Sports

Multiracial athletes of Japanese descent and their ascent

March 21, 2019, Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. In the bottom of the eighth, Ichiro Suzuki trotted off the baseball diamond for the last time, waving to an unusually emotional Japanese crowd. Soon after, fellow Seattle Mariners Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. remarked that, during his career, Ichiro was able to “cross barriers.” When […]

A brief history of Japanese American basketball in the Bay Area

First QuarterUnlike baseball, which was introduced to Japan by the United States in 1873 and played by the immigrant Issei, Japanese American basketball was a predominantly Nisei sport and truly a Japanese American phenomenon. Basketball in the Japanese American community started gaining popularity in the 1920s with recreational teams forming wherever there were significant numbers […]

Ichiro announces retirement, sent off with ovation

TOKYO — Iconic Japanese superstar Ichiro Suzuki, who has more hits in professional baseball than any other Japanese player, walked away from his career to thunderous applause on March 21 “When I look back on it, 28 years doesn’t seem that long a time,” he said after the game. “It’s impossible to review every step […]

Ichiro’s final bow

TOKYO, Japan — Over four games here in Japan, Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-12. He got on base once with a walk, struck out twice with a runner on second, and still, when it was all over, the crowd went crazy. For some time, the 45-year-old said he intended to keep playing until he needed to […]

Australian Open champ Osaka rises to women’s world No. 1

MELBOURNE (Kyodo) — Naomi Osaka was officially installed as the new women’s world’s No. 1 singles player on Jan. 28 after her weekend victory in the Australian Open final. The 21-year-old Japanese, who has now won the last two Grand Slams, is the first player from Asia to ascend to the top of either the […]

New Mariner Kikuchi says team ‘needed me the most’

SEATTLE, Wash. — Japanese left-handed pitcher Yusei Kikuchi said Jan. 3 he picked the Seattle Mariners in part because he felt the American League team “needed me the most.” “I feel this team needed me the most and I feel chemistry between us,” the 27-year-old said at a news conference after signing a four-year contract […]

HOOP DREAMS: Yuta Watanabe ready to make his NBA dream a reality

TOKYO — After scoring 18 points to help Japan beat Iran in a World Cup qualifier in Tokyo on Sept. 17, Yuta Watanabe’s mind quickly turned to the United States where he will soon be fighting to make a name for himself on basketball’s biggest stage. The 23-year-old finished his four-year collegiate career at George […]

Naomi Osaka stayed above the fray to claim first Grand Slam title

NEW YORK  — As Serena Williams’ U.S. Open final crumbled around her on Sept. 8, Japan’s Naomi Osaka said she had to stay above the fray in order to keep her historic run to Grand Slam history alive. With code violations, broken rackets, tears and accusations of cheating coming from Williams’ end of the court, Osaka […]

Despite disappointment, Japan can take pride

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia — Following a tumultuous and at-times controversial journey to the knockout stage, Japan came close to reaching their first-ever World Cup quarterfinals on July 2 before having their hearts broken by a last-gasp Belgium goal. In a turn of events few would have predicted, the Samurai Blue fought their way to a 2-0 […]

Japanese baseball ‘Iron Man’ Kinugasa, son of African American, dead at 71

TOKYO — Hall of Famer Sachio Kinugasa, whose 2,215 consecutive games remain a Japanese record, died of colon cancer April 23 aged 71, people familiar with the matter said. Nicknamed “Iron Man,” Kinugasa played for the Hiroshima Carp from 1965 to 1987 and was the Central League’s 1984 MVP. He is tied for fifth in […]

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