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Japanese Baseball: When You Come to the Fork in the Road, Take It – NCTA online program

Educators joined Paul Dunscomb, Professor of East Asian history at the University of Alaska Anchorage, for an online program about the fascinating history and impact of baseball in Heisei Japan. Participants received a free copy of Professor Dunscomb’s book on the subject after the program.

The crisis in Japanese professional baseball of 2004 tells us much about the nature of change in Heisei Japan (1989-2019). After all, one cannot have an existential crisis involving the national sport without at least some angst being generated about the state of the nation. The story of the crisis shows us the state of the Japanese psyche as the Lost Decade (1992-2004) was ending. It also tells us something about the curious resilience of Heisei Japan. It challenges the basic narrative of decline which dominates discourse on the period. Professional baseball, achieving its basic form at the same time as Japan’s postwar political economy, shared many characteristics with it, including systemic inefficiencies which post bubble Japan could no longer sustain. The way the crisis unfolded and the cast of characters who appeared during it (including team owners, players, IT entrepreneurs, and ordinary fans) tells us much about the push and pull of continuity and change over the period.

Dates and Times

Tuesday, March 12th, 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM.

This program took place on Zoom.

Program Benefits

  • 2 free WA OSPI Clock Hours.
  • A free book authored by the program leader.
  • Online resources.

This program was sponsored by the East Asia Resource Center at the University of Washington and funded by a Freeman Foundation grant in support of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA).