Read The Meaning of Ichiro Online

Authors: Robert Whiting

The Meaning of Ichiro

BOOK: The Meaning of Ichiro

Acclaim for


“Intriguing … destined to become as indispensable as Whiting’s classic
You Gotta Have Wa

Seattle Times

“Meticulous … offers rounded, human portrayals of players long made invisible by the constant mythologizing … Explores the
Japanese baseball invasion of the U.S. and its indelible effects on both nations.”

Wall Street Journal

“An aspiring exploration of the power of sport to bridge differences and lead cultural change … Whiting has a knack for bringing
characters alive in a short space and weaving them into historical context. He also revels in finding the ironies in their
actions and conflicts, revealing them to the reader with wry humor.”

Tokyo Weekender

“Fascinating … many piquant observations.”


“Intriguing … up-to-the-minute … a compelling read.”

Publishers Weekly

“Fascinating … THE SAMURAI WAY OF BASEBALL is a delightful and enlightening read, filled with interesting facts and stories.
What I enjoyed about the book is how Whiting interweaves little details into those stories.”

Rafu Shimpo

“A great book on baseball … incisive and thoughtful … With this dazzling display, Robert Whiting is a first ballot shoo-in
as a Hall of Famer among Japanologists … THE SAMURAI WAY OF BASEBALL is like having box seats in the World Series—memorable
and lots of fun. Crack a beer, sit back, and enjoy.”

Japan Times

“Brings into the light of shrieking clarity the near-maniacal degree to which many Japanese players have dedicated themselves
to the game.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Whiting writes about much more than Ichiro … more than anything else he illuminates differences between a disciplined and
a laid-back culture.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Fans of America’s national pastime … would do well to pick up [this book]. Whiting is the premier English-language writer
on Japanese baseball … [He] shines a light into the dark corners of the Japanese game … clean, straightforward, anecdotal.”

Daily Yomiuri

“Whiting is an expert in American-Japanese culture … He obviously knows the Japanese game.”

Denver Rocky Mountain News

“The role of Asian players in the major leagues had not been well explored until the publication of THE SAMURAI WAY OF BASEBALL.”

Sacramento Bee

“Fascinating reading … THE SAMURAI WAY OF BASEBALL is a fine introduction to Japanese baseball … solidly researched and well-written.”

Anniston Star


“The definitive book on Japanese baseball and one of the best-written sports books ever.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“Bob Whiting has done it again! … A book that will please baseball fans and enlighten anyone interested in Japanese-American

—James Fallows,
Atlantic Monthly

“Far more than a sports book … What you read … is applicable to almost every other dimension of American-Japanese relations.”

—David Halberstam

“Wonderfully entertaining.”


“A terrific, fast-paced account of Japanese baseball.”

Chicago Tribune


Copyright © 2004 by Robert Whiting

All rights reserved.

Warner Books

Hachette Book Group

237 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

Visit our website at

First eBook Edition: September 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-56522-6

In memory of two old friends,
Greg and Dwight, who left too soon.


me with this book. In the research department, Kozo Abe of the
communications group kept a steady supply of information and checked facts coming my way; Miwako Atarashi of the Baseball
Hall of Fame and Museum in Tokyo
ku Hakubutsukan)
verified data and responded promptly and kindly to numerous requests I made for material, which usually required her digging
into nineteenth-century files; and my neighbor and old friend, the highly regarded baseball author and translator of
You Gotta Have Wa,
Masayuki Tamaki, as well as his wife, Kyoko, and members of his family, all provided numerous kindnesses.

Thanks to two of the world’s foremost authorities on the Japanese game who were generous enough with their time to check the
manuscript for factual errors (and they found more than I’d care to admit). One is ace Yomiuri columnist Jim Allen, the other
is Marty Kuehnert, foremost bilingual media commentator on
nihon puro-yaky
for three decades. Others who read the manuscript in whole or in part and provided helpful advice were Peter Miller, Elmer
Luke, Jeff Kingston, Mark Schumacher and Velisarios Kattoulas.

