This is a copy of The Nikka Times Newspaper, Dated: August 14, 1992
Japanese Canadian Baseball League (JCBL) reaches its Silver Year Anniversary
You may have not heard about “Japanese Canadian Baseball League (JCBL)” these days, but we used to be able to find game stats every week on the local newspaper. This Spring, current players have reached out to some of the retired players to have exhibition game to celebrate 25th Anniversary of JCBL.
Until they’ve reached out to me, I did not realize that JCBL was still an active in the city of Toronto. Not only it has been active, it marks its Silver Year Anniversary. This news reminded me of the good days when I used to play and made me realize the importance of having 25 years added to the name of JCBL.
When immigration from Japan resumed after the war, it was only a matter of time to hear “Let’s play baseball” from the group of newly arrived immigrants. Golf was not as available as it is now so activities single men can join were very limited. We just wanted to do something. We just wanted to participate in activities where we can move our body.
In the fall of 1968, few of us got together to plan, and very first pitch was made on May of 1969 for the Japanese Canadian Baseball League. Nobody thought the league would continue for 25 years at that time. If I knew, I would have kept the ball and framed it!
It seems like it was only yesterday that roughly fourty players consisting newly arrived immigrants and 2nd generation were divided into 4 teams to play baseball on Sundays from May to September in Toronto. If I count the number of people I’ve had a privilege of playing with/against even once, it would go up to a couple of hundred in net.
Regardless of the activities, I believe that it is a great accomplishment for an organization to stay active for twenty-five years. Organizers of the league had slowly shifted from new immigrants to Canadian born second and third generations as it reached mid-1980s. Without the help of all supporters/sponsors and team effort within Japanese community in Toronto, this league wouldn’t have continued for twenty-five years.
As a part of fundraising activities for JCBL, Toronto Kohaku Utagassen was planned and organized in 1977 and it celebrated its fifteenth-year last year. I believe that this is also the result of a good team-work within Japanese community in Toronto.
When the league was established, there were people who had been staying in Toronto at that time who already found their place and settled down well in Toronto. However, they were kind enough to welcome new immigrants into the community and worked on Kohaku Utagassen together. I think it was significant event for mutual understanding and to build bigger community which I think is the main reason why Kohaku in Toronto has been very successful in being a part of Japanese community events.
I heard that there will be a twenty-fifth anniversary committee and that number of activities and events to be planned. I am already looking forward to attending and I am sure I am not the only one. It is exciting when I think that I might be able to see familiar faces from the baseball field and maybe faces that I haven’t seen in 20 years.
It might sound selfish coming from a person who had distanced himself from the baseball field after retirement, but I cannot help but to sincerely wish that the league would continue its legacy in the future for as long as possible.