Oh Sadaharu / Wang Zhenzhi and the Possibility of Chineseness in 1960s Taiwan

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Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 20151:00PM - 3:00PM208N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
M5S 3K7
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Reimagining the Asia Pacific


Beginning in 1965, the Republic of China government in Taiwan began inviting the great Yomiuri Giants first baseman Oh Sadaharu to Taiwan. Oh, whose father was Chinese was presented as Wang Zhenzhi, the (half-) Chinese Superman who triumphed over Japanese discrimination with unbeatable Chinese morality, patriotism and drive. This role of Home Run King Wang was an important part of 1960s culture created by Taiwan’s population of recent mainland emigres, whose public identity was defined by a dual position of privilege and diasporic trauma. At the same time, Taiwanese fans harkened back to the Japanese colonial support of the game of baseball, and thrilled to the home run feats of Oh, who (like so many of them) was born under Japanese rule. For many Taiwanese people who were discontented under one-party nationalist rule, Oh’s rise to fame via the ‘Japanese’ game of baseball stood as proof of the superiority of Japanese culture vis-à-vis an imagined retrograde ‘China.’

Andrew Morris is professor of modern Chinese and Taiwanese history at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He is author of ‘Colonial Project, National Game: A History of Baseball in Taiwan’ (University of California Press, 2010) and Marrow of the Nation: A History of Sport and Physical Culture in Republican China (University of California Press, 2004; and editor of ‘Japanese Taiwan: Colonial Rule and Its Contested Legacy’ (Bloomsbury Publishing, forthcoming).


Rachel Ostep


Andrew Morris
Professor of History, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Main Sponsor

Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies


Asian Institute

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