Among those I’d also like to thank in no particular order are Leon Lee, Shuji Tsunoyama of the
Sankei Supotsu,
Wayne Graczyk, venerable columnist and author of the
Japan Pro Baseball Fan Handbook and Media Guide,
which we’ve all been referring to for more than a quarter of a century, noted Tokyo author Mark Schreiber, Michael Westbay,
System Administrator/Editor of the popular Web site
Jim Small, head of the Tokyo office of MLB, Nobuhisa Ito of the NPB Commissioner’s Office, Hiroko Tashiro, Toru Matsubara
of the NPBPA, Zooher Abdool-Carim, Hannah Beech, Karl Greenfeld, Toko Sekiguchi and Shintaro Kano of
Shigeyoshi “Steve” Ino, Trey Hillman, Bobby Valentine, Tadahiro Ushigome, Rick Roa, Masa Oshima, Ken Belson and Howard French
of the
New York Times,
Benjamin Fulford of
Sebastian Moffet of the
Asian Wall Street Journal,
Yuichi Hongo of
Isao Takeda of
Playboy, Japan,
Glen S. Fukushima, chairman of Cadence Design Systems, and his wife, Sakie, Skip Orr, president of Boeing Japan, and his
wife, Miko Orr, Kenichiro Sasae of the Foreign Ministry and his wife, Nobuko, Hide Tanaka of the
Asahi Shimbun
and his wife, Yoshie, Professor Machiko Osawa, Akiko and Anastasia Yamamoto-Kattoulas, Leron Lee, Vicquie Lee, Gareth
Swain, Professor Seiyu Hosono, Koichi and Machiko Kawamura, Joichi Ito, president and CEO of Neoteny, the English Agency
of Japan, Martin Fackler of the
Asian Wall Street Journal,
Yuko Aotani of
Eric Prideaux, Editor Jack Gallagher of the
Japan Times,
Rekichi Sumiya, Richard Mei of the U.S. State Department, Wally and Jane Yonamine. And special thanks to Satoru Hayano for
many services rendered, as well as to Fusakzu, Etsuko,Yutaka,Yoko, Hisashi and Kae Hayano for the Hawaii Ichiro seminar. To
Noriko and Eiji Fukushima. To Masako Sakata. And to Eire and Michiko Haru, for arranging a memorable dinner with Michiko’s
grandfather (son of Waseda University’s Iso Abe, who led Japan’s first historic baseball tour of the United States in 1905).
Also Matt Rifkin.

As always, I extend a big
to Midori Matsui, translator of
The Chrysanthemum and the Bat,
her husband, Kiyondo Matsui of
Bungei Shunju,
and to Satoshi Gunji of Kadokawa.

In Seattle, I’d like to thank old friends Doug and Noriko Palmer, Masayoshi Niwa of
magazine and journalist James Bailey, who all provided insights into the Ichiro craze as well as life in Seattle in general.
Also special thanks to Bob Bavasi of Bavasi Sports Partners for his generosity.

In San Francisco, a gratitudinal bow of the head to old friends and S.F. Giants fans Rosser and Yin-wah Brockman, Frances
Bushell and baseball connoisseur and Pac Bell Park fixture Steve Eigenberg. Also Blake Rhodes of the Giants’ front office
and Katsunori Kojima. In Los Angeles, thanks to player agent Don Nomura of KDN, Jim Col-born, Jim Tracy, John Olguin and Scott
Akasaki of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Derek Shearer of Occidental College. Tom House. In San Diego, player agent Tony Attanasio
of Ada Finanacial and Robert E. Turner. In Chicago, Dusty Baker. In Tampa, John Kraal.

In New York,
to Yusuke Kamata of
Gaku Tashiro of
Sankei Supotsu,
Jean Afterman, Joe Torre, and Isao Hir
ka of the New York Yankees. Rick Down. Don Zimmer. Kota Ishijima. Jeremy Schaap of ESPN, Gene Orza of the MLBPA, Marvin and
Terry Miller. Mark Ryckoff of
Melanie Kirkpatrick of the
Wall Street Journal.
Dan Gordon. Richard Siracusa. Nick Pileggi. Clyde Haberman of the
New York Times.
And the merry band of souls at the Japan Society in New York. In Boston, thanks to Bill Givens and Ed Kleven. In Washington,
D.C., it’s Joe and Leith Bernard, Robin Berrington of the State Department, William R. Farrell and Patricia Kearns and Eri
Howard of the Japan-America Society.

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