How Japan has been cultivating baseball in soccer-crazed Africa for years
is described by The New York Times author Ken Mcguire in a story from Dakar, Senegal,
headlined “Japanese Plant Seeds of Baseball Throughout Africa”. – “Volunteers from a Japanese program similar to the Peace Corps are teaching youth how to pitch, hit and run the bases without passing each other,” writes McGuire. “They have helped create leagues in Burkina Faso and Tanzania, and the Japanese government paid for new fields in Ghana and Uganda. African coaches and top players visit Japan for training. A few Africans have earned spots on teams in Japan’s independent leagues.”
Volunteers are sent around the world by the Japan International Cooperation Agency,
which runs a program similar to the Peace Corps. They say baseball, which is one of Japan’s most-loved sports, is rewarding beyond the field. “Children can learn about team spirit and rules in sports, because there are rules in society,” Megumi Chiba, a JICA volunteer coordinator in Dakar, is quoted as saying. “We can contribute also for their health. Especially in Dakar, schools don’t have sports grounds, so they don’t have a chance to practice sports at school.”
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.