WATCH: Latest Heritage Minute episode filmed near Hope and features some dark local history

Airing on Feb. 20, the 60-second film tells the story of the Asahi and features the Tashme Museum

Historica Canada’s latest Heritage Minute, which airs Wednesday, Feb. 20, features some very familiar scenery while telling the stories of the Asahi and the Japanese internment camps of the Second World War.

Created in 1914, the Asahi was an amateur baseball club based in Vancouver that featured an entirely Japanese Canadian roster.

“Due to racism, a lot of Japanese Canadians couldn’t join Caucasian teams in Vancouver, so they created their own team,” explained Ryan Ellan, founder of the Sunshine Valley Tashme Museum. “The best of the best played for them. They were probably the best team in Vancouver.”

RELATED: Canadian heritage minute on Asahi baseball team to film in Sunshine Valley Oct. 10

“On the streets we weren’t welcome, but on the field, we were the Asahi, Vancouver’s champions,” recalls Kaye Kaminishi, the last living member of the Asahi, in the new Heritage Minute.

Quickly championing a style of play called “brainball” that utilized bunts, squeeze plays, and stolen bases to counter the power hitting style of most known teams, the Asahi were known for their sportsmanship and fair play approach.

And for almost three decades the Asahi ran bases and scored home runs while touring Canada, the United States, and Japan, winning games and championships along the way.

But on December 7, 1941, Canada declared war on Japan, and everything changed. On February 24, 22,000 Japanese Canadians—14,000 of whom were born in the country—were uprooted from their homes and moved into internment camps, which was essentially a sentence of poverty and slave labour.

READ MORE: Japanese-Canadians who built Highway 3 forever remembered with Mile 9 sign

Of all internment camps in Canada, the largest was Tashme, which was located in what’s now known as Sunshine Valley, approximately 20 kilometres southeast of Hope. Over the course of four years, more than 2,600 Japanese were interned at Tashme, which spanned 1,200 acres of land.

Although separated in internment camps across the province, many Asahi members formed baseball teams, and eventually an inter-camp league. Many of those interned remember these games as a bright spot that helped bring joy into this dark period in Canadian history.

“But what a lot of people don’t know or forget is the section of highway from Princeton to Hope was made with Japanese slave labour during the Second World War. Most of Hope’s (current) Japanese families had members in Tashme,” continued Ellan.

“Historica Canada always picks these obscure pieces of history that we might not have been exposed to prior … (but) we’re not taught proper history and there are two sides to every story. So what I really like about this Asahi (Heritage Minute) is it’s a two-part story: the first 30 seconds explain the history of the Asahi, the second 30 seconds explain internment.”

READ MORE: Sunshine Valley Tashme Museum receives Heritage BC award

“Each Heritage Minute tells a different story,” said Anthony Wilson-Smith, president and CEO of Historica Canada. “Some highlight the impressive achievements of Canadians and some encourage reflection on injustices of the past.”

To ensure the legitimacy and authenticity of the short film, Historica Canada hired Ellan as a Tashme historical consultant, and Grace Eiko Thomson, who previously worked for the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) and the Nikkei National Museum, as the costume designer.

“My role was to make sure the props, setup, vehicles being used were correct to Tashme,” explained Ellan. “During filming I asked … the director to give me a 10-minute break. I pulled out two original school benches and a bat that had been used in Tashme (to be used as props during filming). That brought quite a few tears to the cast and crew.”

Having had a sneak preview before the Asahi Heritage Minute aired for the first time, Ellan says the final product is “amazing.”

To view Historica Canada’s latest Heritage Minute, visit https://youtu.be/wBv-MYAf9P0.

For more information on the Tashme internment camp, visit Tashme.ca.


 

@SarahGawdin on Twitter
SarahGawdin on Instagram
Sarah.Gawdin@HopeStandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rambo fever descends on Hope

Hope Cinema packed for special screening

Liberal candidate Jati Sidhu backs out of four interview appointments with The News

Jati Sidhu, the Liberal incumbent in Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, said he was too busy to talk

Chilliwack maternity ward gets bundle of new equipment

Breast pumps, small fridges for patient rooms and freezer for donor breast milk given to hospital

Advance voting in 2019 federal election begins

Voting at advance polling stations has become a popular choice in Canada over the years

Hotel tax approved for Hope area accommodations

New two per cent hotel tax comes directly from room stays

VIDEO: #MeToo leader launches new hashtag to mobilize U.S. voters

Tarana Burke hopes to prompt moderators to ask about sexual violence at next debate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

$100,000 reward for B.C. gangster extended to United States

Police belive fugitive Conor D’Monte may be in the Los Angeles area

Emily Carr University closed Sunday after fire causes some damage

The school is working with Vancouver police to assist their investigation into the fire

Alberta to join B.C.’s class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

B.C. government claims opioids were falsely marketed as less addictive than other pain meds

Most Read