About this project
We did it! Goal met! Now we get to take the funds and move forth with production.
But we still need your help to make this documentary. Please consider making a pledge toward our stretch goal. And, there are still many exciting reward gifts available!
It's been a very exciting week for baseball! The end of an era, the end of a curse, and we got to see two teams work very hard and entertain us! I felt it was a welcome distraction.
There is something very special about baseball. I believe that there are moments like these when even those who are not usually fans, see the magic and the possibilities. I've had the privilege of researching and seeing baseball delight, awaken, and bridge chasms of culture. Thank you for helping us to make this film!
We believe in Diamond Diplomacy!
We are a team of experienced documentary filmmakers who believe in Diamond Diplomacy, the hidden gem in baseball history that brings together the United States and Japan. In the wake of the 2016 Olympics and in this time of global uncertainty, we seek ways to reach across barriers to foster international friendships.
All donations will be tax deductible.*
Using the legacy of Masanori “Mashi” Murakami --the first Japanese Major Leaguer-- as a touchstone, Diamond Diplomacy follows the push and pull of U.S.-Japan relations played out on the baseball field. This never-before-told story of baseball in Japan begins in 1872 during the Meiji westernization, when Civil War veteran, Horace Wilson packs a bat and a ball into his steamer trunk and heads for Japan. More dramatic are the conflicts and resolutions surrounding World War II, when the two nations find common ground in their shared passion for the game.
On the diplomatic front, the ever-popular Babe Ruth raises spirits during the 1934 U.S. Goodwill Tour but these efforts fail to forestall war. While baseball and all things American are halted in Japan during the war, soon after, unofficial baseball ambassador Lefty O’Doul and Japanese-American lieutenant in the U.S. Occupation Forces Cappy Harada are called upon by General Douglas MacArthur to implement the 1949 San Francisco Seals Goodwill Tour.
Barely a generation post-WWII, a young Murakami becomes the first Japanese Major League Baseball player in 1964 almost by accident. A contract dispute ensues over the second season and begins a 30-year standoff between the professional baseball associations of Japan and the U.S. In 1995, Hideo Nomo finds a controversial loophole and signs with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He becomes the second Japanese Major Leaguer and opens the door for the now steady stream of players from Japan.
Where We Are Now
Diamond Diplomacy is currently in production and development. We have filmed several events and opportunities needing to be captured in a timely fashion. We hope to roll out with the rest of production as soon as possible with your help.
We are fortunate to have the support of the partners and funders below:
How We Will Use The Funds
Up until now, we have only filmed to capture special related events and preliminary interviews. We now plan to film interviews with several of our characters and coordinate an intensive production trip to Japan. The $40,000 will cover the staff, crew, equipment and travel expenses for the next round of filming, including the trip to Japan. It will also help cover the initial licensing costs to acquire archival materials from historical sources, family estate archives, and Major League Baseball.
Our Post-Season Stretch Goal
From $40,001-$60,000 will cover initial story editing to help move us toward a rough cut.
Our World Series Stretch Goal
From $60,001-80,000 will cover initial work with an animator to create Horace Wilson (our 1872 hero who took baseball to Japan from the U.S.) and initial consultation with a composer.
I often get asked, “How do you find your ideas?” Well, I think they find me. In the midst of finishing Mrs. Judo, my friend Dave invited me to a museum exhibit about the 1949 San Francisco Seal’s Goodwill Baseball Tour to Japan. That was the beginning of Diamond Diplomacy. Dave’s father, Con Dempsey, had captured delightful home movies of the baseball tour during the post-WWII occupation. Because I straddle both cultures, this was enough to pique my interest.
I began researching and quickly learned that baseball had been introduced to Japan in 1872! And of course this relationship is now going strong with players going back and forth from the U.S. and Japan. I also learned about some of the rougher baseball moments in the history. And as much as baseball gets into the movies, this story has never really been told.
From Mashi, I learned how cross-cultural understanding can be hit or miss, yet baseball can bring us together on the same playing field. There are some big names involved in this story too -- Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Lefty O’Doul and more. It has been quite the journey, producing Diamond Diplomacy. Please join in the fun and help us to finish the film!
Our Starting Line-Up
Our Coaches & Trainers
Author and baseball historian, Rob Fitts; Author and baseball historian, Robert Whiting; Author, baseball historian and history professor Rice University, Sayuri Guthrie Shimizu; Author and baseball historian, John Thorn; Author and Major League Baseball historian, Kerry Yo Nakagawa; Baseball historian, Tom Schieber; Stanford University Political Science Professor Emeritus, Daniel Okimoto: Bucknell University Asian Studies Dept. Chair, James Orr
How You Can Help
1) BACK THE PROJECT at whatever level you can. Every contribution -small and large - counts! Take a peek at some of the fun featured rewards collected and curated by our team along the baseball journey.
2) SPREAD THE WORD! It takes tremendous community support to fund a Kickstarter! Crowdfunding is about lots of people getting together to donate modest amounts of money. So, please, share our page on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Use our preset social media posts and pix xyz.com.
All donations (beyond the value of any reward received) are tax deductible through our fiscal sponsor, The Center for Independent Documentary. If you'd like to invest more deeply in the project, please get in touch!
New reward gifts added:
Thank you to all who came out to Lefty O'Doul's in San Francisco!
We had a great turnout and a fun party on October 17th! Thank you to all the generous donors who helped boost our Kickstarter by almost $4,000! And a big shoutout and thanks to Nick Bovis for hosting us at his baseball history museum, Lefty O'Doul's Restaurant and Bar - 333 Geary Street, just off Union Square in San Francisco. If you'd like to peek into our party, here is the Kickstarter Live Stream link: https://live.kickstarter.com/flying-carp-productions/live-stream/diamond-diplomacy-at-lefty-odouls
And special thanks for help and donations of gifts:
*All donations are tax deductible through Center for Independent Documentary (501c3), less the cost of reward gifts offered.
Risks and challenges
With the excitement of documentary filmmaking come the challenges. Things are constantly shifting and we as filmmakers need to be able to swing with the shifts. We are inherently flexible, frugal and excited by the opportunities that come when we are up at bat. One of the biggest challenges is to reach toward the goal to make the film. We all know that moment when we're nearing the finish. There are so many people involved and we will see this through. It is a gift to be able to do this. Thank you for believing in Diamond Diplomacy.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter