articles I liked: Friday, December 9, 2011

Chiba Lotte Marines manager Bobby Valentine and the team owner Akio Shigemitsu wave during a Japan Series parade in 2005. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

Chiba Lotte Marines manager Bobby Valentine and the team owner Akio Shigemitsu wave during a Japan Series parade in 2005. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

This week, I wrote a web exclusive story for the Boston Globe. Valentine left his mark on Japanese baseball. and here are some excerpts:

From “Bobby Beer” and “Bobby Burgers” to turning a perpetual doormat into a must-watch team, Bobby Valentine certainly left his mark during his time as a manager in Japan’s baseball league.

Valentine managed seven seasons in Japan, in 1995 and from 2004 to 2009, and his bold attitude really struck a chord with Japanese baseball fans. He was popular and well-liked nationwide.

“When he was managing there, he was super-popular with fans,” says Deanna Rubin, who watched Valentine firsthand and blogged about him on her blog Marinerds, etc., “mostly because he was super-accessible. He’d go out and greet fans and sign stuff for everyone sitting in the stands before pretty much every single game. And he used to ride a bike to the stadium, so people were always saying how they saw him out riding his bike.”

Valentine turned the Chiba Lotte Marines, the Pacific League’s perpetual doormat, into something exiting. Most importantly, he turned them into a winning team that won the Japan Series in 2005. That year, his Marines won the inaugural Asia Series against the winner of the Korean Professional League, and he even challenged the World Series champion Chicago White Sox to a game.

He once ranked first in a list of men you would like to have as your boss in Weekly SPA, a business and entertainment magazine. After the Japan Series win, there was a little Bobby-mania. They made and sold Bobby Beer. Bobby Burgers were sold in Lotteria, the fast-food chain owned by Chiba Lotte’s parent company. Even a little shrine, “Bobby Jinja” was elected in a nearby shopping mall, where fans can go to receive good luck.

Read more on Boston.com

I’ve been posting links that I liked at my Posterous page at posterous.daigo.org. Here are the week worth of links:


MLB playing hardball (no-pun intended!) with NPBPA (What I tweeted: Week ending Aug 16)

I absolutely love this photo. Ichiro Suzuki and Sadaharu Oh after Japan's first win of the WBC tournament in 2006. (Photo by Chris Carlson/AP)

I absolutely love this photo. Ichiro Suzuki and Sadaharu Oh after Japan’s first win of the WBC tournament in 2006. (Photo by Chris Carlson/AP)

This week, I tweeted about Hideki Matsui’s pep talk on a bok by Ex-Yankees batboy (“Kick ass. Pop champagne. And get some ho’s.”), MLB playing hardball (no-pun intended!) with Nippon Professional Baseball Players Association (more below), and — what else — a lot of Red Sox baseball stuff.

More on Team Japan may boycott 2013 World Baseball Classic:
Here is a good background by Jim Allen of Daily Yomiuri “Japan WBC players want more money.” This was reported on July 23.

Japan’s players union on Friday said it would not participate in the third edition of the World Baseball Classic, set for 2013, unless changes are made to the tournament.

At a meeting of the Nippon Professional Baseball Players Association, union chairman Takahiro Arai said in a statement that there were a number of issues with the invitational tournament, won both times by Japan.

Chief among the players grievances was the distribution of sponsorship revenue by the tournament’s organizing body, WBC Incorporated.

“Until the WBCI recognizes the rights of individual countries to their sponsorship and licensing revenues, we will not participate,” the statement said.

“At least half of the sponsorship revenue for the tournament is coming from Japanese companies. Yet, 66 percent of the profits went to MLB and the MLB player’s association with just 13 percent going to Japan.”

And now this: “JPBPA has demands turned down by MLB,” written by Kyodo News Wire. On August 11.

The Japan Professional Baseball Players Association on Wednesday requested in a meeting with Major League Baseball that the Japanese team receive a bigger slice of the revenue for the next World Baseball Classic in 2013 but its demand was turned down.

