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Sports Year
Sports Year
  1. Baseball and US-Japan Relations
  2. Major League Baseball’s Japanese Players
  3. Sumo, the Hawaiian-American Connection
  4. Japanese Martial Arts in the United States
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The program from the 1998 all-star game between American and Japanese professional baseball players.
Image Courtesy of Collecting Ichiro.
Baseball and US-Japan Relations
In November of 1934, major league baseball sent an all-star team on an exhibition tour of Japan. With big names like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in the lineup, the American all-star team played more than ten games against amateur Japanese teams, and won every game. Soon after this exhibition tour by the US players, amateur baseball in Japan was inspired to establish a professional league. Because of the 1934 Japan tour, North American Major League Baseball is still highly regarded by Japanese baseball players and fans alike as brothers-in-arms, and served to attract many Japanese fans to the sport throughout the pre-war and post-war periods This mutual friendship between the two country’s baseball leagues, has drawn many American baseball players over the years into careers with Japan’s professional teams. In fact, some American players who have started in Japanese league lineups are very popular with Japanese fans. For example, Randy Bass who played for the Hanshin Tigers, and Warren Cromartie of the Yomiuri Giants were always crowd favorites. Every year, during the off-season, a group of major league players from the US goes to Japan to play games against Japanese all-stars.
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