Japan Adopts Besuboru
Japan’s enthusiastic embrace of baseball began in the 1870s when visiting American university instructors promoted the game. Like the United States, the country regards besuboru as its national sport, and play between American servicemen and Japanese civilians following World War II went a long way in repairing relations. Fans also took to collecting baseball cards, and these from 1992 feature Shinji Hata (Yakult Swallows, Central League) and Osamu Abe (Seibu Lions, Pacific League), who both enjoyed long careers in the Japanese major leagues. Also featured are pitcher Kenji Nagami (Seibu Lions, Pacific League) and outfielder Kenichi Yamazaki (Yokohama Taiyo Whales, Central League). That year, the Lions went on to win the Japan Series—the Nippon Professional Baseball championship—for the third straight year.