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Sport of the Empire and Colonial Modernity: Taiwan Baseball During Japanese Occupation
The development of Taiwan Baseball in Taiwan during the Japanese occupation was to establish political relations between the central Japan and the marginal Taiwan within the colonial empire, and simultaneously, to establish administrative structures which infiltrates to the roots in the island to promote baseball. On this basis, the competitive and cooperative norms of baseball have made the three ethnic groups among the colonies the same tune. By competing and cooperating with each other, different baseball teams in Taiwan finally see this island as a whole, and finally to unite as a whole to win the Koshien High School Summer Baseball Tournament held in Osaka, Japan. The “tri-racial harmony” shows the progress of civilization and the loyalty to the home country in colonial Taiwan, which also shows the meaning of baseball as the “sports of the empire” in the context of assimilation policies in the 1920s. The purposes of baseball is to pursuit good health, encourage competition and emphasis on moderation, unity, cooperation, and sacrifice, of which the value of the concrete foundation of modern society. In this context of political and social movements, baseball is the way Taiwan proves itself does not fall in the Japan, or even a means of gaining the upper hand in the world. Moreover, baseball is the stand point for Taiwan to criticize the unfair allocation of sports resources against its colonists. To the players’ community, the values of baseball are not necessarily the same. Some struggle between simulative pleasure and performance anxiety, while others seek social entertainment rather than losses and gains. The socio-material phenomenon and consumer culture of baseball have great influence on the identity of players community. To the fans, on the other hand, the value might be to enjoy the passion, or to expect one becomes the baseball star. This is part of popular culture. However, baseball in Taiwan shows the social hierarchy during the Japanese occupation. For example, the authority and arbiter of baseball, such as referees and coaches, are mostly Japanese. The gap between resource allocations exists. Even the ability to purchase baseball game tickets, bats and groves roughly differs between a Japanese and Taiwanese. Although Taiwanese are encouraged in strive victories in baseball, when facing the colonists, they feel self-contradictory. Thus, embodied in modern baseball value, the background can not be divorced from the colonial context, and the colonial relationship exists within.
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