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The cheering gets nasty at a pro baseball game

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By Mike DeJong

I went to a Japanese baseball game last month. Actually, I went to a fight at a Japanese baseball game.

I took my son to see his favorite team, the Seibu Lions, at Seibu Dome in Saitama. My son is only 5 years old, yet he’s already been to ballparks in Japan and North America. He knows what live baseball is all about. But this time, he learned that baseball games in Japan can be dangerous.

We decided to sit in the bleacher seats, thinking it would be fun to be part of an outfield cheering section. I’d read about the spirited antics of Japanese baseball fans, and how they made games more fun than those in North America. I thought the cheering section would be a new experience for my son. It certainly was.

The problems started shortly after our arrival. The Lions’ bleachers were full, so we sat on the other side with fans of that night’s opposition, the Yokohama BayStars. My son likes the Lions, but he wore no Lions colors as we took our seats. He cheered for his favorite players, but his voice was drowned out by four busy buglers in our section. They would have made Metallica proud.

Soon, the cheering started — actually, it was more like chanting. The fans raised their arms and closed their eyes in a mock messianic trance. I felt like I’d walked onto the set of Attack of the Killer Baseball Zombies.

The cheering zombies blocked our view for most of the game. But that wasn’t the worst part. A woman in front of us took over an entire row of benches. She had jerseys, newspapers, jackets and sweaters strewn across the seats. My son made the mistake of stepping onto one of her sweaters. The woman responded by slapping him, right in front of me.

Now, when a stranger hits my kid, I get upset. I confronted the woman and my wife joined in. We yelled and argued. My son cried. Other fans stared. The woman called security. Security officers came and, after listening to both sides, told us all to behave. They asked my wife if she wanted to call the police. We declined. In the end, we all went back to watching the game. However, I was still amazed at what this complete stranger had done.

I’ve been to baseball games in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and Los Angeles. I have worn opposing team colors into some of the toughest ballparks in North America. But never in my 30 years of watching baseball have I ever gotten into a fight. And never have I seen an adult hit a child.

Japanese cheering sections are, like many things in Japanese society, exclusive clubs. Outsiders are rarely allowed in. That’s my explanation for what happened to us at the baseball game. Sure, we had tickets that entitled us to sit where we wanted. But the Yokohama fans didn’t want us in their section. I guess they felt they owned that part of the ballpark, and we were uninvited guests.

Author Robert Whiting discusses this phenomenon in his classic book on Japanese baseball, "You Gotta Have Wa." Whiting suggests that cheering sections are not merely loose-knit groups of fans getting together for a good time. Rather, they are highly regimented organizations where supporters are told how and when to cheer. The applause is not spontaneous, but scripted, organized and rehearsed. The military-like precision of cheering sections is another example of the powerful group dynamic that rules the majority of Japanese life.

Baseball group-think might seem quaint and charming to some people. But I prefer the spontaneous outpourings of support — or derision — based on individual plays and players. In other words, I want to be free to cheer or boo as I see fit.

In the end, my son stopped crying and watched what he could of the game. Some nice Yokohama fans even entertained him with their cute toys. But I had learned a lesson. Next time, I will buy a more expensive ticket and sit in a real seat. I don’t want to be told how to cheer. And I don’t want anyone hitting my kid.

Mike DeJong is a Canadian journalist and media consultant.

This commentary originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp)

© Japan Today

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83 Comments
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a lunatic hitting your child would ire anyone so I feel for you there..but as for the giant whinge about regimented cheering you said youve been to games before in Japan so obviously had some idea what to expect,to say you didnt have the freedom to cheer or boo as you want is really pushing the credibility of the entire story..

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Wow what a story, with the least to say. You declined to call police and press charges what are you thinking. I know he or she could have been the biggest male or female I have ever met, I have a 5 year old son and if they would have laid a hand upon him, I guess someone would have a fist or 2 or 3 laid upon their mouth and had a dental visit or two.

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What this woman did is totally inexcusable, and clearly the author had the misfortune of encountering the proverbial "bad apple". Extrapolating that into a condemnation of Japan's baseball fans in general seems a stretch, however. I have been to a number of games and never encountered anything negative like this. Anyway, it's good that Mr. DeJong refrained from physically escalating the situation, which would have turned him into the villan in the eyes of the authorities.

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relatively harmless situations

a stranger slapping your kid is not harmless. people get angry about that kind of thing.

