Kaye Kaminishi of the legendary Vancouver Asahi Baseball Team receives the Thomas Shoyama Lifetime Achievement Award at 2019 Thomas Shoyama Sakura Gala



Nikkei Place Foundation
220-6688 Southoaks Crescent
Burnaby, BC  V5E 4M7

BURNABY, BC – Kaye Kaminishi, third baseman for the legendary Vancouver Asahi Baseball Team, will receive this year’s 2019 Thomas Shoyama Lifetime Achievement Award at Nikkei Place Foundation’s annual fundraising dinner. Previous recipients include Dr. David Suzuki, Joy Kogawa, Arthur Hara, Gordon Kadota, and Henry Wakabayashi.

 “We are very proud to be able to highlight inspiring heroes from the Japanese Canadian community through our Thomas Shoyama Lifetime Achievement Award. We feel incredibly excited and honoured to celebrate Kaye Kaminishi at this year's Gala.” remarks Naomi Kawamura, Executive Director at Nikkei Place Foundation.

Kaye will be honoured at the Thomas Shoyama Sakura Gala on Sunday, March 10, 2019 at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel by APA. It will also feature guest speaker Premier John Horgan, and Japanese Canadian actor Kevan Ohtsji as emcee. This inspired evening honours the legacies of Nikkei (Japanese Canadians), and benefits Nikkei Place Foundation in supporting future generations of Nikkei – to change lives and community for the better. Tickets are available through EventBrite.

Joining the Vancouver Asahi team as a third baseman, and the youngest member, was a dream come true for Kaye. He was sometimes called the “Vacuum Cleaner”, as he scooped up the ball for throws to first base. His baseball career did not end when the Vancouver Asahi team were disbanded and interned during the Second World War.

During the war, when over 22,000 Japanese Canadians were forcibly removed from the west coast of British Columbia, Kaye and his mother were sent to East Lillooet, a then-called self-supporting internment camp. There, he helped bridge community relations between the two distinct communities of East Lillooet and Lillooet through the game of baseball.

Kaye organized a softball team amongst the residents of the internment camp, and spoke with the RCMP officers to propose exhibition games between the East Lillooet softball team and Lillooet teams. These games opened up interactions between the two communities which had previously been racially divided, creating a new social and economic relationship that benefitted everyone.

“We spoke English. On the streets we weren’t welcome, but on the field, we were the Asahi, Vancouver’s champions. Everyone cheered for us. Our people had a voice.” Kaye Kaminishi says in the latest Heritage Minute by Historica Canada.

Kaye is a role model for overcoming racial and economic discrimination. The Vancouver Asahi Baseball Team were a symbol of the Japanese Canadian struggle for equality and respect. With their unique way of playing baseball — known as 'brain ball' — they were able to overcome differences for the love of the game. Despite the team being disbanded and interned during the Second World War, they left a legacy of inspiration for future generations of all Canadians.


Event Information

When: Sunday, March 10, 2019 — 5:00pm Registration & Reception, 6:00pm Event Start
Coast Coal Harbour Hotel
Tickets available on EventBrite:
or contact Nikkei Place Foundation at 604-777-2122 or gala@nikkeiplacefoundation.org.


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About Nikkei Place Foundation

Nikkei Place Foundation is the charitable fundraising organization for the Nikkei Place Japanese Canadian community in Burnaby. We are the bridge that connects philanthropy with Nikkei history, arts, culture, community, and senior care. Together with our partners, the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre (NNMCC) and the Nikkei Seniors Health Care and Housing Society (NSHCHS), we work to build a strong and vibrant community for all.


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