Title

Performance review : God bless baseball by Toshiki Okada

Document Type

Other

Source Publication

Theatre Journal

Publication Date

9-2016

Volume

68

Issue

3

First Page

453

Last Page

454

Publisher

The Johns Hopkins University Press

Abstract

On December 28, 2015, just one month before the Chicago opening of God Bless Baseball, South Korea and Japan reached a “landmark” agreement on the compensation for Korean “comfort women,” or the victims of Japanese military sex slavery during World War II. Secretary of State John Kerry hoped the agreement between the two important allies would work in favor of the United States against rivals like China. Yet, the omission of the victims at the negotiating table suggests that this act was more about state interests and diplomatic convenience than redress for the violence inflicted upon so many bodies. In that sense, Toshiki Okada’s new play, God Bless Baseball, was a timely presentation of a complicated diplomatic situation. Commissioned by multiple public organizations, including the new Asian Arts Complex in South Korea, the play seeks to understand the entanglement of these nations via personal memories that materialize in baseball, a sport popularly enjoyed in all three countries. Invoking Irving Berlin’s patriotic 1918 song “God Bless America,” the title suggests the sport’s symbolic capacity to represent US hegemony, with the United States imagined as both umpire and father figure, and South Korea and Japan as the players and two brothers. However, the politics of framing the three states’ relationship in a homosocial kinship was largely left unquestioned, repeating the omission of “minor” voices incommensurate with official historical moments. The question is whether Okada still managed to recuperate the “minor” through other opportunities created in the play’s relationship with history, corporeality, and the audience.

DOI

10.1353/tj.2016.0079

Print ISSN

01922882

E-ISSN

1086332X

Publisher Statement

Copyright © The Johns Hopkins University Press 2016. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Yoon, S. R. (2016). Performance review: God bless baseball by Toshiki Okada. Theatre Journal, 68(3), 453-454. doi: 10.1353/tj.2016.0079