Monday, September 19, 2011

Masaichi Kaneda Speaks

The main man Matt was about to beg, so I'll intervene and translate a bit of the article about legendary Korean-Japanese pitcher Masaichi Kaneda/Kim Kyeong-hong he posts below. The article is basically the War and Peace of baseball blog articles. It's written by baseball writer Park Dong-hui, who writes very informative pieces. I'll try to sum up the important and interesting parts of the article and the following interview.

Kaneda is 78 now and long retired. His career spanned from 1950 to 1969. He was with the Kokutetsu Swallows (Now Yakult Swallows) until 64, then pitched the remainder of his career in Tokyo with the Yomiuri Giants.

The slight lefty owns a career win-loss of 400 to 298, a career ERA of 2.34, 4,490 strikeouts, 1.07 career WHIP, and a perfect game. He is third in all time wins in Japan-ball, 3rd in ERA, 10th in K's, and he was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988. It's some pretty intense stuff.

Interview (Summary):

They greet and Kaneda (Kim) thanks the interviewer for coming from Korea to see Kaneda.

Park and Kaneda drink a cold drink and Kaneda talks about his age, Kaneda says he's pretty old.

Speaking in Japanese, Kaneda describes how his family is from a place called "Samju" in North Kyeongsang province. Park wonders if Kaneda is saying "Sangju" and Kaneda says yes, saying "Sangju" in heavily accented Korean.

They discuss how Kaneda never openly talked about his Korean roots. Kaneda says that it was a difficult time and people didn't reveal their Korean ethnicity in Japan. Kaneda says that it is different now and it's not a problem to talk about it. Before he says this, he closes his eyes.

In a serious tone, Kaneda discusses discrimination Koreans faced in Japan in his day (he was born in 1933). He discusses how his parents were born in Korea, but Kaneda and his siblings were born and raised in Japan. Kaneda says he feels like a Japanese person. It is revealed his parents moved to Japan in the 1920's (not sure of the exact date).

Park asks if Kaneda's parents were farmers, because the area in Kyeongsang province is known for farming. Kaneda pronounces the word "yangban" in accented Korean. Yangban meant upper class Korean, IE: a higher social class than farmers.

When asked, Kaneda explains that despite his family's high social standings, his parents worked as laborers, digging, working at the riverside in Japan. Kaneda explains that "they" all lived like that.

But in the next statement, Kaneda says he had a good childhood because his parents provided well for the family.

Park asks Kaneda a bit about his 3 brothers, who also played baseball. Kaneda answers a bit and then jokingly asks if Park is doing a family survey, and suggests they talk baseball instead.

This is an interesting article. I will continue with the summary next time.

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