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Friday, April 28, 2017

New Anne of Green Gables Movie Set For May 6 2017 Release

Look out Japan, there’s a new live-action Anne of Green Gables movie set to open on May 6, 2017.

It’s an English-language flick with Japanese sub-titles… which I’m sure is fine, because Buddha knows the Japanese sure do love anything to do with Anne.

My first day at a Japanese junior high school class back in 1990 (yeah, I’m old), I was confused when a female student stood up and asked in perfect English: “Andoryu-sensei, do you know Anne?”

Now, my first thought was holy crap - the Japanese kids already speak perfect English, this job is a snap!

My next thought was: Anne? Anne who? Despite having never slept with a woman at that point in my life, and having minimal dating experience, five women (one girlfriend, the rest just girl friends), I did know quite a few women - just no Anne’s. Strangely, I really did know three Heather’s. All were very nice.

Anyhow… the student was asking if I knew about Anne… as in Anne of Green Gables, because I was from Canada, the same place Anne's creator Lucy Maud Montgomery had set the story in. Different province, and far, far away, but the same country.

At that time of my life, I had heard of Anne of Green Gables, but associated it as a “girl’s book” and never had any inclination to read it.

After the JTE (Japanese teacher of English) explained who Anne was, I understood.

I sit here now (2017) wondering if my inability to pick up on what that perfectly simple English question was about in any way shape or form affected that student’s ability to further learn English.

I hope she simply thought I was ignorant because I wasn’t expecting that sort of question, and not that there was anything wrong with her own English-language abilities.

Anyhow, I did answer that I did know about Anne… which made all of the female students smile and say yata (yay)!

I knew about Anne, but I didn’t know anything about Anne.

I am proud to say that overcoming such immature prejudices re: “girl’s book” was easy, as I have read Anne of Green Gables—and enjoyed it.

By the way, my favorite book is a coming of age story (essentially) called Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and one of my favorite movies is The Wizard of Oz - also about a girl's journey... which sounds weird when I write this out, but there was no ulterior motive for me. I simply love the thrill of the journey and the adventure... which is what my three years in Japan on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme was all about.

I’m not sure what all the hubbub in Japan is about for this Anne book about an orphaned girl at the turn of the 20th century in rural Canada… it’s a fine story, sure… but why is this something that strikes a chord with the Japanese, in particular the female Japanese?

Hmm… a thought just hit me… all of those famed Japanese anime flicks by Ghibli Studios - they all have that same feel as an Anne of Green Gables adventure… I wonder if that was on purpose or me just clutching at straws.

By the way... Japan's Anne of Green Gables theme park seems to have fallen on hard times... a virtual ghost town (see HERE)... perhaps because it's 1,000 kilometers north of Tokyo on the north Canadian climate-like island of Hokkaido.   

Anyhow… here’s a trailer (with Japanese subtitles) for the upcoming Anne movie.

In two days… more Anne from me, with a proper Canadian connection.

Anne-drew Joseph

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Smell The Glove

While everyone of a certain vintage has heard of Mister Miyagi teaching his Karate Kid protege Daniel-san all about wax-on wax-off, few have ever heard of the Mister Miyagi of baseball glove artistry.

You might even call him the Japanese version of Mister Miyagi, except that Mister Miyagi is Japanese, so the point is moot. Ha.

To the uneducated, one could assume that a baseball glove is a baseball glove is a baseball glove, with the key difference being that catchers use a different glove from everyone else.

True, but nowadays, there are pitcher’s gloves, middle infielder gloves, 1st baseman gloves, 3rd basemen gloves and outfielder models in addition to ye olde catcher’s mitt.

While many might assume there are few variations within each type of glove, there are in fact a plethora of them, and all, save the least expensive seem to serve a purpose for the baseball player using them.

Just like everyone’s hands are not created equal, the same could then be said for the ballplayer’s glove, necessitating the search for the perfect glove.

