Sleeping Tigers: The Asahi Baseball Story

Sleeping Tigers: The Asahi Baseball Story

Downloadable Video - 2002
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In pre-World War II Vancouver the Asahi baseball team was unbeatable, outplaying the taller Caucasian teams and winning the prestigious Pacific Northwest Championship for five straight years. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, the Canadian government sent every person of Japanese descent, whether born in Canada or not, to internment camps. Faced with hardship and isolation, the former Asahi members survived by playing baseball. Their passion for this quintessential North American game soon attracted other players, including RCMP and local townspeople, and the baseball games helped to break down racial and cultural barriers. In Sleeping Tigers, award-winning director Jari Osborne skillfully weaves archival film and dramatic re-creations, along with candid interviews with the last of the Asahi, to tell this remarkable story.
Publisher: Montreal : National Film Board of Canada, 2002
Characteristics: 1 streaming video file (51 min.) : digital, stereo, sd., col
Additional Contributors: National Film Board of Canada


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Oct 06, 2017

This documentary deals with the Japanese community in Vancouver ( Pre- WW11) and the impacts baseball had on this community already facing so many adversities. Baseball gave them a sense of identity and provided a strong resolve for the young men on the Asahi team to prove themselves. The achievements of this team earned the admiration of the Japanese Canadian Community and others.

The Asahi team recognizing their limitations evolved their brand of baseball called "brain ball" known to us today as "small ball." The Asahi team used bunting and their running speed to create havoc on the base paths and score runs.
In the early 1990's , at a Japanese Community day at Oppenheimer, Vancouver, Ms Pat Adachi talked about the Asahi baseball team, and their brand of baseball and accomplishments. The team was disbanded on internment of the Japanese Canadian Community to camps in the interior of BC and elsewhere in Canada. Their properties were seized and sold.

During interment, members of the community played when and where the could. The Asahi team was scattered across Canada and never reassembled again.

Despite all that was meted out to this Community, I am pleased to say that several members or rather children of those survivors continue to display that love for baseball as seen in the number of several superb baseball coaches and administrators with our local Vancouver Community Baseball. The brothers who ran "Tad's Sporting Goods" in Marpole were generous supporter of Marpole Baseball and in addition providing generous discounts to kids and often only a nominal charge to players who could not afford to pay.

This documentary shows that baseball can unite a community and help it deals with adversities.
As a sign of respect to the Asahi baseball team and to the Victims ( including young ball players) of the 2011 Tsunami, my teams over the years bowed at beginning and end of our baseball games.

I looked at this video 3 times. All baseball fans will enjoy this story. It is great story of what baseball can do for us.
Seelochan Beharry
Coach: Vancouver Community Baseball
Author: The Prehistories of Baseball (published by McFarland Pub, 2016)
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