Wednesday, October 26, 2011 | Categories: Documentaries
It was an anniversary that passed with little fanfare. Last month, on September 18th, a group of baseball players gathered in an old park in Vancouver's downtown eastside. They were there to pay their respects to the Asahi, a Japanese-Canadian baseball team that played its last game in the same park 70 years earlier.
There are just a few of those original Asahi players left today. This was perhaps the last chance to thank those men for what they meant to the community. It was also a chance to think about their legacy.
Back in the 20s and 30s, the Asahi was the sporting cornerstone of a bustling neighbourhood, the pride and joy of Japantown. But then the Second World War came ... and then Pearl Harbour ... and Ottawa ordered Japanese-Canadians off Canada's west coast. Twenty-two thousand people of Japanese descent were rounded up and sent to camps in the BC interior. Families were torn apart, and many never returned to the west coast.
Japantown quickly withered and died. And the Asahi baseball team was suddenly no more.
But as you'll hear in John Chipman's documentary, Morning Sun, that wasn't the end of baseball for Canada's Japanese.