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The slap is terrible.But c'mon,a Japanese baseball game is about as dangerous as a bingo hall.Hardly anyone interested in the game,just their yakisoba,no player insults etc...it's just like a mini festival.Complete over reaction, " he learned that baseball games in Japan can be dangerous".Ridiculous.

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yeah, this story is a little much. a guy watches a complete stranger slap his kid, but doesn't press charges AND stays to watch the rest of the game. not credible.

if it were me, that woman would have gotten punched, or been in police custody. probably the latter, but you never know.

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She had jerseys, newspapers, jackets and sweaters strewn across the seats. My son made the mistake of stepping onto one of her sweaters.

The woman was probably wrong to have stuff strewn across the seats. She was definitely wrong to hit a child. But Mr DeJong is skillfully skating over the bit about his son standing on the seats. Now I'm not a baseball fan so I dunno, it may be perfectly OK to stand on your seat in the bleachers at a baseball game. But I'm pretty sure it's not OK to stand on someone else's seat, especially when there's stuff on it. It sounds like the security people sussed the situation quite well - shut up, sit down and watch the game.

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I'm going to avoid the topic of the kid-slapping because quite frankly I don't believe we're getting the whole story here. We're certainly not getting the whole story about "no seats in the Seibu section" as the Seibu Dome outfield section is 95% comprised of a slope with no seats at all. Its designed for people to stand.

But Mr DeJong should understand the cheering sections at a Japanese game before he criticizes it. If he is at Seibu Dome and sitting in the Yokohama section then he is expected to cheer for Yokohama or shut up. The purpose of the cheering sections is to provide the serious fans a place to cheer without interference from the other team. The entire rest of the stadium is OK for anyone for either team to cheer.

I don't even know where to begin with the mention of Robert Whiting. The outfield cheering sections aren't "regimented" and "told what to do", there are set cheers and songs the fans use just like at any other sporting event. There's no greater social context other than "these are the songs and cheers these fans use". The applause certainly is spontaneous - go into the outfield of the team you want to cheer for with an open mind and you'll see that. But I think Mr DeJong read what he read and isn't interested in having an open mind.

Quite frankly, I am really surprised that security didn't boot Mr DeJong from the Yokohama section once they started cheering for Seibu. Very bad form indeed.

But I prefer the spontaneous outpourings of support — or derision — based on individual plays and players. In other words, I want to be free to cheer or boo as I see fit.

Anyone is free to do so at a Japanese game, just not for the home team in the visitors section (less than 10% of the stadium). PAY ATTENTION and don't have preconceptions and you'll see that. People are yelling random stuff all the time just like at a MLB game. I suspect Mr DeJong doesn't speak Japanese and was in a bit of culture chock.

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Is this story meant to incur subtly racist shock and disgust over regimented and militaristic cheering? Essentially, all professional sporting events inspire some degree of reptilian ritualism that hearken back to the beginning of recorded human history. Although the slapping of a child is serious business, the description of the act within the context of the story makes me suspicious as to how accurate is the author's account. Perhaps that's why the author didn't contact the police and press charges!

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I can't believe you let a woman slap your 5 year old son and you did nothing! GROW SOME BALLS SIR! I would have knocked that bitch out.

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Can I also suggest people learn more about Japanese Baseball before making uninformed opinions about the game? There are some fantastic team-specific blogs in English and general Japanese baseball news sites that all should check out.

http://marinerds.blogspot.com/

http://www.welovemarines.com/

http://tokyoyakultswallows.wordpress.com/

http://japanesebaseball.com/

http://www.npbtracker.com/

http://forums.simcentral.net/blog.php?u=646

It's best to be informed before writing an article for public consumption.

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someone hits my kid, they get a boot in the mouth...instantly

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I like how this guy tries to insinuate that ballparks in the US are safer/more civilized than those in Japan. That is quite a stretch, imo (I have been to both.) In fact most of this article seems wooly to me.

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British football hooligans have a group-think so brain numbing and individuality destroying that they kill. The dance that Japanese fans do it is peaceful, artistic, and free-thinking in comparison.

Son stands on someone elses stuff, gets pwned. Dad chooses to take it out on the Japanese in generally calling them Zombies. Nice. Sadly typical. I am ashamed of this author.

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I don't have much problem with the way people behave in these scenarios (not talking about the woman). But I DO have a problem with hypocrites who go on and on about how the Japanese are always behaving in a civilized way and criticize foreign barbarians.

And as for the woman, if it really did happen, then she deserves a real bitch-slapping.

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Now allow me to see this all from a different perspective. I am of the opinion that a child's education is everyone's business, not only that of the parents or the teachers. I imagine this kid blaring loudly, standing on the seats, getting in people's ways and being a nuisance. Annoying the woman who did nothing wrong spreading her things on unoccupied seats. DeJong not keeping his brat in line. The woman slapped him? Oh, yeah? Did she box him across his ears? Punch him in the face? Or just a warning gentle slap on his bottom? Ask yourself that. Or ask DeJong. And then comment.

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Yes, perception is everything. There are usually 3 sides to every story. Yours, theirs, and the truth is somewhere in the middle.

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That was a great story. You showed great restraint with that insane woman. Your son might become a violent person if you had hit her.

Calling the cops would have been a waste of time perhaps, but who knows? What if your son had a vertabrae or something dislodge? We don't always notice those things right away. Soft tissue damage takes a while to develop, too. It might have been a good idea to have had an x-ray taken. The woman could have been forced to pay for that. It's hard to think of that on the spot though.

I could tell by watching games on TV that I would never enjoy going to a baseball game in Japan. In fact, sports in general is, around the world, full of disturbed people on and off the field.

The writer of this story merely states his own experience. He doesn't say this is true of all places in Japan.

Also, you certainly don't have to cheer for Yokohama if you get stuck sitting in "their section".

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hello kitty-klitty

Also, you certainly don't have to cheer for Yokohama if you get stuck sitting in "their section".

You don't. But survival is about knowing the rules and observing them. Particularly when you are not on your own turf. Think your rules apply anywhere in the world? Face the consequences. (Ever read the international news?)

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i wouldn`t go to a japanese baseball game if they paid me. i did once for free and that was enough. it is quite frightening - the frenzy of the cheering is down right werid. like american baseball much much better. and if someone slapped my kid i would press charges.

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I live in Tokorozawa and my family are avid Lions fans. We attend games frequently. However, I don't like the cheering sections due to the noise as it makes it hard to enjoy the game, have a conversation about the game, or hear the announcements.

Civil fans are fine as long as they can keep the volume down.

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The writer of this story merely states his own experience. He doesn't say this is true of all places in Japan.

actually, for the most part...he does.

Anyway, my biggest problem with this article is the way the writer uses this experience to try and suggest that it is some kind of reflection on the the way outsiders are treated in Japanese society, and also take cheap pokes at Japanese ball games. If the writer had done the same thing in Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, and LA (as he claims he has) then he would have had the same thing happen to him (minus the lady hitting his kid.)

Pukey2-About my previous post. I'm not trying to critize anyone, or glorify the Japanese for that matter. But the author talks about being shocked at the nasty cheering at the Yokohama game, all while claiming to have, "worn opposing team colors into some of the toughest ballparks in America." Anyone who has been to both a Japanese ball game and a game in the states will tell you that this is suspiciious.

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Wow, this story had me shocked on one hand and wondering on the other. Let's assume the woman who had her things strewn across the seats in front of them in order to save the seats for her friends. In fact, I have seen that often and even at a baseball game. Reading this I got the idea that the author thought the woman was doing this to hold all the seats for herself. Surely that was not the case! I also agree that the child might have been a bit out of control for that women to suddenly slap him. Either that or she was truly deranged. I have never heard of a Japanese person slapping a child unless it was her own and I have seen that quite often. I cringe when I see it. I would think the author would have gotten plenty of warning by stares from this woman first.

I have not been to a Japanese game in years and it is sad that the child did get slapped, but why would the author continue to sit there. I would have moved in a moment for the safety of my child. This is probably what bothers me the most about this article. How could the author have stayed there. I am sure the kind people around them that decided to be nice to the boy were doing it out of embarrassment for the child being slapped by the woman.

I was picked on by an older gentleman who was drunk when I was riding an afternoon train many years ago, and after the drunk left .. the people across from me (four complete strangers from each other) bowed to me almost at the same time to apologize for the drunk who had picked on me. To date this is one of the oddest but heart-warming gestures I have ever received.

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No offense, but your response to the slapping of your child was awfully weak. You basically just taught your child that it's okay for perfect strangers to slap him.

