Maehata Ganbare! Nation, Narration, and Immediacy in Early Japanese Sports Broadcasting

Maehata Ganbare! Nation, Narration, and Immediacy in Early Japanese Sports Broadcasting

Kerim Yasar - Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages & Cultures, University of Southern California

Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Room 301, Rosenkranz Hall See map
115 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511

The advent of sports broadcasting in Japan in the 1920s necessitated the creation of new forms of oral narrative performance. The sporting events themselves offered the narrative frame, and the task before the radio broadcaster was to present that bare sequence of events with enough structure and art to hold the audience’s attention to a spectacle that they couldn’t actually see. The contemporary discourses around these broadcasts traded on the rhetoric of an immediacy that was undeniable while also being, in many ways, a consensual fiction. The first half of the presentation outlines the beginnings of sports broadcasting in Japan, situating it within a larger media landscape of print media and sound recordings. The second half is an extended consideration of what is perhaps the most famous sports broadcast in Japanese history, Kasai Sansei’s calling of Maehata Hideko’s first-place finish in the 200-meter women’s breaststroke at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. 

Kerim Yasar is Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California, where he specializes in modern Japanese literature and cinema, media history, and translation studies. His first book, Electrified Voices: Auditory Technology and Culture in Japan, 1868-1945 (forthcoming from Columbia University Press in 2018), examines the roles played by the telegraph, telephone, phonograph, radio, and sound film in the discursive, aesthetic, and ideological practices of Japan from 1868 to 1945. He is also active as a translator in a variety of genres and media, from contemporary novels to pre-modern poetry to the subtitles for more than a hundred feature films in the Criterion Collection/Janus Films library, including classic works by directors such as Kurosawa Akira, Ozu Yasujirō, and Oshima Nagisa. He was previously Assistant Professor of Japanese at Ohio State and a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at Princeton University.