Alex's Reviews > You Gotta Have Wa

You Gotta Have Wa by Robert Whiting
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M 50x66
's review
Apr 25, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Recommended to Alex by: Jon Parise

** spoiler alert ** This book surprised me in a good way. Recommended to me, a baseball fan of only about two years, by a good friend who loves baseball and has been following it for most of his life, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get as much out of the book as he did. That being said, I am extremely glad I've read this book. In fact, now that I am writing this review, I am changing my rating from 4 stars to 5 stars because I recall the strong emotions (shock, anger, intrigue and more) this book made me feel at different times. That is the mark of a good book as far as I am concerned.

This book should not be treated as a book about baseball so much as a book about Japanese culture and the way Japanese cultural values affect the way they play the game.

Group conformity and emotion take precedence over personal needs. The player who asks for more money or less practice is accused of disturbing the team's 'wa', or unity. Rules are upheld subjectively based on an umpire's sense of fairness (targeted mainly towards former MLB players) and victory may not always be identified by a win, but instead by a tie or, in some odd cases, a loss.

Most teams are treated more like a military group or dojo. Team managers go as far as calling their methodology "death training". Players are not allowed to miss games for important family events, whether celebration or tragedy.

This is a great book that anyone can enjoy. The medium of baseball is an excellent way to add entertainment into a book containing material that could easily be found in a college foreign studies course. I encourage anyone interested in Japanese culture to read this book as it provides a fairly well rounded view of Japanese society. It may surprise you just how different another group's values can be from your own.
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Reading Progress

April 23, 2010 – Started Reading
April 25, 2010 – Shelved
April 25, 2010 –
page 230
April 29, 2010 – Finished Reading
May 3, 2010 – Shelved as: non-fiction

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