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

By Robert K. Fitts | Go to book overview

19

North of Tokyo on the Ryomo Plain, fifty thousand soldiers congregated on November 10 for the Grand Army Maneuvers. The emperor himself would observe and critique the war game. The Grand Army Maneuvers took place each year, but in 1934 the scale of the war game and its timing—just as the American-British- Japanese naval talks were failing—made a statement that was not lost on diplomats and newspaper correspondents. The battle scenario at least was not objectionable to the American and British foreign offices. Rather than training offensive tactics, the troops practiced repelling an invasion. The Western Army, commanded by the Young Officers’ hero, Gen. Sadao Araki, was charged with fighting off the Eastern Army, which began the maneuvers near Japan’s eastern coast. The games lasted three days and besides the fifty thousand troops involved one hundred airplanes, squads of tanks, armored cars, and nine thousand cavalry. Hirohito, mounted on his white horse Shirayuki, scrutinized the action on the front lines and inspected the generals’ battle plans. The event ended with a grand review, as the troops marched past the emperor and hundreds of thousands of spectators on the morning of Tuesday, November 13.1

With so many units in close proximity the Grand Maneuvers allowed the Young Officers to meet. They must have discussed the current political situation, as soon after returning from the Ryomo Plain, twenty to thirty of the Young Officers who supported Mitsugi Nishida’s plans for a Showa Restoration met at a Tokyo restaurant. Koji Muranaka addressed the group. The time was ripe for another coup attempt. He had been laying the groundwork and was ready to put his plan into action. On November 27 Japan’s parliament, known as the Imperial Diet, would meet in a special session. Once the politicians

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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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