The Transpacific Exchange of the Game


Baseball in the United States and yakyu in Japan exist, and in fact prosper, as a result of the emergence of transpacific systems of exchange between the two countries over the past 150 years. This exhibit will explore the wide-ranging exchange of baseball between Japan and the United States from the Meiji era to today and the transpacific circulation of baseball concepts, styles of play, fan experiences, equipment, and people that shaped the shared culture of the game. 




Yakyu: the Japanese name for baseball

With an interpretive approach that balances the U.S. and Japan's contributions to the exchange of baseball - coinciding with Ichiro's first year of eligibility for election into the Hall of Fame - the Museum's first transpacific exhibition will appeal to international and domestic audiences.  

Exhibit theme graphic

Located on the Museum’s third floor, the exhibit will cover more than 1,800 square feet of space and feature four aspects of transpacific baseball:

  • Japanese teams touring America, including the first such tour by the Waseda University team in 1905
  • American teams touring Japan, including the first trip in 1907 and the massively popular tour featuring Babe Ruth in 1934
  • Players born in the United States playing in Japan, including Larry Doby, Warren Cromartie, Randy Bass and many more
  • Players born in Japan playing in the United States, starting with MLB pioneer Masanori Murakami in 1964 and followed by Hideo Nomo in 1995 and the stars that followed

It is hard to imagine Major League Baseball without superstar Japanese players.


Masanori Murakami (1964-1965) and Hideo Nomo (1995-2005, 2008) opened the door for heroes like Ichiro Suzuki (2001-2019), Hideki Matsui (2003-2012) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (2007-2014) - a trend that continues with today's stars like Yu Darvish (2012-present) and Shohei Ohtani (2018-present).


Many American players and managers have gone to Nippon Professional Baseball and made a significant impact on the game in Japan.

Some of the most succesful include Randy Bass, Warren Cromartie, Matt Murton and Bobby Valentine. 

The exhibit will coincide with Ichiro Suzuki's first year of eligibilty for election into the Hall of Fame in 2025.



Known simply as Ichiro by baseball fans around the world, his induction would be a first for a Japanese player.



Photo taken during the press conference at the US Ambassador's residence in Tokyo announcing the Yaku | Baseball exhibit. From left to right: Hall of Fame president Josh Rawitch, Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, Masanori Murakami and Warren Cromartie

The press conference at the US Ambassador's residence in Tokyo announcing the Yakyu | Baseball exhibit. From left to right: Hall of Fame president Josh Rawitch, Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, Masanori Murakami and Warren Cromartie. (courtesy of US Embassy)

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From L to R: Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch, Roy White and Hideki Matsui at the Exhibit Announcement at Yankee Stadium

The press conference at Yankee Stadium announcing the Yakyu | Baseball exhibit. From L to R: Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch, Roy White and Hideki Matsui. (Arielle Goldman-Hecht/New York Yankees)




In addition to our talented curatorial team, we have enlisted exhibit ambassadors and curatorial consultants with expertise on baseball in Japan. 




  • Rob Fitts, Historian and Author
  • Brad Lefton, Journalist




  • Scott Akasaki, Senior Director, Team Travel, Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Makoto Hayashi, Director, Pacific Rim Operations, Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Adam Jones, Former outfielder, Baltimore Orioles, Orix Buffaloes, Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks 

  • Acey Kohrogi, Director, Pacific Rim Operations, San Diego Padres

  • Torey Lovullo, Manager, Arizona Diamondbacks and former Yakult Swallows player 



  • Grace McNamee, Manager, Communications, Los Angeles Angels

  • Matt Murton, Former Outfielder, Hanshin Tigers, Oakland A’s, Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies

  • Don Nomura, Sports Agent

  • Sadayuki Sakakibara, Commissioner, Nippon Professional Baseball 

  • Taka Shirai, Executive Director, Matsui 55 Baseball Foundation & President, Leadoff Sports

  • Masanobu Shoji, President, Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

  • Jim Small, President, World Baseball Classic

  • Bobby Valentine, Former Manager, Chiba Lotte Marines, Texas Rangers, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox

  • Paul Yonamine, Chairman of the Board, Central Pacific Bank


You can support this groundbreaking exhibit with a contribution today. 

For more information on sponsorship opportunities contact:

Ken Meifert, Vice President Sponsorship and Development




We need your help

Maintaining  a robust exhibit program requires not only the funding to build and install new exhibits like Yakyu | Baseball, but the resources to retain a team of talented professionals including curators, researchers, designers, fabricators, collections staff and archivists capable of telling a complex tale through the priceless artifacts in our collections.

The Museum’s exhibits bring baseball history to life. For more than 250,000 visitors a year, the exhibits weave together legendary accomplishments, famous characters and cultural impact in a narrative that is uniquely baseball’s.


far away


under the skies of America


they began




I could watch it forever


Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902)