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Godzilla, Baseball, Ink, FESPA and a Tale of a T-Shirt

At the FESPA world trade show in Munich a month or so ago I got a shirt at the Matsui ink booth.

Being a movie fan and a baseball fan I was intrigued. As a screenprint fan I was perhaps not so intrigued. The print is impressive for a 100% poly shirt, but the halftones on the face are not so… yeah, so back to the story.

What the Japanese writing roughly says is “Godzilla–Hydrogen Monster, Nuclear Fallen Child Created by Humans vs. Matsui– The Strapping Lad from Hokuriku. 108 Decisive Battles.” There is a play on words because “nuclear fallen child” is close to the Japanese word for seahorse, which is literally “fallen dragon child,” which pairs nicely with the fact that Hideki Matsui is from a seaside town in the Hokuriku region of Japan. The 108 decisive battles is a reference to the 108 RBIs Hideki Matsui hit in 2004, his second year playing in the US.

The original Godzilla story is from 1953. He is a monster created by a hydrogen bomb, with Japan still reeling from Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear attacks in WW 2 and also the Lucky Dragon 5 disaster where about 25 Japanese fisherman were injured or killed by the US test blast on Bikini Atoll.

“Godzilla” is also the nickname for Hideki Matsui whose face adorns this shirt. He is a Japanese born baseball player who came to notice as a high school baseball star in Japan. He played for the Yomiuri Giants in the Japanese major leagues and then left a highly successful career in Japan to play major league baseball in the US. He was the first NY Yankee to hit a grand slam in his first game, the first Japanese born player to hit a home run in a World Series game, and the first Japanese born player to be named World Series MVP. The nickname “Godzilla” was first a derisive term which was about his skin problems, but later became a term of endearment as a “monster” baseball talent hitting home runs at a prodigious rate.

The final part says 2017 FESPA in Hamburg, Germany.

There you have the Matsui shirt somewhat explained, though I didn’t get into the moire and posterization on Matsui’s face, except to say it isn’t easy printing on pure polyester shirts. The red ink is nice and flat and bright, and there is no dye migration…

Hideki Matsui’s Japanese baseball card.
Hideki Matsui’s baseball card during his Yankee days.
Matsui (“Godzilla”) hitting a monster homer.
Godzilla (the monster, not the baseball player or ink company…) snacking on a train.




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