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Why is the woman who slapped your son calling security? Why aren't YOU calling security AND the cops -- and pressing charges against her for assault and battery?

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Never ever sit in the opposite fan section at any time in any possible teamsport ... They are japanese, but when they get nuts, they get nuts ... Somebody slapping my kid by no reason will face a lot of trouble ...

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the Yokohama fans didn’t want us in their section. I guess they felt they owned that part of the ballpark, and we were uninvited guests

I don't understand this bit. They had a run-in with one woman who slapped his kid for stomping on her sweater. The slap was wrong, but so was the stomp. The security guards told them both to behave. Afterwards some fans played with the boy and were 'nice'. So where does the 'they didn't want us in their section, we were uninvited guests' come from? Because the fans carried on with their chanting even though the DeJongs didn't/couldn't join in? Because the Yokohama fans didn't sit quietly out of deference to the presence of Lions fans in their midst?

Why aren't YOU calling security

Good question.

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Again, a relatively wierd situation here in the land of wa. I just returned from a trip back to USA, went to a ball game, had good box seat tickets a present from a friend. The surrounding seats were all home town fans, except for the 2 guys directly to my left who came from the opposing teams town just to catch the weekend series. The hometown team won easily, but the 2 guys from the other state were in no way threatened or even made to feel unwelcome. Granted, my city my be somehow different but the mood of the game was one of enjoying the grand ol game on a beautiful summer night,rather than a heat of the pennant race, "must-win" game which often seems to be the case with EACH game here. (?) The lady slapping the boy, 5-year old boy mind you, is mind boggling. They should have a) taken her name, had x-rays taken as suggested by one of the readers and b) moved immediately out of the section if for no other reason than to get the xxxx out of that hostile environment. But concerning the larger picture of being taught a lesson by the lady, I have to agree with some of the above comments that it does represent an alarming character of some people to take it on themselves to "teach" others. I've had this experience rather repeatedly in another sport in this country, where the players treat you as if you are their inferior and need to be taught every which way about how to do the game right. Some of their points are well taken, but the idiosyncracies they display over ad nauseum to show their own style does go WAY over the limit. We, foreigners, definitely need to stand up to the natives at times like these.

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uum well if any member of my family was hit at a baseball match, the "hitter" would be instantly out cold. But anyway it's all academic as I hate baseball, I love soccer and fairly often attend J league games.

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What a boring little story. Complain about something worth complaining about.

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you should grow some balls and press charges. why let that woman off the hook?

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I wouldn't have I would have sat down to continue watching the game after someone assaulted my child. Not in a million years would I let anyone get away with that garbage. Agree with most of the posters in that you should have either: returned the favor to the woman who slapped your child, or called the cops and pressed charges. Just like that old bumper sticker I've seen in the US, "***, grass, or cash, no one rides for free."

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Admirable to show that much self control after your kid was slapped. Imagine this would have been the other way around; big headline in JT: "Foreigner who slapped innocent Japanese child, was nearly killed by crowd".

As she called security, I do interpret that you made her feel afraid (after all you are an unpredictable barbarian as foreigner). If so, well done.

All in all I think you reacted correctly not to punch her lights out, just remember the recent statistics here in JT, that one in four of the Japanese population falls under "mentally sick".

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Should have called the police just to frighten that cow.

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Should have called the police just to frighten that cow.

Yeah, even a fake cell phone call such as: "Right, officer. Right, right. She's approximately 37 years old with a pockmarked pasty face. A really saggy #ss and incredibly small ######. Her teeth are stained and it smells like she had ramen for lunch. Yes, officer I will wait and point her out to you."

It would help if you could say that in Japanese.

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I hate baseball and after this story it makes me happy that I have never ever wasted my time by actually going to a baseball game. A stupid Japanese slut slapping a 5 year old? She would be dead! I would have given here a good strangling, kick in her saggay @ss! Teach her to respect! Problably she is some tough broad living with some low level chimpira (the lowest rank for yakuza in Japan.) These parents should have not only called the police but also should have had her arrested, since they did not even lay 1 single finger on this scum bag broad.

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that lady... she a japanese?

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don't understand this bit. They had a run-in with one woman who slapped >his kid for stomping on her sweater. The slap was wrong, but so was the >stomp.

