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 new weekly podcast, “Robert Whiting’s Japan,” and, at the time of this writing on a rainy Monday evening, three episodes have been recorded and posted online.
On the podcasts, Whiting discusses a wide range of topics — current events, Olympic history, politics, sports, to name a few — with Jack Gallagher, a veteran sports journalist and former PR executive in the NBA and the World League of American Football. The two men have a strong rapport and their conversations flow with ease. This format gives Whiting a relaxed opportunity to talk about things he’s observed, experienced and remembered.
Whiting’s ability to recall details, big and small, about people, places and events that occurred in 1963 or 50 years later gives the listener an hour-long treat.
Here’s a link to the show’s Soundcloud page: https://soundcloud.com/robert-whitings-japan/robert-whitings-japan?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=email
Here’s the podcast’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robert-Whitings-Japan/884989488216035?fref=ts