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

What makes Nikkei sports more than just a game for you? Perhaps you’d like to write about your Nikkei sports hero or the impact of Japanese athletes on your Nikkei identity. Did your parents meet through a Nikkei basketball or bowling league? Are you intrigued by an important chapter of Nikkei sports history, like the prewar Issei and Nisei baseball teams?

For the ninth edition of Nikkei Chronicles, Discover Nikkei solicited stories related to Nikkei sports from June to October of 2020. Voting closed on November 30, 2020. We received 31 stories (19 English; 6 Japanese; 7 Spanish; and 1 Portuguese), with a few submitted in multiple languages. We asked an editorial committee to pick their favorites and our Nima-kai community to vote for their favorite stories. Here are the selected favorite stories. 

Editorial Committee’s Favorites

Nima-kai Favorite:

<<Community Partner: Terasaki Budokan - Little Tokyo Service Center>>

To learn more about this writing project >>

Check out these other Nikkei Chronicles series >>

sports en

Dave Roberts, Mr. Santa Barbara Dodger, Tommy Lasorda, and “Fred” Sinatra

When manager Dave Roberts and the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched a long awaited World Series title, the journalist in me felt pretty happy for one of the truly good guys I wrote about over the years as a player, coach, and skipper. As a fellow Nikkei, watching the Okinawa born Roberts, whose mother is Japanese and late father African American, the same scene elicited more powerful feelings within while triggering childhood memories of watching baseball games with Mr. Santa Barbara Dodger.

My Uncle Shizuo “Caesar” Uyesaka was given the aforementioned nickname while he was the president of the Los Angeles …

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sports en ja es pt

Why Coach Sports? Bob Kodama’s Legacy Coaching Youth Sports

My Father, Bob Seiko Kodama, was a Nisei born in Seattle, Washington in 1931. His parents operated hotels in Downtown Seattle. He spent the early part of his life exploring the waterfront. In 1942, along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans, Bob and his family were rounded up and sent to an internment camp. His family was sent to Minidoka, Idaho. It is hard to imagine what it is like to be 10 years old and be locked up by your country for how you look. While at Minidoka, Bob learned how to play baseball. He became good enough that when …

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sports en ja es pt

My Love and Life in Sports

Until my beloved wife Alice passed away suddenly last year, I considered myself the luckiest man in the world. We were happily married for 65 years and we had 4 grown children and 10 grandchildren. In perfect gender symmetry, we had two daughters and two sons, and they in turn gave us 5 granddaughters and 5 grandsons.

We did almost everything together—including watching lots of games. We first watched our daughters play JAO basketball and softball, high school archery, badminton, and basketball, and then volleyball and SCWAU basketball. We also watched our sons play CYC baseball and basketball, high school …

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sports en ja es pt

60th Anniversary: Close to the Heart

Letter to my granddaughter Karina and grandson Cristian:

It’s two o’clock in the morning and in the silence of the living room, I still see the Christmas tree with the lights turned off, rigid and noticeably transcendent. The colored balls possess the prelude of a nostalgia that memory has a certain magic charm to enjoy, even after the holidays are over: the presence of a ten-year-old girl and the mischievous impulsiveness of a six-year-old boy.              

There is an emblem of merry Father Christmas that conceals amidst his white beard the knowledge that the holidays …

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sports en

Stranger Skater From Nowhere

October 31, 2020

Wow, lost the first draft…

So going to write in one sitting.

Technology and me… I am more of an analog guy.

In typical skateboard fashion I started this project the last day, in the 11th hour…

I am “gosei” meaning 5th generation in Japanese, in western culture it would be considered 4th generation Japanese American, or just “Chinese, chinaman, or respectfully, chino.” I got sponsored in 1989, turned pro in ’95, retired from pro-skateboarding in 2003, and did a variety of the New York hustles to maintain. Now, my wife and I …

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442nd AELU baseball basketball bob kodama california children coaching Dave Roberts diversity family hawaii identity Julio “Pancho” Gushiken Los Angeles Dodgers nikkei sports nisei peru Poston racism Santa Barbara Dodgers skateboarding skater soccer Sports