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The Meaning of Ichiro: The New Wave from Japan and the Transformation of Our National Pastime Hardcover – April 1, 2004
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Whiting includes a lot of interesting history, some of it rehashed from earlier volumes, but necessary here if one is to read this as a stand alone piece. He details the birth of baseball in Japan, how it became Japanized with the intense training, and some early experiences in cross-cultural play with teams from the United States. There is also some philosophy, for it is important to understand the Japanese culture and mindset, as well as the almost martial training that players endure in Japan. All very fascinating stuff.
The bulk of the book focuses on those players since 1995 who have made their way across the Pacific to play for teams in North America. The stories about Ichiro, Nomo and Hideki Matsui are near-mythical, and one has to wonder how much truth was embellished by their families and coaches. But aren't the stories of players of this caliber always near-mythical?
While the prose reads well, and Whiting is very knowledgeable about the Japanese game, I found numerous factual errors. Ichiro was born in 1973, but the book had him entering junior high school in 1975! Now that's precocious. Probably a typo, but in a baseball book, errors with dates and stats are killers.Read more ›
Whiting is the author of several books on Japanese culture and contemporary history, with an number of them dealing with Japanese baseball, its culture and history. Most notably with You Gotta Have Wa (Vintage), Whiting proves himself a knowledgeable, witty writer and his books are at once informative and entertaining. This is no different. He looks at a number of Japanese players who made the transition to MLB, as well as a number who, for various reasons, were not successful in their attempts. Conversely, he looks at both successes and failures among US players going the other way. His mini-biographies are detailed and nuanced enough to allow all of his characters to emerge as real people coping in their various ways with their cultural displacement - no small feat.Read more ›
I particularly liked this book because it covers the period of time during which I've been a resident of Japan (96 to present). While the earlier title "You Gotta Have Wa" was an excellent read, it felt a bit dated to me as it descibes an earlier period I never experienced firsthand. Japan has changed a bit since the bubble days and in this book Whiting manages to concisely convey many of those changes through several viewpoints. I highly recommend it even if you've already read "Wa."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fab Book on Ichiro Suzuki by one of the best journalists in the world, Robert Whiting.Published 22 months ago by Max Pynchon
The book was very interesting and the service was on time. No problems at all! I would recommend reading this book for all baseball fansPublished on September 24, 2013 by edward j necefer
Great read! Many fascinating stories that make visible the cultural divide between east and west. Great introduction to Nippon Professional Baseball.Published on July 21, 2013 by 808 Pineapple
Robert Whiting's third book on Japanese baseball, The Meaning of Ichiro: The New Wave From Japan & the Transformation of Our National Pastime (2004), deftly chronicles the flight... Read morePublished on January 3, 2006 by JPB
The best part of The Samurai Way of Baseball is the first two chapters, which follow Ichiro Suzuki's childhood and career. Read morePublished on August 28, 2005 by takingadayoff
Baseball fans with an interest in the new breed of Japanese baseball player making an impact in the U.S. Read morePublished on September 5, 2004 by Sibelius