TOKYO — Ambassador Caroline Kennedy welcomed Red Sox fans to her home on Jan. 21 to celebrate the 2013 World Series Championship.
Along with Tokyo’s own Musashi Fuchu Little League baseball world champions and representatives of Japan’s Women’s National Softball Team, the Red Sox Nation in Japan gathered to welcome Red Sox star pitchers Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa and to celebrate a sport that captures the imaginations of both the U.S. and Japan.
“Baseball has forged a special bond between Japan and the United States,” explained Kennedy, who had decorated her living room with framed photographs of key moments in baseball diplomacy. One photo showed Babe Ruth sitting with Japanese high school baseball players during a game in Tokyo in 1934, while two other photos featured Major League Baseball players visiting Tohoku shortly after the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
In her opening remarks, Kennedy thanked Major League Baseball for its continuing contributions to the U.S.-Japan relationship, saying, “You and your players — past and present — are ambassadors of goodwill to millions of fans here in Japan. Thank you for continuing the great legacy of baseball diplomacy between our two countries.”
Uehara responded to the ambassador’s remarks by thanking her and the rest of the Red Sox Nation for their support of his team and of the U.S.-Japan relationship. MLB Vice President for Asia Jim Small confirmed during his remarks that MLB intends to continue its partnership with the embassy and the Tomodcahi Initiative to promote sports exchanges and assist the young people of the still-recovering Tohoku region.
Guests at the reception included Japanese Baseball Commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki, former Major League star and 2009 World Series MVP Hideki Matsui, and Maestro Seiji Ozawa, a member of the Red Sox Nation.
Guests had an opportunity to pose for photos with the World Series trophy and with Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster, as well as with the players.