Following the devastating losses of World War II, baseball drew Americans and Japanese back together, helping to restore what was lost in the conflict and to build a new relationship in the post-war world. The Japanese imperial family actively participated in restoring bilateral friendship through baseball. The American Occupation authorities, headed by General Douglas MacArthur, promoted the reinstatement of baseball at all levels – amateur, semi-pro, and professional – as a way to democratize Japan.

The first post-war Japanese baseball season opened in the spring of 1946, less than a year after the nation’s surrender to the Allies. To the delight of fans, the San Francisco Seals toured Japan in 1949. After the Occupation ended, the MLB teams traveled throughout Asia biannually to entertain American troops. Japanese baseball enthusiasts savored this new tradition.

To cope with the talent depletion caused by the war, Japan’s professional baseball clubs began importing Japanese American players from Hawaii and the U.S. mainland in the 1950s. Before an agreement with MLB allowed for more open player exchanges, these Nisei were at the vanguard of American players recruited into Japanese professional baseball.