January 11 proclaimed as Vancouver Asahi Day

Ken Sim, Mayor of the City of Vancouver, on behalf of Vancouver City Council proclaims January 11, 2024 as Vancouver Asahi Day.

The Asahi Baseball Team was formed in 1914 and through hard work and determination they developed a strategic style of play named “brainball” utilizing speed, squeeze plays, and smart defense. The team broke racial barriers and brought together baseball fans from across Vancouver and BC, winning the hearts and respect of all who loved the game. In 1919 they won their first league championship and over the next 20 years the team would go on to win multiple championships. They were an inspiration to young baseball fans including Kaye Kaminishi, the last surviving team member who joined the team as a rookie in 1939.

In 1941, Canada declared war on Japan and in 1942 Japanese Canadians along the west coast were forcibly uprooted to sites of internment and dispossessed. Kaye and his teammates’ baseball careers were cut short and the Asahi Baseball Team never came together to play another game again. Many players continued to share their love of the game by playing and coaching children during internment.  Kaye Kaminishi continues to honour the spirit of the Asahi by supporting and encouraging the next generation of baseball players on the Shin Asahi Baseball Team. Join us in celebrating Vancouver Asahi Day and in the words of Kaye “It’s good!” Happy 102nd Birthday, Kaye!

Visit nikkeimuseum.org to explore Asahi Baseball Team photos and more.

Executive Director Karah Foster (left) and Collections Manager Lisa Uyeda (right) attended the Vancouver Asahi proclamation ceremony at the Vancouver City Hall on January 11, 2024. Photo: Deb Saimoto.

The following photos are by photographer Lydia Nagai @lydianagaiphoto from the Vancouver Asahi Day proclamation ceremony on January 11, 2024 at the Vancouver City Hall.