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Robert Whiting

Robert Whiting's Homepage at JapaneseBaseball.com

'Wa' Review

by The Washington Post (May 28, 1989)

You Gotta Have Wa, by Robert Whiting (Macmillan, $17.95). The Japanese have been playing baseball for more than 100 years, but their game is only superficially similar to the American game. Instead, Whiting argues, Japanese baseball owes more to Japanese traditions and ideals, such as wa, which means harmony. American ballplayers who accept generous salaries to play on Japanese teams often find themselves in for a painful period of adjustment: In Japan, baseball players come early to the stadium to practice for three hours. Games can last up to four hours or 12 innings; after that they are declared ties. And players are expected to address their coaches and managers with the respectful honorific san. When West meets East on the baseball diamond, wa does not always result.

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