Yes, in non-reference to that famous 1990s utterance - if the glove don’t fit, you can’t commit.

Okay… maybe I changed the last word away from ‘convict’ in reference to the OJ Simpson murder trial in my paraphrasing...
OJ and murder - not just for breakfast anymore.
At the lead of the change in thinking about how the glove makes the fielding baseball player is a now-70-year-old Japanese man named Aso Shigeaki (surname first).

Born in Toride-shi, just north of Tokyo in 1945, Aso works for Wilson, and has been a designer of baseball gloves for over 30 years, with over 20-designs to his credit—though the Wilson 1786 model is considered by himself and major league ball players as his masterpiece.

Still manufactured today, the Wilson 1786 middle infielder (2nd Base & Shortstop) is a small glove preferred by those who play the position.

I played 3B and preferred a much larger pocket, and have what is considered an illegal glove for its length, but since I’m only coaching kids, there’s no urgency.

All I know is that I went to a shop, the glove caught my eye, tried it on, and it well, fit like a glove. Literally.

It felt like it was a part of my hand and I knew I had to buy it. So I saved up my nickels and dimes and bought it a few weeks later.

I still use it every day, but of course, I only bought it four years ago. I’m not a rich man, except in the things that count - which sucks.

I had made the mistake of letting my then seven-year-old son Hudson take my old—and I mean 30+ year-old glove to school, where it was destroyed. I still can’t get rid of it, though.

I know, I have a problem. 

Anyhow, to read the wonderful article on Aso Shigeaki, please click on the SportsNet article written by David Singh HERE.  

My only complaint of the article, is that there’s no commentary from Aso himself.

By the way, a 1786 Wilson ball glove can set you back anywhere from US$250 to $300.

Andrew Joseph
PS: Image above is from Wilson, showing Aso “breaking” in a glove with a wooden mallet  to remove its stiffness to make it easier for a ball player to cradle the ball. Shaving cream, lanolin, Vaseline, Mink oil, tanner’s glove oil, saddle soap, and more, including the glove manufacturer’s own oil brand… which doesn’t seem to be enough for the persnickety Aso.
PPS: The headline of this article—Smell The Glove—is, of course, taken from the fictional album by the mockumentary heavy metal rock group Spın̈al Tap from the movie This Is Spın̈al Tap.
PPPS: I have no idea why that nugget of information resides in my brain. But I'm glad it does.
PPPPS: How about that, not only did this blog feature a Karate Kid reference, an OJ Simpson reference—sports in both re: karate and football—but I even managed to not actually write about the actual topic myself. For the record, Spinal Tap played in Japan. And... the judge in the OJ Simpson murder trial was Lance Ito, a Japanese-American whose family was interned in an American camp during WWII. No... I don't plan these things. Just lucky I guess... again, not in the things that count.   

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Allergic To Editing

Sometimes the worst thing a writer can do is revisit the past.

Whether it's re-reading old stories I've written spotting typos or grammatical mistakes, or actually looking up a fact I thought was canon only to discover it was wrong, rendering me a complete idiot for the past 27 years.

While looking for a topic to wax poetically on such as National Treasures of Japan - too many and it's all right there on Wikipedia; Japanese guardian lion dogs called Komainu (aka Korean Lion Dogs) - I've kind of already done that in individual blogs; or look up types of allergies in Japan.

It was that last one that made me want to check up on a story I wrote back in December of 2010 entitled "Cover Of The Rolling Stone" on a weird allergic reaction I had to something in the environment. It was based on something hitting me back in 1991.

Now, in 2017, I remember that the pollen was supposed to be from a Japanese Black Spruce... so I decided to look it up to learn more about a pollen that made me feel like I was physically sick over a two day period... enough to ensure that I would never teach at a particular school where the tree was rampant during pollination time.

Try as I might, I could not find anything on the Japanese Black Spruce.

Avoiding "Japanese", I looked up Black Spruce and checked out its habitat... no Japan.

