Thomas Shoyama Sakura Gala

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Foundation is sincerely grateful to all our special guests, attendees, sponsors, donors, and volunteers who came and supported our 5th annual Thomas Shoyama Sakura Gala! Proceeds raised will support future generations of Nikkei, and our mission to connect and strengthen partnerships to build a strong and vibrant community.

Event photos and video by Adam P.W. Smith

Check out the testimonial video we had made to honour Kaye Kaminishi, recipient of our 2019 Thomas Shoyama Lifetime Achievement Award! 

It was viewed for the first time at the 5th annual Thomas Shoyama Sakura Gala on March 10, 2019 during the award presentation to Kaye.


Kaye Kaminishi of the Vancouver Asahi Baseball Team

2019 Thomas Shoyama Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient


A role model for overcoming racial and economic discrimination. The 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.

Continuing the Legacy: The Shin Asahi Baseball Team receive the 2018-19 Nikkei Youth Athletics Bursary


Nikkei Place Foundation is proud to present the 2018-19 Nikkei Youth Athletics Bursary to the Shin Asahi Baseball Team.

The Asahi Baseball Association is spreading the Japanese way of baseball — inspired by the Original Asahi team's skill, perseverance, accomplishments, and wishes to inspire a new generation of ball players in the Japanese Canadian (Nikkei) community in Canada. Through the game of baseball, they teach players the importance of teamwork and fair play, as well as the mindset of “Always start with respect, and end with respect.”

From March 14th, 2019, the Shin Asahi Japan Travel Team will embark on a two week tour with stops in Yokohama, Hikone, and Osaka. The Nikkei Youth Athletics Bursary will help cover the cost of their tour. The team is scheduled to play 10 games in the span of 14 days and it will be a test of their team cohesion and support for one another. 

Speaker: Premier John Horgan


John Horgan was sworn in as Premier of British Columbia on July 18, 2017. He began his service as an MLA in 2005, when he was elected to represent the riding of Juan de Fuca on Southern Vancouver Island.

He has been re-elected three times, most recently as MLA for the new riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca in 2017. He became leader of the BC NDP in 2014.

 Under his leadership, the B.C. government is making life more affordable, improving the services people count on, and building a strong, sustainable economy that creates jobs and opportunities for all British Columbians.

This year’s Emcee: Kevan Ohtsji


Kevan Ohtsji is a Canadian-born Japanese actor, born and raised in Burnaby, BC. He began studying his craft at the age of seventeen, where he earned his first on-screen role starring in Christophe Gans’ Crying Freeman. His charismatic personality, natural talent, and passion for acting led him to roles on shows such as Smallville, The Butterfly Effect, Stargate SG-1, Mortal Kombat, and the Montreal shot mini-series Race to Mars. He has also had the opportunity to appear alongside the likes of Morgan Freeman, Jeff Daniels, and Bryan Cranston. Most recently, his credits include the feature film Darc, Godzilla, Arrow, Beyond, and Man in the High Castle.