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Chrysanthemum and the Bat Review

Robert Whiting's Homepage at

Chrysanthemum and the Bat Review

by Kirkus Reviews (Aug 15, 1977)

Digitized by Jessica Suchman and Catherine Nissley.

A report on the alien world of Japanese baseball, played according to American ground rules (mostly) and Japanese cultural standards, where the team functions as a family, training is murderous, ballplayers are polite, managers take blame for their losses, and five national sports sheets report every play, weigh every decision, rank every performance (best player and "fighting spirit" awards are meted out daily). With a sociological gloss, Whiting chronicles a day in the life of the average fan; sketches the careers of outstanding players, pays tribute to the long-invincible Yomiuri (Tokyo) Giants. (When the Giants finally lost the pennant in 1974, The Japan Stock Journal speculated: "Does the decline and fall of the Giants have anything to do with the present state of the economy?") He also records the Japanese experience – mostly bad – with imported American players along with their passion to meet the top US team in a "real world series," temporarily squelched by the Baltimore Orioles 1971 root of the unwary Giants: Oriole shokku. A new angle on baseball and a fresh, breezy approach to the baffling Japanese.

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