Yobun Shima

Yobun Shima was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan until working for a shipping company in Tokyo. His family members were living in Vancouver from around 1907 until the 1930's when they returned to Japan one by one except for one of his uncles who remained in Canada.

When Yobun retired from his work, he started to research the Vancouver Asahi baseball team after discovering that his uncle Shoichi was one of the first original players of the team. The team was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003 and BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. Yobun continues to track down unclaimed medalists of the team in cooperation with the BC Sports Hall of Fame, families of Asahi players, and other interested parties.

Updated October 2018

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Crónicas Nikkei #9—Más Que un Juego: Deportes Nikkei

Family History of Kenichi Doi, Vancouver Asahi pitcher in 1926

Kenichi Doi was a pitcher for the Vancouver Asahi baseball team in 1926 who originally played with the Cumberland baseball team on Vancouver Island B.C. Canada.

I am lucky that my friend Norm Ibuki introduced me to his close friend, George Doi, Kenichi Doi’s son, who shared his father’s history with me.

George was just a child during the height of Kenichi’s baseball days, so he does not have any memories of the actual games, other than getting into the back of an open truck to go to a game and watch it. In those days ...

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Crónicas Nikkei #9—Más Que un Juego: Deportes Nikkei

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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Crónicas Nikkei #9—Más Que un Juego: Deportes Nikkei

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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Yobun Shima Uncovers a Baseball Legacy

Yobun Shima was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan, and lived in Tokyo for most of his life, working for a shipping company until he retired about a decade ago. That is when he started tracing his family’s footsteps.

Yobun’s grandfather moved from Japan to Vancouver in 1907. A few years later, his grandfather’s family, including a son named Shoichi Shima, joined him. In 1914, Yobun’s father, Fred, was born in Vancouver.

Yobun discovered that his uncle Shoichi was one of the earliest members of the legendary Vancouver Asahi baseball team that played from 1914 to ...

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