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This page contains materials relating to my chapter “The Pathos of the Soldier-Athlete in Japanese Memories of the Asia-Pacific War” in Sport and the Pursuit of War and Peace from the Nineteenth Century to the Present: War Minus the Shooting? edited by Martin Hurcombe and Philip Dine. The chapter is open access.

Open Access PDF

The article discusses the cinematic stories of four real and two fictionalized soldier-athletes. Relevant online materials are below. In a nutshell, the chapter argues that the trope of soldier-athlete is often used as a device in war cinema to elicit audience empathy for the soldier’s victimhood in war. The reality of what soldier-athletes did during the Asia-Pacific War is a little more complicated …

Histories of Japanese Sport

For the history of modern sports in Japan see these pages. OlympicsFootball, Baseball, Rugby

Sawamura Eiji (d. 1944)

Japan Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Sawamura Award

Article by Rob Fitts: “Babe Ruth and Eiji Sawamura”

A YouTube documentary about Sawamura’s legendary performance against the 1934 touring American major leaguers.

An NHK Documentary (excerpts) featuring archive footage of Sawamura’s pitching and interviews with his daughter. Watch on YouTube:

Matsunaga Akira (d. 1942)

Japan Football Museum, and the official page of the 1936 Berlin Olympics

NHK’s Special 「戦争と“幻のオリンピック” アスリ―ト 知られざる闘い」can be watched here.

Article by E. Taylor Atkins: “Enemy soldiers” and “ball mates”

Baron Nishi Takeichi (d. 1945) and the film Letters from Iwojima

Scene from Letters from Iwojima in which Baron Nishi talks about the Olympics

Ishimaru Shinichi (d. 1945) and the film Ningen no Tsubasa

A review of Ningen no Tsubasa on the website Kamikaze Images.

The film Sea Without Exit

The Kaiten Memorial Museum, Shunan city, Yamaguchi prefecture Trailer for the film Deguchi no nai umi

Trailer for the film Deguchi no nai umi (Sea Without Exit)

The film Kike Wadatsumi no Koe Last Friends

The Wadatsumi no Koe Memorial Museum (just by the University of Tokyo).

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