Hats off to Cleo for stating the truth. The question I have is if the 5 year old is accompanied by both father and mother, what were they doing allowing the child to be stomping on things in the first place? Small children are, quite bluntly, like pet dogs. The accompanying owner/parent/custodian/adult is 100% responsible for whatever the child does. It's not the childs fault as usually they simply dont know any better. Nowhere in this article does the parent even hint that he wasn't fulfilling his responsibility. Way too many parents think that their child is "soooo special" that somehow the entire world is supposed to clear the way for them. He's upset that a stranger hit his kid. I'm upset that he didn't maintain control over his kid which resulted in the kid getting slapped.

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Never ever sit in the opposite fan section at any time in any possible teamsport ... They are japanese, but when they get nuts, they get nuts ... Somebody slapping my kid by no reason will face a lot of trouble ...

i doubt it's just the japanese...that's stereotyping. have you ever been to soccer/football matches in europe (hooliganism)?

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OMG OssanAmericxa is again excusing anything from a Japanese!!! The child was assaulted dear. The man was shocked by the disgracefull behaviour of the Japanese fans. May i add, i also am. The Japanese need to learn civility NOW!!!!!!

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What bizarre and patently un-Japanese behavior. The only time I've ever seen this kind of thing happen in the U.S. was at a football game. Baseball fans can be rude here (especially when the Yankees are in town), but I've never seen anyone mix it up at a baseball game.

We decided to sit in the bleacher seats, thinking it would be fun to be part of an outfield cheering section. I’d read about the spirited antics of Japanese baseball fans, and how they made games more fun than those in North America. I thought the cheering section would be a new experience for my son. It certainly was.

"Spirited antics." Yes, like making annoying noise of one sort or another throughout the game.

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suzushiineko at 02:14 PM JST - 20th July Yes, perception is everything. There are usually 3 sides to every story. Yours, theirs, and the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Fine, but I can't think of any circumstances under which it is okay for a stranger to strike one's child on the face or even the bottom. She could have gotten the point across by simply yelling at the kid. Again, if this really happened, it is uncharacteristically confrontational behavior for a Japanese, especially a Japanese woman.

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OMG OssanAmericxa is again excusing anything from a Japanese!!! The >child was assaulted dear. The man was shocked by the disgracefull >behaviour of the Japanese fans. May i add, i also am. The Japanese need >to learn civility NOW!!!!!!

Wrong. It has nothing to do with being Japanese or not. IT has to do with being a responsible parent. Perhaps when you grow up you "might" get it.

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OssanAmerica; Typical silly sausage Japanophile remark, yawny wawny!!! Well excuse me love, but when has it ever been ok to strike an innocent child? Only in Japan maybe!

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OssanAmerica, the artical said the child mistakenly stood on a shirt, not intentionally.

And why were shirts strewn all over the place anyway it`s a baseball game not a dam clothing shop.

There was no suggestion the boy was not being controled in the middle of stupid screaming fans (Shit he was 5 )Obvously YOU have never been 5.

And if the parent was 100% responsiblt why didn`t the lady slap the parent (Yes different story then)

:)

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It's a parents responsibility to not only ensure that their child comes to no harm but at the same time that the child causes no harm to others. Until you grow up you wuill never understand this.

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I would have set fire to the clothing all over the chairs

teach her a lesson

i would have sprayed the content of a fire extinguisher all over you to teach you a lesson about not setting any fires inside a packed stadium.

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maglev101 - No you wouldn't. You'd have maybe slapped her back and then been ejected with everyone thinking (always the gaijin disrupting the "wa").

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Before reading about your son being slapped, we read about a fight, "busy buglers," chanting, a "messianic trance," and "baseball killer zombies." Why do all these things seem to bother you just as much as your son getting slapped? Something is wrong here, no offense.

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I hate baseball and after this story it makes me happy that I have never ever wasted my time by actually going to a baseball game. A stupid Japanese slut slapping a 5 year old?

Why are you blaming BASEBALL for the poor kid getting slapped? Baseball didn't make the woman slap the kid. Being a nasty b---h made her do it. She could have done it at the shopping mall just as easily.

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Hmmm, difficult one here. Definitely had to be there I think. Overreaction by the female baystars supporter. Though is there any way the incident could have been prevented? There is a reason why they have seperate areas for different teams and also for those not into the loud cheering etc. Other than the slap, anything that happened is the fault of the reporter for going into that section in the first place. Everyone, with sports events especially book early and get the seats you want.

