You Gotta Have Wa

Front Cover
Vintage Departures, 2009 - Business & Economics - 372 pages
6 Reviews
A hilarious, informative, and riveting account of Japanese baseball and the cultural clashes that ensued when Americans began playing there professionally.

In Japan, baseball is a way of life. It is a philosophy. It is besuboru. Its most important element is wa—group harmony—embodied in the proverb "The nail that sticks up shall be hammered down." In this witty and incisive book, Robert Whiting gives us a close-up look at besuboru's teams, obsessive ritualism, and history, as seen through the eyes of American players who found the Japanese approach—rigorous pregame practices, the tolerance for tie games, injured pitchers encouraged to “pitch through the pain”—completely baffling. With vivid accounts of East meeting West, involving Babe Ruth, Ichiro Suzuki, Bobby Valentine, Japanese home run king Sadaharu Oh, and many others, this lively and completely unique book is an utter gem and baseball classic.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lukespapa - LibraryThing

What better way to celebrate the Fall Classic than reading a baseball book. Though written two decades ago, Whiting gives us a peak into besuboru, or, Japanese baseball. One would think that the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DavenportsDream - LibraryThing

An interesting take on the cultural differences between Japan and the United States as told through baseball. Whiting's book only goes up through the late 80's so it misses a large amount of the ... Read full review


Introduction Hill
Foreign Devils
A History

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About the author (2009)

Robert Whiting is the author of You Gotta Have Wa and is one of the very few Westerners to write a regular column in the Japanese press. He has appeared as a commentator in documentaries about Japan and on such shows as Larry King Live and The MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour. He has also written for The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, and Time, among other publications. He lives in Tokyo.

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