But back in 1991, a teacher told me that I was allergic to a Japanese Black Spruce pollen - a pollen that often hits the Japanese pretty hard... and that since I had no natural resistance to it, I felt it heavily.

So... what the heck was that tree pollen I was allergic to if there was no such thing as a Japanese Black Spruce.

Using my powers of deduction and a handy website that offered up tree pollen types in Japan, I determined that I was affected heavily by the Japanese Cedar Sugi or Japanese Red Cedar.

Although I have never been affected by an allergy like I had with this tree pollen--I'm allergic to cats, golden rod and mold... two things in my house, and one outside it--I just get a bit of an itchy eye (the right one) and maybe a bit of a runny nose. No biggie. The problem, not my nose. My nose could be considered big, but the folks at the C-Pap offices continually sell me a medium mask because that's what my nose is.

... anyhow... as I was saying.... even though I have never been affected by an allergy like I had with this tree pollen, I have only just discovered it affected me for the past 26+ years until today.

I have corrected my blog - an amusing story - which you can read HERE.

Sorry if I misled anyone. My goal here has always been to provide you with correct information, or at the very least an explanation as to why I think my information is more correct than anyone else's.

Typos and grammatical errors aside--I really must learn to type, because I sure ain't gonna learn grammar gooder than what I knows now--I really want to thank my good friend and blog reader Vinnie, who writes to me everyday to help me correct such mistakes.

I hate editing. I prefer the research, the search, and the writing. I'm no longer in what order.

But do you know what really irks me the most? It's that Japanese teacher giving me the wrong information.

Stupid language barrier.  

Andrew "I should have learned the lingo" Joseph 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mining In Japan

After writing about the Hanaoka Mine incident of WWII (see HERE), I should note that I only found it after doing minor research on mining in Japan.

I still didn’t know what sort of elements were being mined.

As you might suspect, Japan isn’t rich in mining resources, but it does have small amounts of plenty of things that have enabled to have a “mining industry”—just nothing on the same scale as what Canada, China, Russia or the U.S., just to name a few examples.

Coal was a decent-sized industry, but depending on which coal source one was mining, the quality was either good or it was bad.

Over in Kyūshū - Japan’s southern part of the main islands—coal makes up about 40 percent of Japan’s industry, but it is of inferior quality, difficult to extract , but it continues because it is close to multiple Japanese ports.

Hokkaidō up in the north, is the other locale for the mining of coal. It’s operation yields about 45 percent of Japan’s coal resources, and it’s coal is of a good quality. Also in its favor is the fact that since the veins are wide, it can be mined mechanically. It’s drawback is that the majority of the mines are located well inland meaning it’s a bugger to transport out, or at least more cost prohibitive.

Nowadays, coal is used to burn and create steam to move turbines that create electrical power… something that has increased lately owing to Japan’s declining involvement in nuclear power generation after a check of facilities found Japan’s nuclear safety programs to be a sham.

This was was begun after a 9.0 Magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011 caused a super high tsuanmi to crash over and into a nuclear powered electrical generation facility in Fukushima. After power was lost to the six reactor facility, three of the reactors almost went into full-scale nuclear meltdown.

This led the country to perform an in-depth investigation into the protocols of all its nuclear reactors, eventually leading to the full-scale shutdown of them while the safety checks were performed. Six years after the initial concern, almost all Japanese reactors remain shuttered, meaning Japan has to get its electricity generated somehow. 

Coal, oil and gas are the solution, while the country struggles to determine if geothermal, wind or other energy sources might prove a more viable alternative.   

The burning of coal is, of course, is a heavy pollutant of the air.

I would have thought that one of the more plentiful metals available for mining in Japan would be iron, because iron and carbon makes steel… something every good samurai’s sword should be made from.

Samurai swords are more often than not, produced from tamaganane (玉鋼) - steel produced from iron sand, a form of iron ore.

However… outside of Hokkaidō and the northern parts of the Honshu island of Japan, iron is generally not found.

