This research essay looks at Japanese baseball players who embodied samurai qualities while playing in the United States. Specifically, it looks at how Masanori Murakami in 1965-1966, Hideo Nomo in 1994, and Hideki Irabu from 1997-1999 embodied samurai qualities of courage, loyalty, and honor. While playing for the San Francisco Giants, Murakami demonstrated he had to courage to prevail over the turmoil of leaving his native land, Japan, while still managing to have a successful season while pitching for the Giants. Similarly, Hideo Nomo showed courage by leaving Japan to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers while experiencing great success as a pitcher, earning the National League Rookie of the Year Award. His success on the field exemplified his loyalty to the Dodgers and honor to Japan by being their baseball ambassador in the U.S. Lastly, Hideki Irabu, who played for the New York Yankees, did not have the same success as his predecessors due to his temper and ill-behavior that negatively impacted his career. However, his recent suicide in 2011 showed samurai-like honor he embodied to acknowledge the death of his former owner of the Yankees, George Steinbrenner, due to the fact he always supported Irabu. Analysis of these players came from a variety of newspaper articles to show how they embodied these samurai qualities. The larger points of this research shows evidence that these players are differing away from traditional Japanese values of conformity and instead are adopting American values of individuality.
McLain, John W., "Samurai Baseball: A History of the Japanese Players in the American Major League Baseball" (2015). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 6935.
samurai, baseball, bushido, samurai qualities, baseball players
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 2015 John W. McLain