You Gotta Have Wa Hardcover – May 1989
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From Publishers Weekly
The "wa" one must have is the group harmony that is the essence of Japanese "besoboru," or baseball. (Japanese baseball fans view individualism as the fatal flaw in the American game.) This interesting comparative study of the sport as it is played on both sides of the Pacific concentrates on the American stars who have gone to play in Japan. Whiting ( The Chrysanthemum and the Bat ) shows how Americans abroad have adapted to punishing spring training and pre-game practices throughout the season in Japan, and their adjustment to such aspects of the sport as the sacrifice bunt, the hit-and-run and the squeeze. He also chronicles American athletes' problems with tyrannical managers and coaches and umpires bent on saving face. The conclusion: American and Japanese baseball are vastly different games. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
"Wa," Japanese for "team spirit," is the creed of Japanese baseball, played since the 1850s and professionally since 1935. Whiting, a long-time Japan resident, concentrates on the two pro leagues. The Japanese leagues, he reports, believe their severely coached game to be superior to the U.S. game. They discourage Japanese from entering U.S. leagues. A few Americans, usually older ones, have been accepted on Japanese teams, but they meet with resentment, criticism, and discrimination. The book updates Whiting's earlier The Chrysanthemum and the Bat (LJ 10/1/76) and contrasts with Sadaharu Oh and David Falkner's Sadaharu Oh (LJ 6/1/84; o.p.). A revealing and disturbing account that is heartily recommended for adult and YA collections.
- Morey Berger, Monmouth Cty. Lib., Manalapan, N.J.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
The book though is spot on on capturing the spirit of '80s J-ball and the characters really come to life and especially for anyone who lived here during that era, it's a great read.
Just take things with a grain of salt on his trying to tie other non-baseball issues in with the baseball bits.
The book goes through both a history of baseball in Japan, as well as challenges American's deal with over there. It covers the trials and tribulations of Americans like Bob Horner, who thrive on the diamond, but struggle off the field. It covers the adverserial relationship between Japanese coaches and their foreign (Gai-jin) charges. Any American going to work in Japan is well advised to pay attention!
How is Japan changing over time? Compare how the approval of "different" antics of foreigners changes over time. Learn how some Japanese players follow the model, but as the exception and not the rule. Is the Japanese culture changing, or a surface appearance of change part of the Japanese character? Read the book to find out. Again, it's only about baseball on the surface.
How does training differ? The American model suggests individuals can improve, but only to the limit of their ability. The Japanese model in both the field and the office is that there is no limit - strength and success is limited only by effort. This drive leads to a 10-11 month season counting training camp, as well as several hours of strenuous exercizes every day before practice. This is essential to developing the fighting spirit. Again, someone travelling to Japan for business is well advised to understand this.
The book is a must for baseball lovers as well as people interested in learning more about Japan. The book is a fascinating work that hides great learning behind Japan under the story of America's pastime.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a great book on one of the most beautifully esoteric topics out there. This is a subject that can be appreciated more now than ever. Japanese baseball rocks! Read morePublished on Jan. 16 2004 by B. Poelman
This book is fun to read even if you are not into baseball, but if you are, then its awesome! Its mainly made up of many different stories and experience from American baseball... Read morePublished on April 23 2003 by Ching-An Cheng
I enjoyed this book so much that I went out and did quite a bit of research on my own about the Japanese leagues. It is entertaining and at the same time you will be educated. Read morePublished on May 30 2002 by Bruce Tracy
A fascinating cultural history disguised as sports lore. I bought this book because I'd seen it quoted in several other books about Japan that I had greatly enjoyed. Read morePublished on March 4 2002 by Marty McFly
Overall a great read and worth buying, but it wore me down a bit with the unrelenting uni-directional criticism. Read morePublished on Dec 2 2000 by Greg Giokas
I have had the fortunate experience of visiting Japan twice and seeing some Japanese baseball. It was an experience I shall never forget. Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2000 by wutanglen
If I were teaching a college course on Japan, this would be my text book. Readable, funny and right on the mark. Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2000 by David S.
like the warren cromartie book slugging it out in japan this is another must have book as up until 1988 it tells you the crazy goings on and stories involving americans baseball... Read morePublished on June 7 1999 by firstname.lastname@example.org