Iron pyrite, the slightly more technical name for Fool’s Gold, has been discovered in Honshū, Shikoku and Karafuto.

Perhaps surprising only to me, it is used in the commercial production of sulfur dioxide, which is used in the paper industry, as well as the manufacture of sulfuric acid.

Gold and copper are also found in fair amounts around Honshū, Hokkaidō and Karafuto.

This might blow your mind considering that silver used to be a huge mining industry in Japan, but there are currently no silver mines in operation… unless they are some small private concerns.

Even so, there were only four silver mines in Japan: Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, Konomai Gold Mine, Sado Mine, and Toi Gold Mine…  

At one point in time, silver from the Iwami Ginzan was considered to be of such high-quality that merchants around the world would place a monetary premium for it. Ill do a write-up on this one soon enough.   

Gold… because Japan had gold mines in Korea, getting a handle on just how much gold it produced over the centuries is tricky at best.

Oil. There were oil reserves in Akita-ken, Niigata-ken and Gunma-ken, but not enough to make anyone think they should join OPEC…

Mined Japanese Metals:
Cobalt, Copper, Gold, Iron, Lead, Manganese, Silver, Tin, Tungsten and Zinc.

Barium, Berillium, Bismuth, Cadmium, Chromium, Indium, Lithium, Mercury, Molybdenum, Nickel, Titanium, Uranium and Vanadium.

Mined Japanese Non-Metals:
Antimony, Arsenic, Boron, Germanium, Graphite and Sulphur.

Mined Minerals
Hard stone
Granite, Granodiorite, Diorite, Feldspar, Quartz (Silica stone), Sand (including silica sand), Petuntse (pottery stone), and Dunite.

Dolomite and Limestone.

Kaolinite, Sericite, Bentonite, Fuller's earth.

Soft Stone and Insulating Stone
 Pyrophyllite, Talc, Asbestos, Diatomaceous earth (it’s sharp edges have been used to kill bedbugs) and Perlite.

Emery (rock), Calcite, Gypsum, Fluorite, Zeolite, and Phosphorite.

I admit to taking the bulk of this information from Wikipedia, but I have at least tried to re-write the data where I could to simplify it.

Andrew Joseph
PS: Image above, is of course the Seven Dwarfs of Disney's Snow White fame. Shouldn't it be the Seven Dwarves? Or Seven Little People?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hanami In Toronto

After spending the beautiful Sunday afternoon inside working on transcribing an interview I did last week, I finished and dragged my lazy son out to the batting cages for some baseball swings.

Last year, his batting let him down... but after a course at a hitting clinic this past winter where everything just clicked, the hitting has come around.

I just wanted to watch him this time. While the pitching machine was only tossing 55 MPH balls - pitches most adults ahead of him were swinging and missing at, he was cranking those bad boys for what would definitely be home runs in his Peewee Select league... I'm coaching his team this year, so I admit I have more than a standard hope my kid does well investment.

On the way to the batting cage here in the west end of Toronto, we passed by scores of Asian (and other) folk perched under the 10-foot tall cherry trees in full bloom.

Mama mia! Hanami in Toronto? In April?

Hanami is flower watching (hana = flower, mi = eye/to watch) in Japanese... and it was kindda cool to see it happening here in Toronto.

I know it's not as spectacular as what Japan had two months ago, or Washington with all of the cherry trees gifted to it by Japan decades ago... but... whatever... it's the first time I have observed it personally since I left Japan in 1993.

I stopped the car and snapped a few shots after our batting practice... no room to park and walk over unless we spent 20 minutes walking... and I didn't want to do that to Hudson.

Anyhow... I know Toronto has a main cherry blossom viewing area in the High Park area, but I have to admit that I never got the whole hanami thing.

Yeah, okay, the Japanese work too hard and any excuse to commune with nature is a good excuse.

