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1896 Ichiko vs YCAC games RFI

Discussion in the Pro Yakyu History forum
1896 Ichiko vs YCAC games RFI
Repost (posted initially in Ask the Comish)

I'm currently working on my final thesis project for a M.A. in Liberal Studies at Arizona State University. The product will be a piece of creative fiction about the games listed in the subject. I spent last summer doing intensive study into Japanese History in the Meiji period, so as to capture the right mood. I've also been doing my own research on the topic. (Thank You Dr. Whiting, your stuff has been invaluable).

Since I'm making a piece that is geared for popular consumption, it won't be purely historical. However, I have a strong desire to be as accurate with the history as possible. However, my ability to read Japanese is yet quite poor, and I believed I've exhausted all the English sources. But I am hoping to discover any biographical data on those boys that played those games. With the sources available in English, we only know the names of the coach, the pitcher, and the last names of 8 other players listed on images of 2 score cards.

So, here is the question: Does anyone know if there are sources in Japanese that give more detailed information on the Japanese players (or even the Americans). I'm particularly interested in issues that relate to specific worldviews (since this in an angle I hope to explore in the work as this period was one of intense competition between worldviews / ideologies). I'm also interested in any biographical data about what they did after school. Did they work in government, industry, military, etc.

The writer in me knows that some things just have to be invented to tell a good story directed at a mass audience. But the scholar in me wants to do my best to accurately represent the individuals involved as much as possible.

Is there anyone here who might be able to assist me?
Re: 1896 Ichiko vs YCAC games RFI
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Oct 25, 2013 9:59 PM | YBS Fan ]

To add to or complete the world views of the student body at Ichiko during that time period, I'd strongly recommend reading "Schooldays in Imperial Japan: A Study in the Culture of a Student Elite" by Donald T. Roden, © 1980 by the Regents of the University of California, University of California Press.

Based on the section that covered the games between Ichiko and the Yokohama Athletic Club, details of the games appear to be mainly from the following source:

Dai Ichi Koto Gakko Kishukuryo, ed. Koryoshi. Tokyo: Dai Ichi Koto Gakko Kishukuryo, 1925. Pages 651-679.

Unfortunately, the "Schooldays" book does not go into who played or where they went. It focuses more on what the wins meant for Japanese society and the rise of Ichiko in the view of the public. Here is a partial excerpt from pages 124-125:

[...]Considering the unprecedented nature of the game and the residual cultural biases of many in the settlement, it is not surprising that when the Ichiko players entered the park to begin their pregame warm-ups, they were greeted by jeers and catcalls from the foreign spectators. Undaunted by their uncivil welcome, the First Higher team went on to wallop the Yokohama Athletic Club by a score of 29 to 4; when the latter pleaded for an immediate rematch two weeks later, the students delivered their opponents an equally decisive defeat, 32 to 9. And so the series continued, with eleven more games spaced over a period of eight years. Of these Ichiko emerged victorious in nine games, while losing only two "squeakers" by one- and two-run margins. The total tally over the entire series of 230 runs for First Higher and a paltry 64 for the Americans gave pause as to whose "national game" baseball really was.

The poor showing by the Americans was utterly humiliating, especially since the Yokohama Athletic club recruited additional players from the crews of several United States battleships (including the Detroit, the Kentucky, and the Yorktown) that were periodically moored in the settlement harbor. In contrast, the triumphant showing of a succession of First Higher teams aroused the public spirit. [...]

Thereafter it goes on to talk about the games symbolizing Japan being liberated from "unequal treaties" and leading to the rise of Japanese military power. So there aren't any real details about the game beyond those scores.

This looks like a fantastic project. Creating a story based on some of the scenes of what school life was like during the Meiji period as depicted by "Schooldays" would be entertaining on its own. If you could bring to life one of these games between Ichiko and YAC like Rob Fitts did the game Sawamura struck out Gehringer, Ruth, Gehrig, and Foxx in succession, you've got something. I look forward to what comes out of it.
Re: 1896 Ichiko vs YCAC games RFI
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Oct 26, 2013 1:21 PM | YBS Fan ]

I've found what I think is the 1925 Koryoshi book for sale at a used bookstore here (item number 84797) for just 3,150 yen, slightly burnt and torn. I fear that the best the games are described are with box scores similar to the June 5, 1896 game displayed here.

"Schooldays" describes pages 651-679 as game summaries. So I don't know how detailed the 28 pages out of the 1,477 page book are with regard to the games, such as if they give more detail to the names in the lineups to further research on where the boys went later.
Re: 1896 Ichiko vs YCAC games RFI
[ Author: Guest: Bob Whiting | Posted: Nov 18, 2013 9:33 AM ]

Just noticed this.

Here are the lineups for Game #1, No first names available.

