Nikkei Baseball: Japanese American Players from Immigration and Internment to the Major Leagues

Dr. Samuel O. Regalado
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Regalado, author of Viva Baseball! For directions and parking information, contact Tomas Benitez by phone at For more information, visit www. I recently had the good fortune of presenting at a Buddhist conference comprised on both scholars and practitioners. The Densho Project archive of internment materials. Newer Posts Older Posts Home. Teams offer English instruction for Asian players with the Spanish players, but as mentioned, many of the Asian players at first think Spanish is English and sometimes even end up picking up more Spanish than English.

Private tutoring for the Asian players may be helpful in the beginning and an easier way for the players to learn English. Recently, MLB has required all 30 clubs have a full time Spanish translator who can represent the front office in all means of communication, media, interpretation, and much more.

Just as Spanish speaking players, when an Asian player joins a club, it is obligated that the club finds an interpreter for the player. This is to break down the language barrier between the player and his teammates and coaches along with being able to speak during media obligations.

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All Asian players who sign a deal with a MLB club has always had an interpreter be a part of their negotiation and requirement in their contract. For many clubs who have more than one Asian player, each player has his own interpreter. For example, the Yankees had an interpreter for each Japanese player they had on their team. For an Asian player, the interpreter has a very important role and unless the Asian player speaks fluent English, the player has no choice, but to fully rely on their interpreter to communicate with his coaches, teammates, and the media.

However, merely having an interpreter who is fluently bilingual does not solve all communication problems. Baseball language can be translated only so far that the interpreter plays a key role when it comes to team chemistry, culture, and communication M. Kim, personal communication, March 4, It is difficult to tell whether or not what a coach or player means is fully communicated and interpreted if an interpreter is only interpreting the conversation word for word.

The interpreter is expected to be able to translate for the player in all situations, whether it is during practice, on the field, during an injury, with management, and in contracts. An interpreter must make sure that the coaches and media understand what the player is really trying to communicate. Having an interpreter that understands baseball culture prevents missed opportunities to have deep conversations and misunderstandings H.

Having the interpreter being the only Asian person on the team may not always be helpful. Recently, MLB has formed a new diversity pipeline program to increase the pool of minority and female candidates in the front office for on-field and baseball operations The program is hoped to identify candidates and bring in qualified minorities and females on a team-by-team level for internship and entry-level jobs Singer, Conclusion The history of baseball has expanded from being the All-American sport to being an international sport as more international players have been crossing borders to play in the biggest league in the world.

When Asian players come to play in the MLB, there are opportunities for the club and the players. Players may receive a higher salary compensation compared to what they may receive in the KBO or NPB and a chance to play internationally.

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The number of Asian players in the MLB has increased and it has become more common for players who have played professionally to be signed as free agents. As more Asian players come over, the struggles, the success, and the opportunities they provide for the club become of interest to the club.

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Asian players have provided marketing and sponsorship opportunities for the club with international brand recognition for the club and for its local sponsors. It has provided the club with opportunities to partner with international companies and expand to reaching local and overseas Asian communities. Despite the success of some Asian players in the past and in the present, Asian players still face cultural challenges. An interpreter solves some of these challenges, but at the same time, these challenges are the reasons some of these Asian players are unsuccessful.

Clubs must be aware of these cultural differences and realize that they are also responsible for helping the player overcome these challenges. The changes in diversity at the player level have provided opportunities for diversity in baseball culture. However, it is a slow and progressive change, but with the awareness and increase of Asian players and some of the recent changes in regards to Hispanic players, there may be more opportunities in the future where Asian players can transition more smoothly in playing in Major League Baseball.

A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, 18, Baltimore Orioles. July 20, March 18, Baltimore Sun. January 8, Posting System. History of Baseball in Asia.

Nikkei Baseball: Japanese American Players from Immigration and Internment to the Major Leagues

Baseball- Reference. Ichiro Suzuki Biography. March 21, Sports n Earth. How Global is U. Major League Baseball? A historical and geographic perspective. GeoJournal, 77, Crasnick, J. January 12, MLB teams must hire full-time Spanish translators for June 26, Civil Beat. February 19, Asian Pitchers must adjust to Classic balls. What We Do. Global Sporting Integration.

Refine your editions: Nikkei Baseball: Japanese American Players from Immigration and Internment to the Major Leagues (): Samuel O. Regalado. Nikkei Baseball: Japanese American Players from Immigration and Internment to the Major Leagues. SAMUEL O. REGALADO. Copyright Date: Published.

Choi, personal communication, March 13, H. Lee, personal communication, February 26, Jang, H. Asian Economic Policy Review. Duru, personal communication, February 10, Joshi, S. July 3, Translators Vital for Many Foreign Players. March 25, Huffington Post.

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May 14, April 1, April 6, April 7, April 4, Opening Day rosters feature players born outside the U. April 5, Opening Day rosters feature 24 players born outside of the U. Kim, personal communication, February 9, M. Kim, personal communication, March 4, M. Snyder, personal communication February 11, MLB. December 16, March 12, Star Tribune. September 18, Harvard Business School. Penman, T. January 19, Bleacher Report. University of Nebraska Press. Regalado, S. University of Illinois Press. April 2, Dodgers Nation. April 18, January 26, February 28, International Review for the Sociology of Sport.

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January 27, January 13, For Help on Camera and Off, M. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. Stay up to date on Densho News. Densho Blog. April 5, One Comment photo essay , popular culture. One person who took great interest in Japanese American baseball players was Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers. None made the team.

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Please re-enter recipient e-mail address es. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Email required Address never made public. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Baseball may be the same sport played internationally, but there are cultural differences among the countries baseball is played in.

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