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

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?

For the ninth edition of Nikkei Chronicles, Discover Nikkei solicited stories related to Nikkei sports from June to October of 2020. Voting closed on November 30, 2020. We received 31 stories (19 English; 6 Japanese; 7 Spanish; and 1 Portuguese), with a few submitted in multiple languages. We asked an editorial committee to pick their favorites and our Nima-kai community to vote for their favorite stories. Here are the selected favorite stories. (*Translations of these selected stories are currently in process.)

Editorial Committee’s Favorites

Nima-kai Favorite:

<<Community Partner: Terasaki Budokan - Little Tokyo Service Center>>

To learn more about this writing project >>

Check out these other Nikkei Chronicles series >>

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 ...

Read more

sports en

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 ...

Read more

sports en

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

Read Part 1 >>

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 ...

Read more

sports en

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 ...

Read more

sports en

From the Bleachers

When I was little, I heard a quote said by American professional baseball player, Babe Ruth: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” This quote has stuck with me throughout my life and taught me that failure is undoubtedly part of the game of life but provides a learning opportunity to help us move forward. Babe Ruth’s words are applicable to the Falcons baseball program because although the Falcons no longer exist, the experiences and memories are integral parts of many Nikkei childhoods and are still alive for participants, parents, and coaches.

The ...

Read more