Ed Odeven Reporting

Robert Whiting is an expert on Japanese culture, history, sports, the criminal underworld, among other topics. He has a million stories to tell about the things he’s observed in the decades he’s lived and worked in Japan as a student, author, columnist, journalist, lecturer and pundit.

In his timeless classic, “You Gotta Have Wa ” (published in 1989), Whiting wrote a brilliant book about the clash of cultures, Japanese and American, through the prism of Japanese pro baseball. The book remains an important guide for understanding how things operate in Japan.

Legendary journalist David Halberstam once said, “What you read (in You Gotta Have Wa) is applicable to almost every other dimension of American-Japanese relations.”

The Tokyo-based Whiting’s excellent Japanese language ability has enabled him to gain far deeper insights into the Japanese culture than most other foreigners who have moved to the East Asian nation.

This summer, Whiting began a…

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