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

sports en ja

The Vancouver Asahi: The Search for Hall of Fame Medalists' Families

Motoji Kodama, one of the founders of the Vancouver Asahi

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 whose induction medal was unclaimed.  

Motoji Kodama was born in Hiroshima, Japan in 1877. In 1898, at the age of …

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sports en ja

The Vancouver Asahi: The Search for Hall of Fame Medalists' Families

Yozaemon Kondo, Vancouver Asahi’s first player 

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 immigration to North America in Hikone City, Shiga where many Asahi players were from. In the exhibition, a group photo …

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sports en ja

The Vancouver Asahi: The Search for Hall of Fame Medalists' Families

George Iga, a Seattle-based Vancouver Asahi Player

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 down those Asahi families with unclaimed medals.

One of the medalists was George Iga. With huge support from Dr. Marie …

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sports en ja es pt

Nikkei Chronicles #9—More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports

Family History of Kenichi Doi, Vancouver Asahi pitcher in 1926

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 back of an open truck to go to a game and watch it. In those days, everybody loved baseball—as a …

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sports en ja

Nikkei Chronicles #9—More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports

In search of the two earliest Asahi players, Kodama and Tabata - Part 2

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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 Terukazu Tabata, the first son, was born in Vancouver in 1926 and stayed there four years until Kaichi and his …

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