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Looking for books on Giants

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Looking for books on Giants

I am looking for books either in English or Japanese about the Yomiuri Giants and their owner(ship). All suggestions are welcome.

Re: Looking for books on Giants
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Nov 21, 2003 11:56 PM | YBS Fan ]

That's a good observation you made in this thread about the lack of books on the way the Giants are run. There are plenty of books on Giants' stars, most of them to do with Oh and Nagashima. But I don't remember ever seeing anything about Watanabe or any other Giant owner (other than the short segment on Nabetsu's predicessor in "Wa").

Most of the comments I make about Watanabe and the Giants are from the daily sports papers (Nikkan Sports in particular). There seems to be a kind of pact with the Giants where the reporters won't be too hard on them, and in return, they won't get their press passes revoked.

The first I came to know about this policy was actually when the 1996 Chiba Lotte Marines put it into action on the order of Hirooka-GM. A former Giant star, Hirooka-GM was used to having such power, and the press was pretty much ordered to not use Bobby Valentine's name in any way (other than stating obvious facts) for the entire year between when Hirooka had Valentine fired until Hirooka got the ax himself. It didn't stop the press from writing about Valentine between the lines (never mentioning his name).

The media does much the same with Watanabe. They condone his big mouth and actions in all ways other than coming out and stating as much. But then, with some of the things he says, all they have to do is report on the facts (his exact words), and Watanabe is shown to be what he is.

I don't get to a Yurido nearly often enough to promise any time frame for looking for such a book. And the selection at the nearby bookstore in Daiei isn't nearly large enough to have anything like that if it did exist. I'll ask the Tokyo SABR members about it at our next meeting in January if nothing comes up by then. It would make a good research project.
Re: Looking for books on Giants
[ Author: bouton-kun | Posted: Nov 22, 2003 11:48 PM ]

Thanks for the replies. That is exactly my point. All publications seem to be about the Giants' stars. Besides that, a truck-load of news is produced everyday on how great the Giants are, but it doesn't make for a very balanced view. There seems to be little in the way they they are run and the overwhelming influence of the Giants on Japanese baseball in general. One gets the feeling that nothing happens in Pro Yakyu unless it is (un)officially approved by the Giants' ownership. Case in point:

The Japanese Olympic team in Sydney was made up of only Pa-League players, apparently because the Giants' ownership didn't want Ce-League players to participate. It would interfere with Ce-League play too much.

Moreover, the press pact you mention not only seems to exist. It actually exists. I spoke to a reporter who covers Pro Yakyu and was told that they could unload some s*** on the Giants, but they would have to emigrate. So the pact is for real. Lapdogs not watchdogs.

Some useful info on the Yomiuri Groups holdings: [Link -]

Some insightful remarks on Yomiuri's business dealings: [Link -] Look for the 2003-03-19 article by Kojiro Shiraishi, chief of Yomiuri digital media bureau.
Re: Looking for books on Giants
[ Author: Guest: Jim Albright | Posted: Nov 22, 2003 2:06 AM ]

I've read "A Zen Way of Baseball" (Sadaharu Oh's autobiography), and though I haven't (yet) read it, Warren Cromartie's "Slugging it Out in Japan" are both about important Giant players.

Jim Albright
Re: Looking for books on Giants
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Nov 23, 2003 12:05 AM | YBS Fan ]

That reference I made about Nabetsu's predicessor may have been from "Slugging," not "Wa." It's been a while, and there is some overlap in the two books as Whiting coauthored Cromartie's book.
Re: Looking for books on Giants
[ Author: Guest: Daniel Johnson | Posted: Nov 23, 2003 3:52 AM ]

One book that probably would interest you is "Shoriki: Miracle Man of Japan," by Edward Uhlan and Dana L. Thomas. This book is a biography of Matsutaro Shoriki, the former owner of the Yomiuri Shimbun and the original owner of the Giants. Shoriki was a man of many interests and accomplishments, so only a portion of the book covers baseball. But it provides some good insights. It was published in 1957 by Exposition Press, Inc. in New York and contains 202 pages. The book is long out of print, and now is somewhat scarce, although still possible to find.
Re: Looking for books on Giants
[ Author: bouton-kun | Posted: Nov 23, 2003 9:34 PM ]

Thanks for the tip, I'll try and get my hands on a copy. Two things have struck me early on while I am starting research on the Giants and their ownership.
  1. Why is Nabetsu consistently called the "owner" of the Giants? His job description is president, CEO, and editor in chief of Yomiuri. Besides that he is president of the Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association, which probably puts him in a good position to discipline any journalist that steps out of line. But all that doesn't necessarily make him the de facto owner of Yomiuri. Does he hold a majority of Yomiuri stock or is he "just" a handsomely paid executive?

  2. Media mogul colleague Robert Murchdoch purchased stock in TV Asahi in 1996. It seems he has been trying to follow in the footsteps of Yomiuri by building a media empire around the troika of TV, newspapers, and sports teams. Murdoch's most famous stakes are in the Dodgers and Man Utd.
Interesting quote about the Yomiuri Shimbun Co., Ltd media conglomerate: member companies (e.g. Giants) are supposed to serve and help it's core business. By diversification (e.g. into sports) news organizations aim to catch consumers' attention and motivate them to start/continue subscribing to a newspaper.

If you take this view, the Giants are a mere marketing tool to sell more papers. You not only report the news. You start making your own. News production so to speak. That might start to explain the acquisition of all the #4 batters, etc. It is not about baseball. It's about producing news for the paper. And of course you want to keep your marketing tool free of dirt and scandals. From a marketing point of view this is perfectly legitimate, but it probably has very little to do with either baseball or news reporting.
Re: Looking for Books on Giants
[ Author: Guest: Jeff Matlock | Posted: Apr 19, 2004 4:56 AM ]

Whiting made the point in "Wa" that there are no "owners" in the American sense in NPB. One person might hold this honorific designation, but all of the teams are simply possessions of conglomerates, no different from their railroads or hotels or newspapers. If they lose money, so what? J.C. Penney used to say that he knew half of his advertising money was wasted, but darned if he could figure out which half.

This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

It is my sincere hope that once you learn a bit about what we're about here that you will join the community of contributors.

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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