This dissertation provides a history of the baseball community in Japan from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until 2008. I argue that the sport of baseball, which is often perceived as a transnational phenomenon, was critical to inventing and reinventing characteristics of Japanese national identity throughout the twentieth century. This dissertation uses the Japanese baseball community as an analytical lens to examine the how the community rose to prominence through the production of characteristics of bushidō philosophy (The Way of the Samurai) before 1945, nihonjinron (Theories of Japaneseness) during the Cold War, and kokusaika (Internationalization) from the 1980s onward. Using baseball as a subject of historical investigation shows that the game was, for the most part, not simply part of a Westernization process in Japan, but instead an active agent in the construction of modern Japanese national identities. This approach reveals historical tensions between the styles of American democracy, which baseball is generally affirmed to represent, with the styles of democracy that appeared throughout Japanese history.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. 2018. Major: History. Advisor: Hiromi Mizuno. 1 computer file (PDF); 352 pages.
Making Japan’s National Game: Baseball, Bushidō, and Discourses of National Identity, 1868-2008.
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