Me? I spend enough time outside during the spring and summer - cutting grass, did I mention 28 bags of yard waste over the past two weeks, and now coaching kid's baseball... three games a week and a practice... scouting other baseball teams looking for possible call-ups... writing blogs... so... screw sitting under a bunch of bug-infested blossoming trees munching on sandwiches and sucking back alcohol.

Man... I have changed... I really don't drink much anymore.
I don't know how anyone could sit down under these trees and have a beer next to the road - especially with Toronto's drinking laws.
Anyhow... how do people outside of Japan justify hanami? It's not a much needed break. It's just another excuse to do nothing.

I like nothing, but I don't have the time.

It's also why I didn't really get into hanami in Japan... like I said, the Japanese have an excuse... but me, as the visiting foreigner... I didn't work as hard as the natives. I only went to hanami because it was an excuse to get free drinks... no wait... I had to pay my own way when I went with the Ohtawara Board of Education office... team bonding... I get it... but since only two people spoke enough English... how much of that was there...

Oh well... for the people doing hanami in Toronto... I suppose it's a taste of Japan they miss, or simply have heard about and want to take part in.

Me? I'd rather hit a few balls with my son.

But for that one brief moment seeing people posing for pics under the trees... I almost felt transported back in time. Almost.

Go sit outside when you can.

Andrew Joseph

Sunday, April 23, 2017

No Man Is A Mountain

There’s a certain absurdity of life that I seem to embrace on a regular basis:

I am a weirdness magnet.

Over the years I have been doing this blog, I took about 5+ years to write about my entire three-year stay in Japan between 1990-1993.

One of my frequent topics—because it was a real part of my life—was the fact that no matter how close I seemingly was, at no time could I see Mt. Fuji… perhaps the most iconic representation of Japan.

I’d march up a volcanic mountain to the north of my home in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken… drop a coin in to the slot of some high-powered binoculars, swivel the damn thing around to the south west and try and spot Mt. Fuji some 100 kilometers away

Clear, blue skies overhead, but where I looked all I saw was a grey cover of mist as the mystic mountain was enshrouded by a rain storm.

Rain, snow, fog, mist, smog… it didn’t matter which, something would rear its ugly head to obscure my vision.

Now… this wasn’t such an obsession for me that I would try and spot the mountain every single day I was in Japan. It didn’t dominate my thoughts until such time as I was in an opportunity to supposedly see it.

I had traveled by it numerous times on the shinkansen bullet train… but I couldn’t see it thanks to the grey misty rainy clouds that hung low to the ground.

I even got off the train once at a town supposedly two or three kilometers south of Mt. Fuji… but no… mist… rain… and some stupid luck where the black and white film I had shot around the area was accidentally processed as color because who the hell had any black and white film?

I had friends visit from Canada, stay at my place and then travel down to Tokyo and over to where Mt. Fuji was supposedly hiding, climb the damn thing...

I had friends on the JET Programme do the same... and yet, every time I bothered to look, my white whale was nowhere to be seen.

I had actually given up in seeing Mt. Fuji in the flesh, so to speak, when it came time for me to go home at the end of my three, one-year contracts...

I flew home without a thought for the misty mountain, and instead made plans to return to see my girlfriend Noboko, flying back to Japan after a month's respite back in Toronto.

I stayed another month of fun and frivolous activity with Noboko, and pain and aggravation with Noboko as I unsuccessfully tried to convince her that a life would me would better than one under her powerful father.

During my three years in Japan, I had been on what any casual observer would have described as one helluva lucky or winning streak... but I knew it was all a house of cards.

Unlucky at cards, unlucky at love.

So I flew back home from Japan that last time... staring out the window from 20,000 feet up in the air, hoping I could still see Noboko--I really did think like that--staring back at Japan... my life that was, and realizing that the life that could have been had been crushed under the weight of the world.

And there... there out the damn window was Mt. Fuji... rising through the clouds like some magnificent giant's finger... giving it to me one more time.

It would have been funny if I hadn't already been in one of those moods knowing I would never see Noboko again...

