City Journal: A Kinder, Gentler Sox Beat?

In Japan, reporters are famously deferential to public figures, institutions, and even each other (they often share notes at press conferences). And the courteous bunch of Japanese newshounds covering Matsuzaka-mania might be doing more than they realize for Boston’s notoriously antagonistic press corps. At spring training they were baffled by the natives’ journalistic techniques. “American reporters don’t hesitate to ask the same question over and over—they just use different words,” says Seitaro Shimomura of the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s largest paper. Smitten with American sports’ broad access (clubhouses are sealed off to the media in Japan), the city’s newest scribes have also formed a sort of pool system to keep order around Dice-K’s locker. Sohta Kimura of the Kyodo News wire service says the cooperation is born of custom—and crowd-controlling necessity. “We are all organized not to make a mess of the clubhouse,” he says.