Nikkei Chronicles #9—More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports

With most major sporting events, including the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, either cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are missing the experience of live sports. For this edition of Nikkei Chronicles, we invite you to share stories about Nikkei sports. It is our hope that sharing thoughts and recollections of pastimes that we love can help to unite and comfort us during a difficult time.

What makes Nikkei sports more than just a game for you? Perhaps you’d like to write about your Nikkei sports hero or the impact of Japanese athletes on your Nikkei identity. Did your parents meet through a Nikkei basketball or bowling league? Are you intrigued by an important chapter of Nikkei sports history, like the prewar Issei and Nisei baseball teams?

Submissions will be accepted until October 31, 2020, at 6 p.m. PDT.

All stories submitted that meet the project guidelines and criteria will be published in the Discover Nikkei Journal on a rolling basis as part of the More Than a Game series. Authors may submit multiple entries.

For more information, visit

Check out these other Nikkei Chronicles series >>

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sports en ja

In search of the two earliest Asahi players, Kodama and Tabata - Part 2

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Kaichi Tabata’s family in Japan

After the induction medal issue was settled, I received mail on November 27, 2019 from Keiichi Tabata in Japan.

Dear Mr. Shima, 

Let me introduce myself. I am Keiichi Tabata, grandson of Kaichi Tabata who is the first baseball player of Vancouver Asahi.

….My grandfather Kaichi Tabata was born in Suzuka City, Mie, Japan in 1895, married with Nobu and had seven children (4 boys and 3 girls). My late father Terukazu Tabata, the first son, was born in Vancouver in 1926 and stayed there four years until Kaichi and his ...

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sports en ja

In search of the two earliest Asahi players, Kodama and Tabata - Part 1

The Legendary Vancouver Asahi baseball team was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003 and in 2005, the Asahi team was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame. Although the Asahi team and the players were inducted, there were 26 Asahi players whose induction medals from the BC Sports Hall of Fame remained unclaimed by their families. It was because more than 60 years had passed since the team was disbanded in 1941 after the war broke out. Many Japanese Canadians including the Asahi players were forcibly interned into the interior camps without being allowed to ...

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sports en

Little League Baseball Then (1959) and Now (1992)

My first exposure to baseball was around 1959 when my parents signed me up for baseball through the Fresno Buddhist Church which sponsored youth athletic sports such as baseball. This form of church “Little League” consisted of teams from various churches, both Buddhist and Christian throughout the area. The teams were made up of Japanese American (Sansei) teens, ages 11 to 12, with a maximum of 12 players. I knew most of them from church and they lived in the city of Fresno and its suburbs. I was the lone outcast from the rural portion (Inaka) of Fresno. I never ...

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sports en

Bob Izumi, A Canadian Pioneer in Fishing

TORONTO — As Canada celebrates National Fishing Week in July, a name that has become synonymous with the pastime is Bob Izumi.

Born in Chatham and raised by a single father in Blenheim, Izumi credits his father as the driving influence in life. His love of fishing was fostered by his father, Joe, who often took him, his three siblings and neighbourhood kids fishing.

“He worked several jobs at once to keep the family afloat,” Izumi tells Nikkei Voice in an interview. “He worked seven days a week and any days off he would spend with the family and the local ...

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sports en

Fishing Four

My last fishing trip to the High Sierras was on Sunday, July 7, 2019. This was our annual family vacation away from our hectic life in the city. We would call ourselves the fishing four. My husband, John, started the fishing family tradition. He grew up fishing in Fresno. He never forgot the joy of fishing with his dad. Once his sons, James and David, were old enough to hold a fishing pole, he taught them how to fish the High Sierras. Now, it has become a Japanese tradition in our family. James and David were automatic members of the ...

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