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the artical said the child mistakenly stood on a shirt, not intentionally

Read it again, it says no such thing - My son made the mistake of stepping onto one of her sweaters. The little darling could only make that 'mistake' if his parents were allowing him to stand on the seats in front of them - as I said before, I'm not all that in with baseball-watching etiquette, it may be perfectly OK to stand on your seat in order to see over folks' heads, but I'm pretty sure it is not good to stand on someone else's seat, especially if it has stuff on it.

There was no suggestion the boy was not being controled in the middle of stupid screaming fans

There's no suggestion because I'm sure Mr DeJong has no thought in his mind that he may have been at fault, but little lads who are being controlled/behaving themselves don't go stomping on folks' clothing. We are told the fans were chanting, that they raised their arms and closed their eyes. It seems Mr DeJong didn't approve of that, which is weird because he says they went into the bleachers with the intention of experiencing being part of an outfield cheering section, and he'd read about the spirited antics of Japanese baseball fans: but I can't see where he says they were screaming and stupid, or any different from what sports fans the world over do at matches.

The man was shocked by the disgracefull behaviour of the Japanese fans.

I really don't understand this 'disgraceful behaviour'. One woman acted disgracefully when she went too far in trying to keep his son in line, but all the 'Japanese fans' were doing, as far as I can make out, is enjoying the chants and stuff that is their way of supporting their team. Some of them played with the little lad. What was 'disgusting' in the actions of the Japanese fans?

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Apart from this one crazy woman, why the rant against Japanese baseball fans in general? Don't see what the two have to do with one another.

I've sat on the wrong side at J-baseball before (bought wrong tickets, only seats left), including Seibu Dome, and always found the opposition fans to be totally respectful. Obviously you don't be a dick about cheering for the other team, but I've never encountered any hassle.

Just don't sit in the Hanshin cheering section if you're a Giants fan.

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When Australia and Japan were playing in the soccer finals I was cheering Australia in a Japanese "sports bar", the Japanese people in the bar told me to stop cheering for Australia because Japan might lose, I told them "I hope Japan loses", a guy nearly wigged out and started shouting, I wasn't backing down, in the end he couldn't understand that I was cheering for something else.

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This has to be the most obnoxious article I have ever read.

Are you serious Mike Dejong? You go to a baseball game, cheer for the home team in the VISITORS cheering section (which only occupies a small percentage of the seats in any given stadium to begin with) and then have the gall to write this awful article attacking Japanese baseball when the experience doesn't live up to whatever standards you have?

I can sympathize with you about the woman slapping your child, but other than that every word you have written just screams out "I am a naive prima donna who expects everything in the world to be the same as it is in North America (ie the correct way) and if it diverges from that I am going to have a huge hissy fit and try quoting some experts in the field to make my rant look intelligent." You write this article as though you think this experience was traumatizing enough to be an NBC TV movie special or something.

Its simple. When in Rome...

Personally I enjoy sitting in the bleachers to join the organized cheering. If you don't, there is a very simple solution: sit in one of the overwhelming majority of seats where you don't have to join it.

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should have called the cops. would have taught the woman a lesson. but if it was me, i would have walked all over her stuff and dared her to slap me.

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Yes. The point is to WAKE UP about WHICH ENVIRONMENT YOU ARE IN! Foreigners are honored (largely on face value/tatemai) during the course of daily events, but enter most any Japanese group activity, and its Majority rules, and watch your step and your kids steps. The slapping was excessive, and should have been dealt with other than remaining seated and enduring the rest of the game in anger. Up and out. And next time, think twice about where you take your precious children. Gaijin are not appreciated (or respected) everywhere for long periods of time. At first we are tolerated, but if you step on something or ignore a red light etc. be ready for repurcussions. In that sense, this is a necessary wake up call, that we all get from time to time.

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Hitting a stranger’s child, it all comes down to accountability. The JN thought she could get away with it, or she would have never done it. You let her. That has target written all over it. Over these twenty or so years, I don’t know too many families in Japan that would have tolerated that towards one of their own children. Why did you? If it was me, we would have all been going down....

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The lady slapping a kid is insane. That's awful, but I don't think it has anything to do with baseball fans in Japan. My view is that if she is at the game all alone, at an opposing stadium, she probably few, if any social contacts, and has a few screws loose.

