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The Japanese love affair with baseball owes much to the luck of timing: The westernization of Japan under the Meiji restoration occurred in the late 1860s and 1870s, precisely as baseball was becoming professionalized and wildly popular in the United States. An exhibition at the Japan Information & Culture Center explores these twin branches of baseball’s family tree. A New League showcases the expected artifacts of Japanese baseball—jerseys, cleats, autographed bats, scorecards, vintage manga, and a large collection of baseball cards. Meanwhile, the walls are heavy with narrative, including the early college game centered on Tokyo, the tours by major leaguers such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and African-American and women’s teams, the creation of Japanese major league baseball, recovery after postwar occupation, and eventually the migration of Japanese players like Hideo Nomo, Ichiro Suzuki, and Shohei Ohtani to the U.S. major leagues. The exhibition does little to explain the cultural differences between the American and Japanese games. (For that, you’ll need to peruse the books of Robert Whiting.) But the exhibition presents a solid piece of trivia: Jackie Robinson’s final games before his retirement came on a tour of Japan. Read more>>> The exhibition is on view to Aug. 10 at the Japan Information & Culture Center, 1150 18th St. NW. Free. (202) 238-6900. us.emb-japan.go.jp/jicc. (Louis Jacobson)
OH AND ALSO
The Folger Shakespeare Library presents Form & Function: The Genius of the Book, a deep dive into the bound book as one of the greatest—and often overlooked—technologies the world has ever seen. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 201 East Capitol St. SE. Free.
The National Museum of American History continues its run of The American Revolution: A World War, an exhibition exploring the conflict through a global lens that uses objects from the 1700s to tell its story. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free.
Author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong talks about her new book, Sex and the City and Us: How Four Single Women Changed the Way We Think, Live, and Love, a behind-the-scenes look at Sex and the City, the HBO show that became a cultural phenomenon, at Politics and Prose. 7 p.m. at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.
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