During the occupation of Japan, U.S. officials engaged in cultural diplomacy on a grand scale, encouraging the Japanese public to watch and play baseball, that most American of sports, while prohibiting the martial arts, or Budo, on the grounds that they promoted pre-war militaristic or feudalistic values. The aim, of course, was to engineer a Western-style democratic state.Throughout Japan, the Civil Information and Education (CIE) section sponsored films promoting "democratic" ideals, often through sports, and baseball in particular. Among the stars of these films was Jackie Robinson, who in opening baseball's door to African Americans was thought to embody the integrity of American society. His sporting exploits and triumph over racism were likewise shared in Voice of America broadcasts and in popular print publications, ensuring widespread exposure to the star and his story. The author of this book examines the varied uses of baseball and other sports to influence Japanese culture and forge new bonds with the United States.
Baseball and the Occupation of Japan