As for the atmosphere at baseball games, the cheering is nothing compared to Boston, NY, or Philly. I've been to many games in the bleachers at Fenway Park & the old Yankee Stadium. The actions of the creatures that inhabited those seats (yes it goes both ways, I'm a die hard Red Sox fan, and I am embarrassed by some of the denizens of "Friendly Fenway") would put the Japanese cheering section fan in tears. I've seen fights, the most memorable being two kids getting in a fist fight, one while wearing a cast on his arm. The kid with the cast was using it as a weapon to punch the other kid.

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I think there are a lot of details missing from this story. With details missing, one can only make assumptions. I'm going to assume that the little guy made a nuisance of himself so that the woman lost her cool, and whacked him. I don't believe in hitting kids under any circumstances, but, I think it's possible you could have diffused the situation long before it came to that. A lot of 5 year olds will run riot given the chance.

The fact that she called security, not you, makes me assume that you and your family really wound her up big-time.

Having said that, laws exists to protect people from being hit, especially children. Once she hit your son, you shoulda asked them to call the police, to teach everyone a lesson.

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If you were a Red Sox fan sitting in the right-field seats at Yankee Stadium, I bet it would have been a whole lot worse.

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I would have whacked that beeatch right upside her head good.

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Jeffery, I would never EVER condon slapping a young child in that manner or, anyone else for that matter. My comment was just on the story viewpoint as a whole. However, now that I am engaged in this, my real concern would be the child's view of this incident. It will undoubtably leave a mark in his mind. I am sure we have all had altercations with different races, and hopefully understand that it's not always representative of an entire race of people. (The author did mention that others were kind to him) I certainly hope that it will not be a deciding factor on his opinion (20 years or so down the road of life) of Asian women (& Japan) as a whole and, understand that it was a single deplorable incident. Having grown up up in the deep south of the US, I have seen 1st hand how the seeds of hatred and racism are planted way to easily. I would wish that the child understands that much. Understanding that, hopefully, would stem some form of future violence or, unsolicited gunfire, as we are so (unfortunately) used to here in the US.

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We may be giving this author some stick for what actually comes down to discipline and respecting the law in Japan. I would also have been tempted to break that womans jaw if it were my child. However, that would have given me a lengthy spell in a Japanese prison and probable deportation from my work and my home here. The author may have been very aware of the complications involved if he or his wife had smacked that woman. And when security asked if he wanted to call the cops, it was probably also a wise move to leave it at that. Can you imagine the hassle and the prejudice involved if the cops were called ? For a Canadian guy prosecuting a Japanese woman at a baseball game ?

As for Japanese baseball fans. I liken them to Japan's version of the football fans we have back home in England. I have followed Hanshin since I got here in 2000 and I have been to most stadiums in Japan. I've seen enough idiots at baseball here to understand that it's the rough working class sport to follow here. Fans get drunk at games and I've seen plenty of people having a go at each other.

There is also the probability that if that woman had a whole row of benches with jerseys and newspapers on, then she could well have been looking after the seats for the Baystars song leaders and flag supporters. And baseball teams song leaders and flag supporters are basically chimpira. That would explain her violent attitude.

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Can you imagine the hassle and the prejudice involved if the cops were called ? For a Canadian guy prosecuting a Japanese woman at a baseball game ?

You're saying he decided not to call the police because of his respect for the law? Or because he had a victim-mentality, non-Japanese-cannot-get-justice-in-Japan-even-when-they're-wronged attitude? Those are complete opposites.

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cleo, the author and his wife had already taken a mature decision not to get violent in return (I doubt that I would have that discipline) and there is a good chance that he also took a mature decision not to get involved with the cops. The world could do with a few more people like this author when arguments get out of hand. cleo, the next time you have a situation with the cops and someone Japanese in Japan, let us all know how your experience went.

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People, it was mentioned in a previous post. There is no bleacher section at Seibu Dome. It is a grass-laden slope. People lay blankets out and lye or sit, room provided. This story has too many holes in it.

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OssanAmerica, the artical said the child mistakenly stood on a shirt, >not intentionally.

Obviously. I have already stated that small children can't be held responsible because they don't know any better.

And why were shirts strewn all over the place anyway it`s a baseball >game not a dam clothing shop.

If that was a violation of the stadium rules, it was the obligation of the parent (writer) who noticed to bring this to the attention of the security guards. He failed to do so.

There was no suggestion the boy was not being controled in the middle of >stupid screaming fans (Shit he was 5 )Obvously YOU have never been 5.

