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Hidden Wonders

[Hidden Wonders of Japan] Where Baseball Began in the Land of Samurai

Only a minute's walk from Jinbocho Station in Tokyo is a monument of a catcher's hand, commemorating the start of baseball in Japan.



A monument to the birthplace of baseball in Japan, located in front of Gakushikaikan, an alumni club of the former Imperial Universities. Taken on February 24.(© Sankei by Ko Notomi)

I was walking in front of Gakushikaikan in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward when I noticed someone's right hand poised to throw a ball at me. Instinctively, I braced myself. However, upon closer inspection, I discovered that this "hand" was made of bronze, stood about 2 m (6.6 ft) tall, and held an enormous baseball.

The massive baseball is also a globe. (© Sankei by Ko Notomi)

The monument was erected in 2003 to commemorate Horace Wilson's induction into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame. Wilson was an American teacher who introduced baseball to Japan in 1872. Because the sculpture represents the "birthplace" of Japanese baseball, many baseball players come here to take photos.

I also found out that the statue depicts the moment of catching, not pitching. It signifies that Japan has indeed received the sport of baseball from the United States. As if to reiterate this point, the ball is also a globe, with a seam connecting the two countries. 

The bronze hand and baseball are meticulously designed. (© Sankei by Ko Notomi)


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: Ko Notomi