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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


Stories from This Author

Thumbnail for Motoji Kodama, one of the founders of the Vancouver Asahi
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The Vancouver Asahi: The Search for Hall of Fame Medalists' Families
Motoji Kodama, one of the founders of the Vancouver Asahi

May 12, 2021 • Yobun Shima

As already explained in my preceding essays, many Vancouver Asahi players or their families didn’t receive their honorary medals despite being inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame because their contact information were unknown. Motoji Kodama was one of the founders of the Vancouver Asahi that was formed in 1914 as well as the Nikkei Canadian Baseball Team ”Nippon,” that was formed four year ahead of the legendary Vancouver Asahi Team. He is also one of the Asahi members …

Thumbnail for Yozaemon Kondo, Vancouver Asahi’s first player
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The Vancouver Asahi: The Search for Hall of Fame Medalists' Families
Yozaemon Kondo, Vancouver Asahi’s first player

April 16, 2021 • Yobun Shima

The legendary Vancouver Asahi, strongest Nikkei baseball team before WWⅡ, was little known in Japan. However, their induction news in 2003 and 2005 became a hot topic in Japan. Yuya Ishii directed a film in Japanese, The Vancouver Asahi in 2014, on the centennial of its formation. The film premiered at the 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival and received the People's Choice award. In Feb. 2011, three years ahead of the release of the film, there was an exhibition on …

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The Vancouver Asahi: The Search for Hall of Fame Medalists' Families
George Iga, a Seattle-based Vancouver Asahi Player

Feb. 17, 2021 • Yobun Shima

The legendary Vancouver Asahi Baseball Team was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003 and the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. Honorary medals were prepared for each Asahi player, but many remained unclaimed. In 2014, I happened to find that my late uncle Shoichi Shima, who was one of the earliest Asahi players, never received an induction medal. Subsequently, I received the medal on my uncle’s behalf. Since then, I have been voluntarily tracking …

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Nikkei Chronicles #9—More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports
Family History of Kenichi Doi, Vancouver Asahi pitcher in 1926

Nov. 9, 2020 • Yobun Shima

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 …

Thumbnail for In search of the two earliest Asahi players, Kodama and Tabata - Part 2
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Nikkei Chronicles #9—More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports
In search of the two earliest Asahi players, Kodama and Tabata - Part 2

Oct. 8, 2020 • Yobun Shima

Read Part 1 >> 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 …

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Nikkei Chronicles #9—More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports
In search of the two earliest Asahi players, Kodama and Tabata - Part 1

Oct. 7, 2020 • Yobun Shima

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 …

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The Vancouver Asahi: The Search for Hall of Fame Medalists' Families
Yobun Shima Uncovers a Baseball Legacy

Oct. 25, 2018 • Yobun Shima

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 …

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