Let’s Play Two: Baseball in Japan & the U.S.
Wednesday, July 14 at 8:00 p.m. EDT
Online Program Hosted by Japan Society
Baseball—the national pastime of both Japan and the U.S.—will be featured at the Tokyo Summer Games for the first time since 2008. In a lead-up to the 150th anniversary of baseball in Japan, join Japan Society for a discussion about the differences in the game in both countries, the popularity of the sport, experiences playing through the pandemic, and prospects for baseball at the Tokyo Summer Games.
Warren Cromartie was an outfielder and first baseman for the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, earning the 1989 Central League MVP. He also played in MLB with the Montreal Expos and the Kansas City Royals.
Matt Murton was a popular MLB outfielder with the Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s, and Colorado Rockies. During his tenure in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers, he broke the NPB single-season hit record in 2010.
Leon Lee played for 17 years as a professional baseball player: seven years with the St. Louis Cardinals and ten years in Japan with the Lotte Orions, Yokohama Taiyō Whales, and Yakult Swallows. He was a hitting instructor with the Montreal Expos and the Director of Pacific Rim Operations for the Chicago Cubs. In 2003 he became the first African American Manager in Japan (Orix Blue Wave).
His podcast is titled Talking Baseball with Leon Lee, and he is the founder of the organization Dream Alive Vision, which he sees as the ultimate opportunity to create an economic balance in disadvantaged and underserved communities across the United States.
Robert Whiting is a journalist and author who has lived in Tokyo on and off for more than half a century. One of only a few Western writers to have a regular newspaper column in Japanese, he is the author of several highly successful books on Japan, including the best-selling You Gotta Have Wa (on baseball in Japan) and Tokyo Underworld (currently under option to Legendary Global). Topics he has written on include sports, Tokyo nightlife, and crime. His latest work is Tokyo Junkie, a memoir of more than half a century in Tokyo.
Yuriko Gamo Romer, Moderator
Filmmaker Yuriko Gamo Romer directed and produced the only documentary about Keiko Fukuda (1913-2013), the first woman to attain the tenth degree black belt in judo. Mrs. Judo has traveled to more than 25 film festivals internationally and was awarded the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at the 2013 International Festival of Sport Films in Moscow. Currently, Romer is mid-production on Diamond Diplomacy, which tells the 150-year history connecting the U.S. and Japan through the shared national pastime of baseball.
The bilingual Romer was born in Japan and raised in the United States. She holds an MA in documentary filmmaking from Stanford University. She is a National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Scholar and an American Association of Japanese University Women Scholar.
This is a free event that requires advance registration. Suggested donations are welcome to support Japan Society’s innovative programs. Japan Society will host the program online via Zoom. Registrants will receive the viewing link by email in advance of the event. To register, please visit Japan Society’s website.
This program is part of Japan Society’s Passing the Torch series, a celebration of the upcoming Tokyo Summer Games.