Following the turn of the century, many American champion squads traveled overseas. One of their frequent destinations was Japan, where before the advent of a professional organization, collegiate and high school baseball were the most popular forms of sport entertainment. Teams from Waseda and Keio Universities, among others, likewise toured Hawaii and the U.S. mainland to connect with their American counterparts.

Within the Japanese American community, the U.S.-born second generation, or Nisei, began to occupy the rosters of minority baseball squads in the 1920s. As Nisei youth visited Japan on various scholastic and cultural tours, the Seattle Asahi and other clubs barnstormed across the homeland of their Issei parents, meeting relatives and experiencing their families’ heritage.

During this time, a variety of American professional baseball clubs composed of those barred from playing in the Major Leagues, such as women and minorities, also ventured to Japan. Spearheading this entrepreneurial American baseball caravan were an all-women traveling professional squad and an all-African American team, both from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These professionals paved the way for the celebrity players who would swagger to the forefront of U.S.-Japan baseball diplomacy in the turbulent 1930s.