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Mister Giants
What Was Nagashima Shigeo in 1963?
Date:07, May, 2020
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
About our introductory articles


Hello. Today I'm talking about a Japanese old film "Mister Giants" released in 1964 February. Have you ever watched? Probably no. Somehow they don't sell the DVDs, and you are so hard to find the film itself. What's the story about? The "Giants" means Yomiuri Giants. It is a professional baseball team based in Tokyo, established in 1934. And Mr. Giants means Nagashima Shigeo born in 1936 Chiba. The story is almost about Nagashima Shigeo and Yomiuri Giants in 1963, just before Olympic games held in 1964 Tokyo.

What is Nagashima Shigeo? you might ask. He is a Japanese popular baseball player who'd belonged to Yomiuri Giants from 1958 to 1974. But I suppose he is almost unpopular today. So first I shall explain what he was.

Nagashima Shigeo was born in 1936 when Japan didn't have Japan-China War yet. Naturally, World War 2 was not there. They say he loved baseball in his childhood.

In 1958 when he was 22 years old, he graduated from Rikkyo University and joined Yomiuri Giants. They had recognized his ability and talent while he was a student, and they so welcomed him. He debuted in 1958 April. And he struck out in all four of his at-bats by Kaneda Masaichi for the Kokutestu Swallows.

Was he useless? No. He participated actively in 1958 Yomiuri Giants so much more than any rookies. Finally, he got awarded the Rookie of the Year Award. Star was born. Pro-baseball fans were mostly absorbed in Nagashima Shigeo. He seemed kind of heedless, but played so dramatically. No doubt about that all Japanese baseball boys longed to be like him.

Nagashima Shigeo was a favorite of the times in 1960's. And it was so natural they planned to make a film whose main character was him. And then, the film "Mister Ginats" was produced. It is a semi-fiction which shows how spectacular and how hard he was in 1963. Surprisingly, Nagashima Shigeo played himself in the film. Not only him, appeared other then professional baseball players like Hiro-oka Tatsuro, Kawakami Tetsuharu, and Oh Sadaharu.

I am unsure what you feel by watching this movie. But I am sure it works as a material for knowing what the times were. In 1945, Japan lost against World War 2. And they had to work so hard to rise up from burnt‐out ruins. I suppose Japanese people were mostly very tired and needed a star to cheer them up. And Nagashima Shigeo appeared there. Time flied and Japan introduced the floating exchange rate system in 1973, which made the yen stronger. It means Japan rose higher in 1973. And next year 1974, Nagashima Shigeo expressed his retirement.

about Mister Giants

・Directed by Saeki Kozo
・Written by Yasumi Toshio
・Produced by Sato Ichiro, Kinbara Fumio
・Distributed by Toho
・Released on Feb. 20, 1964
・Running Time: 90 minutes





 

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