The Tourism Bureau announced yesterday that Taiwanese baseball player Yang Dai-kang (陽岱鋼) would serve as its goodwill ambassador in Japan next year, expressing its hope that Yang’s popularity would help attract more Japanese to visit Taiwan.
The bureau’s deputy director-general Chang Hsi-tsung (張錫聰) said Yang is an outfielder for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in the Nippon Professional Baseball league.
Chang added that Yang had succeeded in stealing base 47 times in the Japanese professional baseball season this year, making him the “King of Stolen Bases” in Japan’s Pacific League. He also won the league’s Golden Glove Award this year and last year.
Aside from his impressive athletic performance, Chang said Yang was chosen because of the player’s post on his Facebook page, through which he expressed his love for his country.
“I want to do whatever I can for my country while I still can, even though what I can do on my own is very little,” Yang wrote. “Who would love Taiwan if we, as Taiwanese, do not even love the country ourselves?”
Yang said in the press conference yesterday that he volunteered to be goodwill ambassador without asking for any compensation.
“I hope I can help because this country has done a lot for me, and it is my obligation to contribute to Taiwan,” he said.
Asked where in Taiwan he would bring his Japanese friends to visit, he said it would be the nation’s temples.
“Unlike Japan, where people have to go to several different temples to pray for different things, people in Taiwan can just go to one temple and pray for a lot of things,” he said.
Yang and his wife filmed a promotional video for the Tourism Bureau, in which they recommend different sites tourists can visit during each season of the year.
He is scheduled to attend a series of events organized by the bureau next year.
The bureau is to work with the Nippon-Ham Fighters to set up billboards about the tourism in Taiwan in the Sapporo Dome, Chang said.
During the baseball season, the team would also help host events like a “Taiwan Day” or a “Taiwan week” to introduce Taiwan to more Japanese, he added.