Ichiko/YCAC Lineups Game #1

Ihara SS
Murata 3B
Miyaguchi 1B
Tominaga LF
Aoi P
Fumimo C
Inouye 2B
Kamimura RF
Moriwaki CF

Smith 3B
Ginn RF
Ellis C
Abel SS
Tilden 1B
Schweyer P
Crawford LF
Hunt CF
Lyons 2B

The YCAC is still in operation and here is a link which shows phone number and e-mail.

They have a library and may be able to help you. As you will find from the link on ACAC history, baseball is not even mentioned, €”only cricket. I wonder why.
Re: 1896 Ichiko vs YCAC games RFI
[ Author: Guest: Bob Whiting | Posted: Nov 18, 2013 9:57 AM ]

The notes on pps 274-277 of the trade paperback edition of The Samurai Way of Baseball list the sources in Japanese on Ichiko-YCAC.

There is a biography of the Ichiko manager, Kanae Chuman , which is useful. Kanae Chuman Den by Mutusuo Ki, Tokyo. Baseball Magazine. 1988. Kanae played at Ichiko and then became the team's manager leading up to and including those 1896 games. He also wrote the first book about baseball in Japan, entitled "yakyuu."

I would especially recommend Professor Masaru Ikei's book, Hakkyu Taiheiyo Wataru, Tokyo, Chuko Shinsho 1976, which gives a interesting account of the games and the cultural-social conditions that surrounded them.

The most detail on Ichiko practice comes from the Tobita book mentioned on p. 275 of TSWBB.

If you can afford it, you should take a trip to to Tokyo and spend some time at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. They are loaded with materials on Ichiko and the staff--some of whom speak English--are quite helpful.
Re: 1896 Ichiko vs YCAC games RFI
[ Author: Guest: Bob Whiting | Posted: Nov 18, 2013 10:10 AM ]

Or you could email them and see what they say.

Shinichi Hirose, the president of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

His e-mail address is: hirose atMark
His telephone # is 81-3-3811-3600
His fax is 81-3-3811-5369

If he is not available ask for Mr. Suzuki or a Ms. Atarishi (if she has not yet retired).

These people speak English to some degree and are quite friendly and helpful.
Re: 1896 Ichiko vs YCAC games RFI
[ Author: Krutoymush | Posted: Nov 21, 2013 7:06 PM | HIR Fan ]

Thank you all for the excellent recommendations. In fact, in the case of the material referenced in English, I have already obtained and read these. Thank you for the links to books in Japanese. Perhaps someday, when my Japanese is better, I'll be able to utilize those.

I did also contact the Tokyo Baseball Hall of Fame. A kind person there said they would forward my email to an appropriate party, but I never received further word. I may try to contact them again.

I think for my purposes (a screenplay), I actually have more than I need. I've really been wrapped around the axel, worried about misrepresenting due to ignorance any of the players in my fictional retelling. It's been really hard to shift my mentality to the kind of 'creativity' that fiction requires, as I've been so used to doing factual research for the last 6 years. Actually, I think I have enough material to tell 4 or 5 film length stories, or a miniseries. Schooldays in Imperial Japan is an excellent and insightful book. It depicts many fascinating events that took place at Ichiko in the Meiji period.

I was happy to discover (and just a bit sad that I was not first to the punch) that there is already a fiction book for young adults that covers the Ichiko v YCAC games called Samurai Shortstop by Alan M. Gratz.

I guess what I was hoping to discover was any specific biographical details about the actual players whose names we see on the 2 (as far as I can tell) extant copies of scorecards (for games 1 and 2). Maybe I'm worrying too much about factual details for a fictional story, but I didn't want to represent a particular character as opulist Buddhist, Shinto Nativist, Spencer fan, Fukuzawa folower Nietzsche nut, Christian spiritualist, Christian nationalist, Modern materialist, if in fact there was biographical material that would have directly contradicted this. My goal is to subtly, and without boring a potential audience, reflect the dizzying worldviews that were striving for attention in Japan during this period. Of course I'm trying to highlight the pitfalls of the Social Darwinism of Spencer, which was falling out of favor with the government elites at that time, yet still seems to have been prominent in the thinking at Ichiko (Coach Chuuma in particular), and to link that to the emerging Japanese nationalism in this period between the two wars with China.

I finally just had to give myself license to lie (the essence of fiction). It looks like my protagonist will be the son of a diplomat, who recently returned from a few years in America. Odds are, there was no such player on the team, but for the purposes of introducing conflict in a morality tale based on this historical event, it serves some purposes.

It makes me feel like I never want to write historical fiction again. It just drives me nuts to think that I must make guesses about details in history in order to tell a good story. I've often complained about how other films based on history have played very loose with the facts. In my case, I feel pretty confident though, that I've done my best to discover anything that would contradict any of the details I'm contriving.

Thanks again for the assistance.

And I want to kick myself, because I was near Tokyo for a year (a year ago)...and didn't know, or think to inquire about a Baseball Hall of Fame museum.

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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