Exhibit Opening - Oregon Nisei Baseball: the Early Years

  • en

Sep 200814 Jan 20099

Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center
121 NW 2nd Ave

Portland, Oregon
United States

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, we are revisiting the very first exhibit put on in 1998. Originally curated by Miki Yasui and a team of community baseball advisors, the exhibit features black and white images of local Nisei teams and NW tournaments. Join us for this fun-filled and nostalgic exhibit, which runs through January 11, 2009.

By the time the Nisei (second generation Japanese American) were reaching their late teens, teams were forming in Nikkei communities all over the state. In the heyday of Nisei baseball, during the 1930s, teams from all over the Northwest would compete with each other in tournaments organized by various Japanese associations throughout the Northwest.

Because of its size, Portland was able to field several teams. In smaller towns, organizers might have had to go to neighboring communities in order to assemble a single, full team. Players for the Nisei Athletic Club in Hood River were scattered among outlying towns such as Mosier, Bingen, and White Salmon, Washington. Some came from as far away as The Dalles and Deschutes River. Needless to say, team practices were rare and on occasion a player from an opposing team might be "borrowed" to fill in for a missing team member.

Nisei baseball teams continued to develop into the 1940s but were abruptly halted by the onset of World War II and the internment of all Nikkei on the west coast. Baseball was played in the camps, although the old teams were broken up. Following the war, interest in baseball started to decrease and many of the teams played for only a few more years or were not revived at all. Most Nisei were starting families and careers that would draw them into the mainstream of American life. Amateur baseball itself was becoming more institutionalized with Little League and school teams starting to offer more opportunities for players.

Please join us for this historic exhibit celebrating the Nikkei community spirit, the tenth anniversary of the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, and to welcome new Executive Director Mari Watanabe, who will be in attendance at the reception on September 14 from 1:30-3:00 p.m. with David Yamashita, President of the Oregon Nikkei Endowment Board of Directors.

Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center (ONLC) is a Japanese American history center that preserves and shares the history and culture of Japanese Americans in Oregon. A project of the Oregon Nikkei Endowment, the ONLC creates and hosts exhibits, provides speakers for schools and community organizations, offers public programs, records videotaped oral histories, and preserves historic documents and artifacts.

Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center



Login or register to add tags

Oregon_Nikkei . Last modified Jul 09, 2010 12:11 p.m.

Get updates

Sign up for email updates

Journal feed
Events feed
Comments feed

Support this project

Discover Nikkei

Discover Nikkei is a place to connect with others and share the Nikkei experience. To continue to sustain and grow this project, we need your help!

Ways to help >>

A project of the Japanese American National Museum

The Nippon Foundation