Vancouver’s Asahis

Dr. Seitaro Nomura, Asahi Club president in 1920, served as a Vancouver City Senior Amateur Baseball League official in the early 1920s. The Asahi Club’s prominence in the city was reflected in the role Dr. Nomura and Mrs. Nomura, his wife, played in league events with Vancouver’s Mayor Gale and Consul Ukita of Japan.

Dr. Nomura inspired

In the summer of 1921, Dr. Nomura had an idea - to tour Japan with a team from Vancouver. For the tour he put together a team of a dozen Asahi players and four players from other city league clubs

Asahi All-Stars

Among the Vancouver Asahi All-Stars were seven pitchers: Mickey Kitagawa, captain of the team, George Tanaka, Ted Furumoto, Happy Yoshioka, Yuji Uchiyama who was manager of the Mikado youth team, Joe Brown, and Tat Larson, a giant over six feet tall with a fiery delivery. Infielder S. Iga from Seattle also came, along with coach Ernie Paepke from Vancouver.

Setting out

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Vancouver’s Asahis

Dr. Seitaro Nomura, Asahi Club president in 1920, served as a Vancouver City Senior Amateur Baseball League official in the early 1920s. The Asahi Club’s prominence in the city was reflected in the role Dr. Nomura and Mrs. Nomura, his wife, played in league events with Vancouver’s Mayor Gale and Consul Ukita of Japan.

Dr. Nomura inspired

In the summer of 1921, Dr. Nomura had an idea - to tour Japan with a team from Vancouver. For the tour he put together a team of a dozen Asahi players and four players from other city league clubs

Asahi All-Stars

Among the Vancouver Asahi All-Stars were seven pitchers: Mickey Kitagawa, captain of the team, George Tanaka, Ted Furumoto, Happy Yoshioka, Yuji Uchiyama who was manager of the Mikado youth team, Joe Brown, and Tat Larson, a giant over six feet tall with a fiery delivery. Infielder S. Iga from Seattle also came, along with coach Ernie Paepke from Vancouver.

Setting out

On August 25, 1921, the Asahi All-Stars boarded the steamship Kashima Maru and sailed to Japan, arriving on September 9. Centre fielder Eddie Kitagawa recalled, "It took us fourteen days to get there by boat and I was seasick the last eleven days."

Asahi Tigers

The club players who remained in Vancouver formed the Asahi Tigers during the 1921 season.

© National Nikkei Museum and Heritage Centre 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Vancouver Asahi Baseball Team

Vancouver Asahi baseball team, Powell St. Ground, Vancouver, B.C.

L-R: Yuji Uchiyama, P; Happy Yoshioka, C; Frank Nagano, P; T. Nimi, Sub. OF; Henry Ito, 3B; Eddie Kitagawa, CF; Yonemoto, LF; Dr. Nomura, Pres.; S. Matsumiya, LF; Oda, C; Bariki Kasahara, 2B, Mgr.; Mickey H. Kitagawa, P; Harry Miyasaki, 1B, Captain; Teddy Furumoto, P; Kikukawa, Sub.; Niichi Matoba, SS

Courtesy of the Kitagawa Family.
1920-05-08
© Courtesy of the Kitagawa Family


Vancouver Asahi All-Stars

Vancouver Asahi All-Stars on the deck of the S.S. Kashima Maru

Courtesy of the Kitagawa Family
1921
© Courtesy of the Kitagawa Family


Asahi Tigers

Vancouver Asahi Tigers, Powell Ground

L-R: S. Matsumiya, S. Kasahara, [unidentified], Fred Kato, Junji George Ito, Harry Miyasaki, Kajiki, Tom Matoba, Bull Oda, [unidentified], J. Hayami.

Courtesy of Reggie Yasui

© Courtesy of Reggie Yasui


Baseball is booming

Baseball’s popularity in Japan increased dramatically in the early 1920s. University teams had played the sport since the late 19th century. Starting in 1905 teams toured the United States, and later Canada. Dr. Nomura told the Vancouver Sun newspaper that "baseball in Japan is booming," and that Japan had created the world’s first baseball college.

Playing Japanese teams

The Asahis traveled widely in Japan to play a series of games against Japanese university teams. They played at Shibaura Grounds in Tokyo, and at Kawashima

Grounds in Hokkaido.Touring Japan

The Asahi players traveled to Osaka, as well as to Shiga where they picnicked on Kojin Mountain. They visited Japan’s famed on-sen, grand temples, and the village of Imamura.

Bridge across the Pacific

In Tokyo the Asahi All-stars were presented with a cup at Shibaura Grounds. They were the first baseball club to come from Canada to Japan on such Read More
Baseball is booming

Baseball’s popularity in Japan increased dramatically in the early 1920s. University teams had played the sport since the late 19th century. Starting in 1905 teams toured the United States, and later Canada. Dr. Nomura told the Vancouver Sun newspaper that "baseball in Japan is booming," and that Japan had created the world’s first baseball college.

Playing Japanese teams

The Asahis traveled widely in Japan to play a series of games against Japanese university teams. They played at Shibaura Grounds in Tokyo, and at Kawashima

Grounds in Hokkaido.Touring Japan


The Asahi players traveled to Osaka, as well as to Shiga where they picnicked on Kojin Mountain. They visited Japan’s famed on-sen, grand temples, and the village of Imamura.

Bridge across the Pacific

In Tokyo the Asahi All-stars were presented with a cup at Shibaura Grounds. They were the first baseball club to come from Canada to Japan on such a tour.

Esteemed Asahis


The Asahi ballplayers’ tour showed their relatives in Japan how successful Nikkei were in Canada. Their communities at home in British Columbia regarded the team with new respect. The Asahis’ popularity surged on their return to Vancouver.

© National Nikkei Museum and Heritage Centre 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Canada to Japan - 1921 Asahi Tour

Canada to Japan - 1921 Asahi Tour

National Nikkei Museum and Heritage Centre

© National Nikkei Museum and Heritage Centre 2007. All Rights Reserved.


Horii catching

Horii catching, Vancouver Asahi All-Stars vs. Rikkio at Shibaura Ball Park, Tokyo, Japan

Courtesy of the Kitagawa Family
1921
© Courtesy of the Kitagawa Family


Vancouver Asahi All-Stars

Vancouver Asahi All-Stars, Shibaura Ground, Tokyo, Japan

Courtesy of the Kitagawa Family
1921-11-12
© Courtesy of the Kitagawa Family


Vancouver Asahi All-Stars, Japan,

Vancouver Asahi All-Stars, Japan,

N. Oda, photographer
Courtesy of the Kitagawa Family
1921
© Courtesy of the Kitagawa Family


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Identify and discuss the social conditions of the Nikkei in Canadian society;
  • Describe the influence of Asahi on Canadian population;
  • Explain the positive aspects of such a sport organization;
  • Deduct, from the information given in the exhibition, an overview of Canadian society before the Second World War.

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