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Book Briefs: The Chrysanthemum and the Bat

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Book Briefs: The Chrysanthemum and the Bat

by Business Week (Sep 12, 1977)

Digitized by Jessica Suchman and Catherine Nissley.

If you are somewhat amazed at how the Japanese tailored the Protestant ethic to their own needs, then engineered a very creditable effort to clobber the U.S. in the marketplace, stand by for more. Along the way, they took up baseball and, as in the way they do business, they have changed the game a bit to fit their customs. It's considered impolite to spit, or even to slide hard into second base. Arguing with the decision of someone as exalted as an umpire is also taboo. Managers are never fired, but go away for a few days to a temple to contemplate why things went wrong.

Indeed, Japan's version of America's grand old game is probably the clearest expression yet of the differences of our two cultures and is must reading for any businessman seeking a better understanding of the Japanese, providing he has even a rudimentary understanding of the game of baseball. As interpreter, Robert Whiting does an admirable job of flushing out the subtle differences the Japanese have made in the game, and giving us the rationale behind their approach. The Chrysanthemum and the Bat is sprinkled liberally with tales of heroes past and present – some astounding, other laughable, and a few bordering on the absurd, depending on how seriously you view the game. All offer some invaluable insights into a fascinating culture that often baffles the West.

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