Thursday, March 31, 2011

Japanese Baseball - Kawakami

Tetsuharu Kawakami is a former Japanese baseball player who played for the Yomiuri Giants from 1938 to 1958.  He was born in Hitoyoshi in 1920. During World War II, he took a break from baseball to serve in the Imperial Army, but returned to the sport after the war.  Kawakami was also in three movies; in at least one of them he played himself as a baseball player.

Rob of Rob's Japanese Cards has this to say about Kawakami:
Known as the "God of Batting", Kawakami was one of Japan's greatest stars in the 1940s and 1950s and became its greatest all-time manager. As a player, he played first base for the Yomiuri Giants both before and after World War II. He led the league in batting 5 times, in hits 6 times, in RBI 3 times, and HRs twice. He was also a three time MVP and selected for the Best Nine team 10 times. His .313 lifetime batting average ranks 5th on the all-time list. As a manager, Kawakami led the Giants from 1961 to 1974. During this 13 year period, the Giants won 11 Japan Series titles.

These cards seem to be fairly rare.

Here's a picture of Kawakami on a movie poster made by Nikkatsu Corporation in 1957.

Tetsuharu Kawakami monogatari sebangou 16 poster


  1. I always tend to forget that baseball is a big sport in Japan as well. I always thought that was a post-war thing, but it looks as though it pre-dated the war by some time.

  2. On the shoulder of Giants. Yomiuri Giants. Great manager.

  3. Hi Christine ... I love all of the three posts that appear on your screen. This one, is especially neat as baseball season prepares to open.

    Thanks for stopping by to visit today!

    Kathy M.

  4. This was interesting because i just happened to read about another Japanese player who is a BIG DEAL in Japan and who is playing here in SF with the SF to read. (And Christine, thanks for the note).

  5. The Minnesota Twins have a new Japanese player on the team this year.

  6. Interesting the Japanese took such a liking to baseball, I read recently that Cubans are crazy about it too. Great poster, looks like serious melodrama!

  7. Where do you find this stuff, Christine? I don't dabble in foreign cards much, and I never see Japanese postcards. Thanks for sharing!

  8. That postcard is too cool. I didn't even know they existed. I'll have to tweak my antique radar when out looking to not miss any if they ever show up.

  9. Mark,
    I got these from an estate sale. When the boy was a youngster, right after World War II, he had a Japanese pen pal. However, I had no idea when I picked these up that they are rare and relatively expensive.



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