Baseball was introduced to Korea in 1905 by Philip Gillette, a YMCA-affiliated American missionary. The sport spread to schools through games played against the YMCA team. However, baseball games were banned until the end of World War II due to the Baseball Control Proposal, enacted in 1932, and the war mobilization effort due to the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937. Immediately following the end of World War II, baseball was restored in Korea along with the desire of the Korean people to establish an independent country. The US Military Government tried to propagate the idea that their governing system was based on “liberty,” unlike the empire of Japan, by hosting cultural projects such as the “Jomi Baseball Game”. From this perspective, cultural forms, such as a baseball, were inseparably linked to the political strategy of the US Military Government during the outset of the Cold War, which led to the establishment of a liberal democratic independent country.
Moongi Cho is with the College of Physical Education, Kyung Hee University, Yongin, Korea.