Media Advisory

U.S.-Japan baseball symposium

Contact: Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations
(510) 643-5651

03 December 2008

ATTENTION: Sports, feature and Asian culture reporters, editors


A "U.S.-Japan Baseball Symposium" exploring the history, popularity and importance of baseball in the two countries. The event, organized by the University of California, Berkeley's Center for Japanese Studies, is free and open to the public.

Today, Japanese baseball players are among the world's best, and more than 12 were on teams in the 2008 U.S. World Series playoffs; the first Japanese-American manager recently signed with the Seattle Mariners; and a Japanese style of playing baseball is being incorporated into American practice of the sport.

On Saturday, Dec. 6, experts, including Masanori Murakami (Japan's first Major League player and a San Francisco Giants pitcher from 1964-1966), will discuss the evolution and prospects of baseball in the United States and Japan. There also will be a screening of "The Zen of Bobby V.," a 2008 ESPN documentary about Bobby Valentine, the general manager who led the New York Mets to the World Series in 2000 and is currently the general manager of the Japan's Pacific Coast League's superlative Chiba Lotte Marines and the third-highest-paid baseball general manager in the world.

The film "American Pastime," about baseball in United States internment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II, will be screened on Sunday, Dec. 7.


9 a.m.-12:15 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 6
2-4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 7


The Saturday program will be in the Lipman Room on the 8th floor of Barrows Hall, on campus just northeast of the intersection of Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue.

Sunday's film screening will be at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive Theater at 2575 Bancroft Way.

A map is online at


Jack Sakazaki, president of Japan Sports Marketing and a UC Berkeley alumnus, will lead Saturday's discussion along with:

  • William Kelly, a Yale University professor of Japanese studies and author of "The Hanshin Tigers and Professional Baseball in Modern Japan"

  • Harvard University history professor Andrew Gordon, author of "The Unknown Story of Matsuzaka's Major League Revolution," about Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka

  • Warren Cromartie, a former Yomiuri Giants player and the Most Valuable Player in Japan's Central League, a former U.S. major leaguer and author of "Slugging It Out in Japan"

  • Masanori Murakami, a former San Francisco Giants pitcher and now the director of the All Japan Baseball Foundation


The "American Pastime" screening will include a conversation with Kerry Nakagawa, the film's associate producer and author of "Through a Diamond: 100 Years of Japanese American Baseball."