Summerland museum shares history of local Japanese community creating a baseball team in the 1930s

Baseball team back in 1930

A snapshot of sports history from the Summerland Museum & Archives Society has a look back at the local Japanese community's first baseball team, ahead of next weekend's ActionFest.

The 41st annual Summerland Action Festival will take place from June 2 to 4 at Memorial Park, featuring free entertainment and family fun for the community.

In their post, the museum writes that the Summerland's Japanese Hinode baseball team hails from 1935.

According to the museum, the Japanese community in Summerland grew significantly between 1910 and 1920, with immigrants arriving in BC seeking jobs and new opportunities.

"An organization called Doe Shi Kai (meaning: Coming to New World with Great Hopes) was formed by the newly arrived families such as Tadas, Agenos, Uzawas, and Imayoshis," they said.

"The Japanese population in Summerland continued to be actively involved with community events, establishing groups such as the Japanese Farmers Association, the Japanese United Church, and the Japanese Language School."

Two residents, Bob Yamabe and Art Matsu, were the masterminds behind starting a baseball team in the early 1930s.

With Yamabe as manager,and Matsu as coach, the two joined up a group of 10-15-year-old boys to make up the Summerland Hinode baseball club.

Yamabe's residence became the centre for meetings, and for making baseball uniforms with the Hinode (Rising Sun) crest.

"This was a big attraction for the whole Japanese community," the museum added.

The team members are; Back (l to r): Jim Ageno, Min Kita, Art Matsu, N. Aoki, Eric Kita, Ted Koyama, Bob Yamabe. Front: Katsumi Imayoshi, Fumi Inaba, Roy Kuroda, H. Sumida, Chew Tada, George Uzawa. Bat boy: Richard Yamabe.

Interested readers can find more information about the Japanese Community in Summerland by heading to the museum's online digitalized files here.

On the bottom of the photograph is written "Summerland Japanese Hinode Baseball Team. June 9. 1935"

The Summerland Museum & Archives Society shares photos and information from their archives every week for throwback Thursday on their social media.

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