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Did Sadaharu Oh have anything to do with Taiwan?


jefferson6134

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jefferson6134

Sadaharu Oh, a player for which no baseball GOAT conversation would be complete without, is widely acknowledged as being Japanese (through living there his whole life including birth) and Taiwanese.

However,

I'm having trouble figuring out how the Taiwanese* assertion is something other than a logical fallacy.

 

A bit of undisputed context: Oh's father Shifuku was from Zhejiang, China and immigrated to Japan in 1922. His mother was a Japanese native. Sadaharu was born in Japan in 1940. 

Sentimental side of things: both Shifuku and Sadaharu (perhaps in no small part due to galvanisation after how they were treated) retained the Chinese nationality they had from birth and boyhood respectively.

Growing up, Sadaharu was obsessed with all things baseball even at the behest of his father who's hope was for his children to take interest in well-paid work in fields like medicine and electrical engineering. Still, Sadaharu's baseball dream eventually gained support from his father who recognised his son's talent and ambition.

But a roadblock would arise. The Giants farm system welcomed Sadaharu for his skill, but not his nationality. Japan vehemently disliked China at the time. To circumvent this, the Oh family made the decision to get "ROC" passports (this would have been in the mid 50s). It can be appreciated that ROC at the time had no geographical place, although it's attributable to Taiwan because the KMT who lost to what became the PRC were exiled there.

 

So because this was a necessity not a matter of preference I am thinking Sadaharu Oh had nothing to do with Taiwan and that a lot of journalism to the contrary needs to be called out for it.

Happy to hear thoughts on this.

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On a quick read, it seems quite clear - he was born in Japan, had an ROC passport. I'm not sure what journalism needs called out, but that getting shorthanded to "Taiwanese" doesn't seem a huge problem. What specific articles don't you like?

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7 hours ago, jefferson6134 said:

Oh's father Shifuku was from Zhejiang, China and immigrated to Japan in 1922. His mother was a Japanese native. Sadaharu was born in Japan in 1940. Sentimental side of things: both Shifuku and Sadaharu (perhaps in no small part due to galvanisation after how they were treated) retained the Chinese nationality they had from birth and boyhood respectively. (...) To circumvent this, the Oh family made the decision to get "ROC" passports (this would have been in the mid 50s). It can be appreciated that ROC at the time had no geographical place, although it's attributable to Taiwan because the KMT who lost to what became the PRC were exiled there.

The Oh family would already have an ROC passport. In 1922, when father Oh left Zhejiang, the country he left was called the Republic of China. If he had a Chinese passport, it would have said Republic of China. So the family were, officially, always ROC nationals. In the mid-1950s, the ROC did have a geographical place: it was based in Taiwan and there was no more ROC than Taiwan.

 

That said I understand your point: Oh Sadaharu has never lived in Taiwan, his parents have never lived in Taiwan, there is no connection other than his ROC passport, which he got because his father was Chinese, and so it's wrong to say Oh is Taiwanese. I agree! The cause of the snag is the complicated history: a country that should clearly be named Taiwan is still named [Republic of] China, because the 'other' China won't let it change its name. However, I think that 1) you can't really blame sports journalists for not getting all these twists, they probably barely know where Taiwan is and it's already quite commendable that they know the difference between ROC and PRC; and 2) in the grand scheme of things that got messed up because of all this history, Oh's nationality as written in the newspaper surely is the smallest problem.

 

You could write letters to the editor about it, but I'd advise you not to spend too much time on that. You are correct, but virtually nobody will care or bother.

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jefferson6134

Good to have a couple of replies. They're appreciated. I hope we can keep at this discussion.

But I'm a bit baffled at some things you guys have said.

Quote

From Roddy: On a quick read, it seems he was born in Japan, had an ROC passport. I'm not sure what journalism needs called out, but that getting shorthanded to "Taiwanese" doesn't seem a huge problem.

Roddy, Chinese born and bred Communist party worker Bo Gu died in his homeland in 1946 and so ipso facto is it okay to call him Taiwanese because of his ROC passport?

 

Call that an apples to oranges comparison if you will. Truth is I actually don't know if Oh did go and get a new passport as a teen. That might be hearsay. Let's let that sink in.
 

Quote

From me: Japan vehemently disliked China at the time. To circumvent this (not being eligible to play baseball in Japan due to country-blocking), the Oh family made the decision to get "ROC" passports (this would have been in the mid 50s).

 

Well I'm starting to question this my own claim (which was based on a Q&A site in Japanese). I'm questioning it because check this out:

Quote

From "Baseball great has roots in ROC": "Oh's father had a strong love for China and carried a PRC passport. Yet he was worried about the unpredictable fate of the "two Chinas" and therefore got ROC passports for his children," said Li Shu-fang (李淑芳), a Taiwanese baseball commentator.


This would be a spurious rationale for the choice. I mean if the Oh family were to be worried about anything it would surely be about Japan getting blown up such that the ROC would appear to be the best ticket to ride out of there. Perhaps Shifuku was worried about his story of why he left China in the first place not being credible to the PRC border gatekeepers. It's hard to keep face.

I don't want to talk much about literary license (the less the better though); suffice to say Lu I think your stereotyping of "sports journalists" as being probably ignorant of Taiwan's location let alone history is quite a sweeping and unfair generalization. But I'm not out to correct published/printed wrongs. The sources made their bed they can lie in it. I just hope that we can be aware of real facts as well as misinformation (sources). This guy is regarded as a GOAT, so I believe a lot of people care.

I think Sadaharu Oh should not have been inducted into the Taiwanese baseball hall of fame. Let's try to be good and proper, people!

 

(P.s. I'm sorry I don't know exactly when or why or if ever Oh got an ROC passport)
 

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What exactly is your complaint, and what would you like to see changed?

 

Perhaps you should take all this information to a baseball forum?

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Was there any sort of speech or press release when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame? You'd think that might well give a clue as to why they regard him as Taiwanese.

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35 minutes ago, jefferson6134 said:

I think Sadaharu Oh should not have been inducted into the Taiwanese baseball hall of fame. Let's try to be good and proper, people!

Ah, ok. Yeah, that seems a bit cheeky, but... not sure how many people will worry about it. Don't know how halls of fame work, did that mean someone else was excluded. And apparently he coached in Taiwan a bit and was named some kind of ambassador, so...  and oh, fun historical article here. So he seems to have had fairly strong links there.

 

35 minutes ago, jefferson6134 said:

Roddy, Chinese born and bred Communist party worker Bo Gu died in his homeland in 1946 and so ipso facto is it okay to call him Taiwanese because of his ROC passport?

No, I think I'd call him Chinese. 

 

Edit: also, based on an article in the China Times which I accidentally closed, he never took Japanese citizenship.

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  • 3 months later...
Takeshi

This is interesting.

 

I wonder if the original country block in Japan was because they didn't want a PRC Chinese baseball star to win over peoples' hearts? Maybe even the newspapers etc that call Oh "Taiwanese" aren't doing this by accident, but are doing it on purpose, because they don't want to paint China in a positive light by admitting that he is "Chinese"? They are happier just hiding his heritage as "Taiwanese", and nobody would bat an eyelid because of the ROC passport (especially if he isn't a NWOHR, as the passport would say "TAIWAN" on it in English).

 

Logic would tell us that he should be a NWOHR from his background, but I have a suspicion that the fact that he's a famous baseball player may have allowed him to just obtain a Taiwanese identity card anyway. In that case, I guess it wouldn't even be wrong to call him "Taiwanese".

 

Maybe Oh himself doesn't even care and just wants to play baseball.

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