Hey Andrew... looking for me?

Fug you.

That's what I thought.

But then I took it as another sign... just when I thought I was out, it dragged me back again... it was like it was telling me to never give up... everything comes to those who wait... just maybe not how you thought it would be... but there... see?

I whipped out my camera and tried to snap a photo of Mt. Fuji to prove I hadn't imagined the whole thing... that life was not just a dream...

I looked at the camera... I was already at 36 shots on my roll of 36 film... but I knew that if I had loaded it just right I could get 37 images.

I snapped one shot... the one at the top of this blog...

To me it was like Japan was telling me just one last time, kid, that you were lucky.

When I arrived home, I had culture shock like you wouldn't believe... still bowing on the phone, accidentally driving into the wrong side of the road... unbelieving that no one wanted to hear me talk about how great Japan had been for me, or about all the neat things about the country that would blow my mind...

Because I continued to lust after Noboko for one more year until my mother died the day before Noboko's birthday... or ON her birthday considering the time difference... I still had Japan on the brain.


When no one cares but you, a smart guy kindda gets the picture... and my momma didn't raise no fools.

I stopped talking about it.

I stopped thinking about it.

I certainly never wrote about it.

Bored with an endless stream of women working in jobs of questionable moral character (because that is what I had become), and going to the gym six times a week, two hours a day, taking supplements both legal and of questionable moral character, I had become someone I didn't recognize anymore.

And there was still this fledgling thing called the Internet that had been out for six years... and I had all these wonderful stories of my rife in Japan that I had written for various JET Programme newsletters... maybe I could create a blog (biographical log) of my time in Japan.

The thing with a blog, that I saw back in 1999, was that while there were a lot of blogs about Japan, they were all about a current stay... with almost all writing 100 words to describe something... with few delving within themselves to describe WHY something was, or how they really felt about Japan.

So I wrote this blog starting in 2009... to be true to myself and thus to Japan.... but still initially as a means to get those old stories out for someone to read.

Now eight years in... now nearly three times as long as my stay in Japan... now writing stuff about nothing and everything every single day sine February of 2011.

Fulfilling whatever prophecy Mt. Fuji had developed for me... to never get close enough to touch it... but just close enough to know it's there... and that I got to experience it.

Okay... I'm 13 hours late with this blog... too many things on the go...

Thanks for indulging me.

Andrew Joseph

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Jackie Robinson Comic Book From Japan

Because I was doing two baseball coaching courses on Saturday, I thought I would do a search for what is Japan’s rarest comic books.

Yeah, I know the two don’t have anything in common, except for the fact that it’s something I’m interested in.

I could not find any information on what is considered Japan’s rarest comic book, except that the country may actually have started comic book production back in the 1700s.

During my search, I found the above comic book… a Japanese version of a 1950 Jackie Robinson  Fawcett Comics (a division of Fawcett Publications) comic book originally produced in English for American audiences… I’m not sure, but I doubt it made its way to Canada.

Jackie Robinson is considered to be a pioneer in MLB (Major League Baseball) in North America, becoming the first Black ball player to play in the league since owners conspired together to keep out Blacks from the Major Leagues back in the 1800s.

It was pure and simple racism.

There was never any written rule that prohibited teams from employing a Black ball player in the MLB, but for 60 years - until 1947 - the unwritten rule was followed.

I’m not going to detail all of the hardships Robinson endured on his way to breaking (again) the MLB color barrier, suffice to say that he broke it first in the minor leagues, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers Triple A International League affiliate team the Montreal Royals back in 1946, where he was warmly received by the local community.

There are plenty of books, films and documentaries out there that do a decent enough job of describing what things were like for him.

By the way… in 1936… at the Berlin Olympics… we all know that Jesse Owens—a Black athlete, helped humiliate Germany’s Chancellor, der Fuehrer, Adolph Hitler—when he won the 100 meter race.

