Horace Wilson (professor)

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Horace Wilson (February 10, 1843 – March 4, 1927) was an American expatriate educator in late 19th century Empire of Japan. He is one of the persons credited with introducing the sport of baseball to Japan.


Wilson was born in Gorham, Maine.[1] A veteran of the U.S. Civil War, where he fought for the 12th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment against the Confederates in Louisiana.

After the war, he was hired by the Japanese government as a foreign adviser to assist in the modernization of the Japanese education system after the Meiji Restoration. He served as a professor of English at Kaisei Gakko, the forerunner of Tokyo Imperial University.[2]

In either 1872 or 1873, Wilson decided that his students needed more physical exercise, and introduced them to the sport of baseball. Several weeks or months later, enough interest had developed for the school to sponsor a seven-inning game between the Japanese students and foreign instructors.[1] The first formal baseball team was established in 1878.

Wilson returned to the United States in 1877 and lived in San Francisco. He died in 1927 at age 84. Wilson was posthumously elected to membership in the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame by the special committee in 2003.[2]

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  1. ^ a b Solloway, Steve (May 20, 2007). "Gorham Man's Gift to Japan: A National Pastime". Portland Press Herald. Archived from the original on March 31, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Balcomb, Theo (March 28, 2014). "Japanese Baseball Began On My Family's Farm In Maine". All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved March 28, 2014.

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