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Whitesox029
01-29-2005, 09:21 PM
There has probably already been a thread on this, but does anyone here have any idea why Ichiro Suzuki has his first name on his back? (no, I did not just notice this; I was just thinking about it since at the press conference, Gooch's jersey has his last name on it, and I've never seen it done that way for any other player. I've also never heard anyone address this before, which would explain why I don't understand it.
A visual:
http://cache.gettyimages.com/thumb/51033598.jpg?x=x&a=51033598&b=editorial&t=1

NonetheLoaiza
01-29-2005, 09:27 PM
I know Yao has his first name on his jersey too. I thought I heard that its respectful in certain parts of different countries to have the first name on the backs. I could be wrong...

Johnny Mostil
01-29-2005, 09:28 PM
Short story: because Suzuki is too common a name in Japan.

Longer story, from http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=lukas/041216:

>>
Meanwhile, there's the matter of Ichiro Suzuki, who wears "Ichiro" on his jersey. A sizable contingent of "Gotcha!"-minded readers took Uni Watch to task for referring to this as his first name, many of them offering impromptu tutorials in how Asian cultures put the family name first and the given name second (which is why Yao Ming wears "Yao" (http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20041205/capt.txtj10112050246.76ers_rockets_txtj101.jpg) on his uniform).




Thanks, gang, but you're all wrong. Ichiro is indeed his given name and Suzuki his family name. Here's some additional context, courtesy of T. Scott Brandon of the Society for American Baseball Research:




"Although it is Asian custom -- still frequently observed in Japan -- to use the family name first, the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB or, as we in America call it, the Japanese League) has traditionally used the 'first/last' name format. Players on NPB teams, other than Ichiro and a few other notable exceptions, wear their family names in English on the backs of their uniforms."




So why did Ichiro wear "Ichiro" while playing for the Orix Blue Wave (http://cache.gettyimages.com/comp/51667389.jpg?x=x&dasite=MS_GINS&ef=2&ev=1&dareq=CB711602F2C0BA52501AD08EA9DFB09AA9C30E9B9B11 4CE8) in Japan? Michael Westbay, system administrator of the excellent JapaneseBaseball.com (http://japanesebaseball.com/), explains:




"Suzuki is a common name, and when Ohgi-kantoku took over as manager of the team in 1994, he assigned an unknown kid his first name on the back of his uniform: Ichiro. This was done under the guise of 'fan service,' to promote more interest in the team ... Ichiro became a household name that year, as he became the first player to break the 200-hit barrier in Japanese baseball history."
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Whitesox029
01-29-2005, 09:35 PM
"Suzuki is a common name, and when Ohgi-kantoku took over as manager of the team in 1994, he assigned an unknown kid his first name on the back of his uniform: Ichiro. This was done under the guise of 'fan service,' to promote more interest in the team ... Ichiro became a household name that year, as he became the first player to break the 200-hit barrier in Japanese baseball history."
<<
Only after posting this here did I bother to google it...I saw a slightly different story, that his manager did this only after he became a star in japan so he wouldn't be "just another Suzuki." In other words, to set him apart in name as well as in ability from all the other Suzukis.

Johnny Mostil
01-29-2005, 09:43 PM
In other words, to set him apart in name as well as in ability from all the other Suzukis.

I think I'm going to start paying attention to what "Smith" jerseys say. Did Emmitt's say "E. Smith" or "Emmitt Smith" or anything besides just plain Smith?

SOXintheBURGH
01-29-2005, 09:43 PM
We discussed this at some length in a thread the other day.. I think in the monstrous Iguchi to SOX thread.

FightingBillini
01-29-2005, 11:03 PM
I think I'm going to start paying attention to what "Smith" jerseys say. Did Emmitt's say "E. Smith" or "Emmitt Smith" or anything besides just plain Smith?

Emmitt's jersey has always said E.SMITH on the back, even though I dont think he has ever played with another Smith.

ChiSoxRowand
01-30-2005, 01:36 AM
When both the Alomars were with the Sox didn't both of them just have Alomar on the back?

DiGiSyKo
01-30-2005, 02:34 AM
Emmitt's jersey has always said E.SMITH on the back, even though I dont think he has ever played with another Smith.

kevin and darrin smith from the mid-90s dallas team... i'm sure there was more

popilius
01-30-2005, 04:01 AM
I have a couple friends who are Japanese, and they had thought that Ichiro may have chosen to "Ichiro" on his back becuase in Japan, the family name is said first. For example, when introducing someone, you would say, "this is my friend, Thomas Frank," (instead of Frank Thomas). Thus their should be a distinction when talking about "last" name and the "family" name.


In essence, "Ichiro" really is his last name when spoken, becaus his family name is spoken first (Suzuki).

:gulp: