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1956 Japan Tour
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1956 Summary
1966 Japan Tour

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International Relations

Brooklyn Dodgers - 1956 Japan Tour  
After 20 minutes of talk between the Dodgers and Japanese officials, the game was resumed. Japanese officials later said Koshien Stadium, Japan’s largest, is never used at night after September 30 and the price of electricity restored would be prohibitive. They would have to pay a full month’s power bill for a few minutes’ use.
“At that point the Japanese officials told us we had to keep playing because the fans weren’t going home if they had to sit all night,” third baseman Jackie Robinson said.13
More than 450,000 fans would attend the 19 exhibition games, an average of almost 24,000 per game. The Dodgers returned to Tokyo on November 15 with tales of endless parades in the larger cities where laborers and clerks poured into the street to clasp the visitors’ hands.
Vice President Fresco Thompson said on November 5 that Brooklyn might invite two Japanese players to the United States to attend the Dodgers’ spring training. Thompson said it wouldn’t necessarily mean the Dodgers were interested in signing the players, standing pat on previous statements that the ballclub didn’t come to Japan to sign its players.
“But we are looking for a way to repay all of the goodwill we have experienced in Japan,” Thompson said, “and I think it might benefit Japanese baseball if some players could attend our training camp, where we stress fundamentals instead of conditioning, as they do here.”
The Dodgers followed through with an invitation for Suzuki to bring Yomiuri Giants Manager Shigeru Mizuhara to Dodgertown in Vero Beach, FL for spring training in 1957 along with his top battery, catcher Shigeru Fujio and pitcher Sho Horiuchi. The Giants’ group was amazed to see six training fields and more amenities for both training and recreational purposes on the 110-acre facility.
“While our stay in Vero Beach is rather short, we are learning many, many things, not only in baseball with respect to the real feelings of the American people toward the Japanese people,” Suzuki wrote. “I think this is the great merit of baseball, through which I am sure we will create a better understanding and friendship between the two baseball-loving nations of the United States and Japan.”

13 Asahi Evening News, November 6, 1956

The Brooklyn Dodgers drew overflow crowds throughout their 1956 Japan tour.

Shortstop Pee Wee Reese is the cover subject of the Dodgers’ exhibition program at Hiroshima Stadium.

The Tokyo Giants made their first team appearance at the Dodgers’ Vero Beach spring training camp in 1961.

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