Japan in Vancouver

Photo by Major J.S. Matthews from the City of Vancouver Archives website

Photo by Major J.S. Matthews from the City of Vancouver Archives website

With eyes gazing up towards the azure sky, you sink your feet deep into the grass as a fine film of pink petals cascade over you like a delicate Japanese blanket. With nearly 40,000 cherry trees throughout the city, Vancouver transforms into a rose-coloured wonderland as a full spectrum of pink blossoms emerge from their wintery slumber. Further to this, a taste of Japan can also be found in an impressive selection of dining venues, cultural events and annual festivals that simutaneously serve as both transportive experiences while also paying tribute to a culture that helped to shape the city.

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Japan in Vancouver

Vancouver’s Forgotten Japanese Baseball Club

Although it may not look like it now, Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside was once a baseball diamond – home field for the Vancouver Asahi, an all-Japanese baseball club formed in 1914.  Earlier this month, a ceremony honored the nearly forgotten team, 70 years to the day the club was disbanded and its players sent to internment camps.

The story of the Asahi is among the most fascinating, and little-known, chapters of Vancouver’s early history (as related in this great Vancouver Sun article). The team was started in 1914 when businessman Harry Miyasaki brought together the best amateur players from British Columbia’s fast-growing Japanese population.  The club, known as the Asahi Tigers,  competed against the city’s white ball clubs during the early days of baseball.

And they kicked some butt.

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Vancouver’s Forgotten Japanese Baseball Club