What a stupid comment. Not only have I been "5", I've raised two kids who were at one time "5". That the child stood on the goods, and that the parent was not there to immediately respond to this situation is absolute proof that the chiold was NOT being controlled at trhe time of the incident. As a parent I can tell you that when you're surrounded by "stupid screaming fans", maintaining control (that means cloes contact) with your 5 year old is imperative.

And if the parent was 100% responsiblt why didn`t the lady slap the >parent (Yes different story then)

Because the parents were not there with the child at the time of the incident, in which case the incident may have never occured at all. Or even if the child had stepped on the goods a quick and insincere "sorry" would have ended it. In truth it is the parents who deserved to be slapped. And lest any idiot think that I support slapping children, the woman who did the slapping ought to be brought up on assault charges. But that's a different matter as the writer of the article has skirted around his responsibility completely.

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the author and his wife had already taken a mature decision not to get violent in return

If only he'd taken the mature decision not to write a whiny article about nothing.

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My son made the mistake of stepping onto one of her sweaters doesn't mean he didn't do it intentionally; it means that what he did turned out to be misguided or wrong.

Mr DeJong made the mistake of sitting with the away team supporters, but it was entirely intentional.

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I took my son to a game at the Yahoo Dome last week. (His first visit to Japan. We sat, by design, in the hometown cheering section in the bleachers.

It was a different experience, and I had to take a few aspirin. Did it once, and probably won't again, but it was still fun.

Like other posters said, there's probably many sides to the story.

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You let a stranger hit your kid? What a disgrace. I feel sorry for that child. My mother wouldn't have let that one slide... sorry.

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Sorry his kid got slapped and the YB lady probably crossed a line but, as has been stated, there is only one side of this story. The kid may have been being overly rambunctious and deserved a slap. Some parents aren't mindful of what their children are doing and only see them as perfect angels. Some are, some aren't and some deserve a slap.

The guy implies he has been to numerous games in both Japan and NA. Well, apparently he hasn't been to that many in Japan. If you want to "watch" the game, you sit in seats along the base lines (which side depends on home or away and at one time on stadium) but if you want to really "cheer" for your team, you sit in the outfield bleachers of your favoured team. Depending on the team, sitting in the bleachers of the opposing team can mean taking your life into your own hands.

A Seibu-Baystars game would be relatively safe, I should think and as he stated, he did have some YB fans try to play with his son to make up for the other "bad" fan. If he really wanted to "sit" in the bleachers for the Lions, he should have got there early, especially when he knew going in that there are no reserved seats.

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Pffffffftttt.... he should go to a game at Koshien against the Giants and sit in the Right Field seats with Yomiuri gear on.....

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I don't hit woman BUT i would make a VERY BIG exception if one ever hit my 5 year old child who is too small to defend him/herself. In any other country a woman or man hitting a 5 year old would be classed as child abuse regardless of the situation.....but in Japan!!!!!!!!

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Everyone should be aware that devoted sports fans in any country are idiots.

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In any other country a woman or man hitting a 5 year old would be >classed as child abuse regardless of the situation.....but in >Japan!!!!!!!!

It's not child absuse, it's assault. An incident of this sort invcolving complete strangers in a public place doesn't meet the criteria for "child abuse". But in Japan what? The writer (father) failed to press assault charges against the woman.

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Pffffffftttt.... he should go to a game at Koshien against the Giants and sit in the Right Field seats with Yomiuri gear on.....

It's rough enough being a Tigers fan with Tigers gear on at Koshien...

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It's rough enough being a Tigers fan with Tigers gear on at Koshien...

Heh. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

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This isn't nasty. Nasty is some of the riots you find at soccer games worldwide. THAT'S nasty.

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"i wouldn`t go to a japanese baseball game if they paid me."

I wouldn't go to any baseball game period. This article discouraged me as well from ever trying to understand the hype.

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Never understood what being a 'fan' is about. It looks dangerous in all but a few sports (I havnt seen riots or blood at swimming galas, pingpong, or badminton) but whatever it is about, nothing would induce me to take a 5 yrea old where crowds of emotional humans get together. Football around europe looks like a blood sport.

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perhaps all sports that could translate easily into physical violence by their actual use of body with equipment, are likely to have violent supporters.... eg kicking balls and using a baseball bat (which looked like a weapon before anyone thought of the game)?

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