Tag Archives: Aaron Judge

“Real records” talk mocks the truth

On Tuesday, Japan’s media said Munetaka Murakami’s 52nd home run tied him for second most in the race for the “record” by a Japanese person, which it isn’t. In the U.S., MLB network broadcast a panel discussing MLB’s “real home run records” and not Barry Bonds’ 73 home run season like MAGA Republicans discussing the 2020 presidential election Donald Trump lost.

In both cases, the answer is probably not outright racism or identity politics, but the need to promote already deserving story lines to make an even bigger splash, because reality and truth never seems enough anymore.

So, if there is no “record” within reach, why not manipulate the list of individual accomplishments by excluding some or adding others to make it a better story?

In Murakami’s case, Japan does both with ambiguous language to define players. Japan is secretive about its players’ citizenship, which it should be, because many players are Korean nationals, or have Korean heritage since Koreans are routinely discriminated against here.

The expression “Japanese player” tells us only that an athlete turned pro out of Japanese amateur ball, regardless of citizenship, or is a Japanese citizen.

This makes non-Japanese such as Taiwan’s Sadaharu Oh or the late Chen Ta-feng – known in Japan as Yasuaki Taiho – and longtime former Fighters and Giants outfielder Yang Dai-kang, and former Tigers outfielder Lin Wei-chu, “Japanese players” not because of citizenship or birthplace – although Oh was born in Japan – but because they played amateur ball here before turning pro.

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