Jesse Owens also took the Olympic Gold in the 200 meter race, but what’s not as well known is the fact that Jackie Robinson’s older brother Mack (Matthew Mackenzie) Robinson took home the Silver Medal in that race.

Mack Robinson ran the 200 meters in 21.1 seconds, while Jesse Ownes set a world record at the rime running it in 20.7 seconds.

It’s a less known result because no Germans were involved in the final: After Owens and Robinson, Timus Osendarp of the Netherlands captured the Bronze, with Pail Hanni of Switzerland, Lee Orr of Canada and Will van Beveren of the Netherlands following in that order.
This panel is from the Jackie Robinson comic book. Note that the time of 20.7 seconds is the same, but it is for 220 yards, not 200 meters as run in the Olympics.
Back to Jackie Robinson.

As a successful Black athlete for the MLB Brooklyn Dodgers, Jackie Robinson paved the way for a whole slew of other great Black ball players to play in the MLB.

The negative side effect, however, is that the Black baseball players were being plucked from the Negro leagues - leagues which also included Latinos, which caused their eventual demise.

The Negro American League officially closed down after 1951…

Jackie Robinson was popular - as evidenced by the fact that Fawcett (the same comic book company that brought us Captain Marvel - that SHAZAM! guy known as the Big Red Cheese to those of us nerds in the know0 chose to put out a comic book on him. In fact, they put out six issue during 1950!

Because of Captain Marvel’s “passing resemblance” to Superman, National Periodicals (aka DC Comics) sued Fawcett comics for copyright infringement.

I had long thought that DC Comics had won the lawsuit, which is why the company stopped producing Captain Marvel material—we’re talking about a character that had in the 1940s actually outsold Superman!

However, by 1941, the case was dismissed when it was learned that National Periodicals had failed to secure a copyright on Superman for his appearances in the national newspaper strip.

In an appeal, it was 1951 when it was found that Captain Marvel was a copyright infringement of National Periodical’s Superman.

Now, I did know this - but didn’t put two and two together - but by the time the 1950s had begun, superhero comic books were on the major decline… even National Periodicals was close to halting production of Superman and Batman! Which is why Fawcett closed its doors on all its superhero books in 1953.
Reverse of the Japanese version of the Jackie Robinson comic book (above) maintained the same "autograph" message as the American one. Too bad, I would have enjoyed seeing it written in kanji, hiragana and katakana.
Fawcett allowed the copyright on the Captain Marvel name to run out… and it was grabbed by Marvel Comics, who created a cosmic character called Captain Marvel… whom we may see soon in one of these upcoming movies (one of my favorite characters).

DC Comics (the former National Periodicals) bought the rights to the old Fawcett superhero characters in the 1970s, but could not use the Captain Marvel as the titular character, instead having to call the books SHAZAM! with the subhead: The ORIGINAL Captain Marvel under it.

But I digress… the point is… we were talking about a 1951… when Fawcett was getting close to shutting its doors - it still thought it could make money by selling the popular English Jackie Robinson comic book as a translated version to Japan.

The Jackie Robinson comic book was printed in June 1950 and was distributed as an insert (furoku) within an issue of Chugakusei no Tomo (Middle School Friend) magazine.

The Japanese version is identical to the American version in that it has 32 pages and the same artwork—BUT the book opens in the traditional Japanese manner on the left (rather than the right)…

Hey  - at least Fawcett did a decent job with the reverse artwork... if they siomply flipped the film negative around for the photo cover shot, that Brooklyn "B" on the cap would have been backwards. 

It shows they were thinking.... 

This Japanese version appears to be a very rare comic book—not as many made for the Japanese market—and few surviving the 60+ years.

I don't know who did the original artwork or did the Japanese translation, but the English version was written by sportswriter Charles Dexter.
This year—2017—is the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson re-breaking the color barrier in the MLB.

You can read the ENGLISH version of the comic book by clicking HERE to
go to the website.

Andrew Joseph