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.

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Check out these other Nikkei Chronicles series >>

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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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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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Exceeding All Expectations

Keston Hiura has made a habit of breaking barriers and smashing stereotypes on his way to major league success.

Most sports fans understand that the challenges for any young man or woman to achieve a career in professional sports are numerous and often unforgiving. But some of the toughest hurdles are the perceptions or misperceptions that certain scouts may hold involving a prospect’s size, character, background or even ethnicity.

Keston Hiura heard that he had a perceived weakness that had nothing to do with his baseball abilities, but instead focused on his overall priorities: the fact that he intended ...

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George Taniguchi: The Nisei Who Took Horse Racing by Storm - Part 2

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A wall in George’s home is adorned with three large, framed collages, each one highlighting a milestone race in his career: his first win, his biggest monetary win, and one race that made horse racing history. His very first race took place on March 8, 1954, at Bay Meadows in San Mateo. “I was pretty nervous on that. I tried to hide it but my hands were all wet.” His first mount was Radio Message and he came in a respectable third. Three days later the same track was sloppy; that is, wet and muddy. But ...

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George Taniguchi: The Nisei Who Took Horse Racing by Storm - Part 1

Strength is not just a tool for winning, it is necessary for survival. Jockey Johnny Longden was once rammed in midrace, knocked from his stirrups and sent flying downward in front of a pack of horses. He was saved by a jockey riding alongside him, George Taniguchi, who was so powerful that he was able to catch Longden with one hand…and righted him in the saddle, also with one hand. Incredibly, Longden won the race. The Daily Racing Form called it “the ultimate impossibility.”

From Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit: An American Legend (2001)

Not long after Laura Hillenbrand’s ...

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