The second uprooting

When the war ended, the Nikkei were not allowed to return to their homes on the coast. Their property had been sold without their consent. They were now forced to disperse east of the Rocky Mountains or go to Japan.

Starting anew

Some former Asahis moved east with their families. There, they began the hard task of reestablishing themselves. The Sugas moved to Montreal where star pitcher Kaz Suga played senior baseball, the only nisei invited to try out for the Montreal Royals.

Teams form again

Some who had played on Asahi youth teams formed new clubs where they resettled. The Montreal Nisei Baseball Team won a city title in 1949, the year Nikkei were allowed back to the Pacific coast. The Vancouver Nisei won the 1953 city championship. In Toronto, former Asahi catcher Ken Kutsukake coached Honest Ed’s Nisei and the Westerns Baseball Club.

New generations Read More
The second uprooting

When the war ended, the Nikkei were not allowed to return to their homes on the coast. Their property had been sold without their consent. They were now forced to disperse east of the Rocky Mountains or go to Japan.

Starting anew

Some former Asahis moved east with their families. There, they began the hard task of reestablishing themselves. The Sugas moved to Montreal where star pitcher Kaz Suga played senior baseball, the only nisei invited to try out for the Montreal Royals.

Teams form again

Some who had played on Asahi youth teams formed new clubs where they resettled. The Montreal Nisei Baseball Team won a city title in 1949, the year Nikkei were allowed back to the Pacific coast. The Vancouver Nisei won the 1953 city championship. In Toronto, former Asahi catcher Ken Kutsukake coached Honest Ed’s Nisei and the Westerns Baseball Club.

New generations

Former Asahis continued to play and coach teams wherever they went. They passed on to new generations of young players the Asahi “brainball” technique and spirit of good sportsmanship. Rob Tanaka, born in 1971, was inspired by a long line of Asahis, with three Tanaka ballplayers and Ty and Kaz Suga in the family.

Mr. Ump

Roy Yamamura umpired Toronto Pee Wee baseball for over thirty years. “One year he was a guest of honour at a sports banquet with Ted Williams, the Boston Red Sox star. When Yamamura was introduced, the audience stood and applauded. Williams said to Yamamura, ‘It’s the first time I’ve seen an umpire given a standing ovation.’”

© National Nikkei Museum and Heritage Centre 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Kaz Suga

Kaz Suga in St. Jerome uniform, September 1951.

Courtesy of Pat Adachi
1951
© Courtesy of Pat Adachi


Video - Starting Anew

Kaz Suga and Bernard Lariviere in "Shirare zaru Kanada Asahi-gun," JNN Hodo Tokushu, TBS,

Translation :

[Kaz Suga] I was asked to play [in Montreal]. Not just for practice. He asked me to play, to play baseball. That’s what he told me. So I started playing with him. And he himself was of French descent. And he was very kind to me. He didn’t seem to care if I were Japanese, and he treated me as if I was like anyone else.

[Norio Goto] Were you the only one who was not Caucasian in the team?

[Suga] Yes.

[Goto] Everyone else was Caucasian?

[Suga] All Caucasian. I was the only Japanese anywhere I went. Any team you go to, only one.

[Bernard Lariviere] Hello, kid.

[Suga] How are you?

[Lariviere] You look as if you can go a few innings!

[Suga] Right, right, right.

[Bernard Lariviere] Kazu was accepted as a Canadian. Everyone liked him and he got along well with everyone. He is a really good guy. Kazu and I became good friends. I like him, not just as a baseball player, but as a human being. I wished we could have played longer. Still, we played ball together for at least ten years.
Through baseball, that’s how I met Kazu and many other people. Your nationality or the colour of your skin didn’t matter at all. Baseball helped a lot in that way. I think it would be good if there were more friendships like ours.

JNN Hodo Tokushu, TBS
1994
© JNN Hodo Tokushu, TBS


Rob Tanaka

Rob Tanaka, member of Canadian national junior baseball team, 1988.

From Pat Adachi, Asahi: A Legend in Baseball
1992
p. 186
© Coronex Printing and Publishing Ltd.


Postwat dispersal in Canada

A map that identifies the Postwar dispersion of Japanese-Canadians.

National Nikkei Museum and Heritage Centre

© National Nikkei Museum and Heritage Centre 2007. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Identify and discuss the social conditions of the Nikkei in Canadian society;
  • Describe the influence of Asahi on Canadian population;
  • Explain the positive aspects of such a sport organization;
  • Deduct, from the information given in the exhibition, an overview of Canadian society before the Second World War.

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