Wisensale: Babe Ruth in a kimono: How baseball diplomacy has fortified Japan-US relations

From SABR member Steven Wisensale at The Conversation on March 27, 2018:

On Feb. 9, 2001, an American submarine, the USS Greenville, surfaced beneath the Ehime Maru, a Japanese ship filled with high school students who were training to become fishermen. The ship sank, and nine students and teachers died.

Had a Japanese submarine surfaced beneath a North Korean ship and sank it, the two nations might have gone to war.

But in this case, U.S. and Japanese officials were able to turn to a familiar diplomatic tool: baseball. To honor the victims, they formed a youth baseball tournament that takes place each year, with the location alternating between Shikoku and Hawaii.

The role of baseball in Japanese-U.S. diplomacy has a long and rich history. After American educator Horace Wilson and railway engineer Hiroshi Hiraoka introduced the sport to the Japanese people in the 1870s, it flourished. With time, the sport has been a unifier, bringing together the people of two nations with vastly divergent histories and cultures.

Read the full article here: https://theconversation.com/babe-ruth-in-a-kimono-how-baseball-diplomacy-has-fortified-japan-us-relations-93629

Originally published: April 2, 2018. Last Updated: April 2, 2018.