Monday, March 1, 2010

Baseball. Rikkyo University at Fresno Pacific.

Yesterday, Rikkyo University from Tokyo, Japan played an exhibition baseball game against
Fresno Pacific University.  In 1927, Grandfather Kenichi Zenimura, brought the
Fresno Athletic Club to play an exhibition game against Rikkyo University.  The Fresno Athletic Club sang the Fresno State fight song and the Rikkyo team liked it so much that it added its own name and adopted the song as its own.

This afternoon, Dad (Kenso "Howard" Zenimura) and his teammate, Uncle Fibber (Satoshi Hirayama) were honored at the exhibition game.  Both men played baseball for Fresno State and, later, professional baseball for the Hiroshima Carps in Japan. 

Dad (Kenso Zenimura) with his son, Kirk, and granddaughter, Lauren, with some
Rikkyo University ballplayers.

Rikkyo University is a member of the Tokyo Big-6 Baseball League.  The league includes
Hosei University, Keio University, Meiji University, University of Tokyo and Waseda University.  The Rikkyo baseball team has won 12 league championships in its history.  The team is currently on a US tour playing at UC Irvine, University of Southern California, Fresno Pacific University, Stanford University and the University of San Francisco.

Rikkyo University is a private university that celebrated its 100th year baseball anniversary in November 2009.  The baseball team has over 160 players on its roster with 88+ players on its travel team!  Rikkyo is a private university that carries a huge roster because it allows volunteer players (although the majority of these players don't receive playing time).

Rikkyo Univ players line-up before playing the national anthems of Japan and the US

Players from Rikkyo University and Fresno Pacific (in orange) exchange friendship gifts.

Dad (Kenso Zenimura) throws the game's first pitch.

The bleacher rooting crowd

Lauren with some of the Rikkyo Univ ballplayers

Lauren was then asked to turn and display the Zenimura name on her letterman jacket

Uncle Fibber (Satoshi "Fibber" Hirayama) raises a ball to the baseball fans

Brandon Zenimura (played baseball for Fresno City College and Sonoma State) with Fibber Hirayma and Kerry Yo Nakagawa (founder of the NBRP, Nisei Baseball Research Project, dedicated to documenting, preserving and exhibiting the history of Japanese American baseball).  

Lauren, Alaina and Dimitri with some Rikkyo University ballplayers

Today was a great day for baseball and reliving some Japanese-American baseball history.
For all the pictures, click here.
For more info about Kenichi Zenimura, the Dean of Japanese-American baseball, click here.
For the write-up about Zenimura Baseball in the Arizona Republic on 02.21.10, click here.


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