As part of its demands at the negotiations held in Tokyo, the JPBPA had asked that sponsorship rights and the rights to baseball memorabilia for the Japanese team be transferred to Nippon Professional Baseball.

The Japanese players’ union said it still plans, in coordination with NPB and the Japanese pro baseball clubs, to demand that the rights be secured as a condition for Japan to play in 2013.

JPBPA executive director Toru Matsubara said, “Right now, for the future of Japan we must have a solid contract.”

According to a source, MLB and the MLB Players Association, which will organize the 2013 tournament, have notified the JPBPA and NPB that the deadline to reply on whether or not Japan will participate in the tournament is the end of September.

Jim Small, MLB’s vice president for Asia, has said that the MLB will go ahead with the WBC, even if Japan does not play.

I absolutely love (or loved, depending on the outcome) World Baseball Classic, and I’ve been to both tournaments in 2006 and 2009 (on my own expense) to California. But if Japan doesn’t play? I’ll be furious. The games are intense, even in March, and really exciting. Second Japan-Cuba game, an elimination game where loser was eliminated, were so intense, and that was where I first saw Hisashi Iwakuma (That is probably why my opinion of him are so skewed), who dominated Cuban hitters. Absolutely loved it. One of the best game ever.

I also saw 2006 Japan-vs-USA game in Los Angeles, and the line-up of that game was Ichiro, Nishioka, Tamura, Fukudome, Iwamura, Ogasawara, Tanishige (with Aoki pinch-hitting in the 9th) and Kawasaki. Koji Uehara was the starter. 5 player named here now playing (or have played) in MLB and two more could come this year (Norichika Aoki and Munenori Kawasaki. Maybe even Kyuji Fujikawa who took the loss in that game)

By the way, who could forget, Twins Tsuyoshi Nishioka was the runner who was out at third after the appeal play. Funny that Japanese people that I know still remember the umpire’s name (see Bob Davidson’s wiki page!)… Anyway. Back to my point. I love everything about WBC, my Team Japan hat is still my favorite baseball cap (I’d say it is tied with Black on Black DiCaprio-Departed Red Sox hat), and I have always advocated, backed, spoke highly of, spoke very excitedly about, and WILLINGLY PAID THE MONEY FOR, the WBC. But if the money is what stops them from paying (notice I am not pointing my finger to one party or the other) I will be very, VERY disappointed.

***

I been tweeting nonsense since May 19, 2007 (over 4 years, can you believe that?). I put weekly digests of my tweets on my blog, so that I can search for it quicker using my blog’s search function. I tweet awfully a lot about baseball (I am a Red Sox fan), but if you are interested, please follow me at @DaigoFuji. Here are my tweets:
Continue reading…


Virgin mary in Kimono?

Fascinating. One of my favorite blog 8Asian’s Koji Steven had a interesting write up titled “Was Jesus Asian?” And while he concludes that he probably wasn’t Asian (he was probably more like Arab people, which is also interesting) the links to images of Asian christianity art are really fascinating. I was baptized in my late 20’s as a Catholic. Images like this blog here.

Christian wood prints from Sadao Watanabe are really beautiful. More images, and more images.

Japanese artist, Sadao Watanabe’s wood block of crucifixion and last supper.

This Facebook page dedicated for “Virgin Mary and Japan” is interesting too. So many Virgin Maries dressed in Kimono! Just fascinating.


Google Street View of inside Hiroshima Peace Memorial (What I tweeted: Week ending August 7)

As always, most of my tweets are about baseball, and the Boston Red Sox. But a friend forwarded me this link: Google Street View of inside Hiroshima Peace Memorial. Two bombs were dropped in Japan near the end of World War II, first on August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima and the second on August 9, 1945 in Nagasaki. 66 years ago. I have never been to Hiroshima, but I visited Nagasaki in 2005. And it was very moving to visit the Peace Park (photo below) and museums. It made me appreciate so much about Article 9 of Japanese constitution, I should never forget that feeling.

Peace Park

Nagasaki Peace Park, photo by Daigo Fujiwara, 2005

Click here to view rest of my baseball tweets. Continue reading…