Maritime Historian and Baseball author Kazuo Sayama

When I returned to Tokyo from travels in Tohoku and Hokkaido I was delighted to be able to meet Kazuo Sayama (佐山和夫) the author of a book ” “Waga na wa kendorikku : Rainichi beijin dai 1gō no nazo” (My Name is Kendrick. the mystery of the first American in Japan), about Captain John Kendrick and Lady Washington’s first visit of an American flag vessel to Japan. I had received a copy of this book (わが名はケンドリック : 来日米人第一号の謎) when I was writing my essay “The Lady Washington at Kushimoto Japan in 1791” that was published in the anthology, “The Early Republic and the Sea” (Brassey’s Inc. 2001) and I brought a copy of the anthology to give to Sayama-san.

Kazuo Sayama happened to be visiting Tokyo from his home town of Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture to give a lecture so we met at the Imperial Hotel for coffee. He knew my arrival time and was waiting in the lobby to tell me that he had invited another person to join us. When I returned to the lobby after having checked into my room I found that he intended to introduce me to a Congressman from Wakayama Prefecture.

Congressman Kimiyoshi Tamaki is interested in early US-Japan relations and I was informed that he had mentioned the 1791 visit of Lady Washington to Japan in a speech in the National Diet. We had a great time visiting about Kushimoto and activities related to the US-Japan History Museum that has a nice exhibit about Lady Washington on display. I asked Sayama-san about his baseball writings and he presented me with a copy of his recent book “Shakespeare and Baseball”.

An interview with Sayama-san about baseball in Japan was posted by PBS and can be viewed at


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3 Responses to Maritime Historian and Baseball author Kazuo Sayama

  1. G. Theodore CAtherine says:

    I appreciate your story and am interested in Kazuo Sayama. Can you tell me if he is still alive?

  2. mockford says:

    We had a nice meeting last summer in Tokyo and he was very well at that time. I have not heard from him for a few months but may contact him again this summer.

    • G. Theodore CAtherine says:

      Thanks very much for this information. I’m really interested in his work, “The Gentle Black Giants.” I’m a researcher and producer of Negro League baseball materials i.e. calendars, postcard books, posters, etc. Do you have a specific interest in baseball history?

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