Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage, & Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan

By Robert K. Fitts | Go to book overview

1

Matsutaro Shoriki sorted through the papers on his desk, trying to finish his work before his next appointment. The third-largest newspaper in Japan generated a lot of paperwork, but that was a blessing in disguise. It had not always been that way. There were fewer papers five years earlier when Shoriki bought the struggling Yomiuri Shimbun in 1924. Even though he had no previous experience in the news or publishing industry, Shoriki was confident he could turn the company around. Once he focused on a task, he rarely failed. For example, he had become a judo master, Third Dan, by the time he had graduated Tokyo Imperial University—an accomplishment that required many years of dedication for most men. That particular skill had been useful in his previous career as a police inspector; it may have saved his life during the suffrage riots. In February 1920 nearly one hundred thousand protesters had snaked through Tokyo to the home of Prime Minister Kei Hara to demand his resignation. As they reached the minister’s compound, a stocky figure blocked the small gate. Shoriki spread his arms wide, demanding that the crowd disperse. An agitator rushed forward. Seconds later, Shoriki had the attacker immobilized and arrested. The police inspector then scanned the crowd, spotted its organizer, plunged into the mob, and emerged with his target in an arm hold. After the arrest, the leaderless mob melted away.1

Shoriki had enjoyed his time as a policeman. His daring was celebrated within the department, but he usually relied on guile rather than physical force. Twice he quelled riots by withdrawing his officers and appealing to the crowds’ leaders to respect decency. Shoriki rose through the ranks and, at thirty-six years old, became the director of

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Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage, & Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Recurring Japanese Characters ix
  • Prologue xiii
  • Part 1 - "When I Say I’Ll Do Something, I Bet My Life on It." 1
  • 1 3
  • 2 12
  • 3 22
  • 4 31
  • 5 34
  • 6 39
  • 7 43
  • 8 55
  • 9 65
  • Part 2 - "Babe Ruth… Is a Great Deal More Effective Ambassador Than I Could Ever Be." 83
  • 10 85
  • 11 88
  • 12 98
  • 13 104
  • 14 113
  • 15 120
  • 16 131
  • 17 137
  • 18 142
  • Part 3 - "The Japanese Are Equal to the Americans in Strength of Spirit." 179
  • 19 181
  • 20 183
  • 21 196
  • 22 198
  • 23 208
  • 24 210
  • Part 4 - "There Will Be No War between the United States and Japan." 219
  • 25 221
  • 26 229
  • 27 234
  • 28 240
  • 29 249
  • Part 5 - "To Hell with Babe Ruth!" 259
  • 30 261
  • 31 266
  • 32 271
  • 33 281
  • 34 284
  • 35 293
  • Appendix 1- The All American Touring Party 299
  • Appendix 2- Tour Batting and Pitching Statistics 301
  • Appendix 3- Tour Game Line Scores 303
  • Acknowledgments 307
  • Notes 311
  • Bibliography 325
  • Index 335
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