Sport culture in Japan and the challenge of global processes : the specific case of Japanese baseball and labour migration
This thesis concerns itself with how sport culture in Japan - especially, baseball - has been transformed under the influence of globalisation. Globalisation, defined as the `borderless' world, is a key term in describing the state of affairs in the contemporary world. In sporting world, globalisation embodied itself in the forms of international (or transcontinental) labour migration, international sporting contests. Globalisation has tended to be analysed from a Western point of view because of Western domination in political and economic affairs as well as cultural ones for the past few centuries. This thesis tries to undertake the research of globalisation also from a non-Western point of view. There are many forms of global processes at work and globalisation has been conceptualised from various angles. After reviewing different approaches to the concept of globalisation, attention is shifted to the formation and the growth of sport culture in Japan in connection with globalisation. Modern sport culture was quite foreign in Japan before 1868, but with the Western influences dominant after 1868, Japan grew to be one of today's sporting powers. The growth of sport culture in Japan had marked characteristics according to social changes, which was reflected mainly in the form of Japaneseness and Westerness. This thesis classifies these social changes into four historical periods - the pre-modern (before 1868), the modern (1868-1945), the modern (1945-1990), and the post-modern (after 1990) - and explores sport culture in Japan in this historical framework. Subsequently, this thesis directs its attention specifically to Japanese baseball and traces the way in which the Japanese game grew in the face of American influences, specifically labour migration from America. Baseball, as the `national' sport in Japan, has been taken as an epitome of Japaneseness (observable in specific individual styles of play and attitudes to the game) since its inception. The tensions of between Japaneseness and American influences are fully discussed as an aspect of global processes. This thesis also assesses the significance of the immigration of Japanese players to American baseball especially from the 1990s on, more complex nature of labour migration in baseball Japanese baseball and the accompanying fall in the popularity of Japanese baseball. Finally, looking to the future, this thesis discusses possible trends to come. This thesis embodies original data collected from past American (and some other foreign) players, baseball journalists, and from documentary sources. Original translations from Japanese into English have been made to make it possible to use Japanese publications.