Asahi Legacy Project to screen and discuss Vancouver Asahi baseball team

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      If you missed the world premiere of the Vancouver Asahi at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2014, you missed out on witnessing some J-Pop star wattage at full blast.

      Director Ishii Yuya attended with two big names from Japan: Satoshi Tsumabuki and Kazuya Kamenashi, who are both actors and musical recording acts as well.

      Screaming fans mobbed the Centre for Performing Arts for a glimpse of the screen and music idols, who starred in the historical drama set in Vancouver.

      But it wasn't just J-popsters that the film piqued the interest of. Due to its multifaceted appeal in the arenas of sport, history, Japanese Canadian culture, and local heritage, several full-house screenings ran at Vancity Theatre during its theatrical run, which wound up being extended due to popular demand.

      The film tells the story of a pre–Second World War Japanese Canadian baseball team that rose to fame by developing techniques that helped them rise to the top of their game, even at a time when anti-Asian sentiment was rampant in the city.

      The film will be screening again on May 1 as part of a special free event at the Vancouver Public Library's central branch (350 West Georgia Street).

      It's part of the Asahi Legacy Project, which is hoping to raise awareness about the historical relevance of the Vancouver Asahi. It's an educational initiative being developed with the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame that will be used in elementary and high schools this fall.

      The project draws upon research material from Grace Eiko Thompson's Japanese Canadian National Museum exhibit Levelling the Playing Field: Legacy of Vancouver's Asahi Baseball Team.

      The film will screen at 12 p.m., to be followed by a panel discussion from 3:30 to 5 p.m. featuring B.C. Sports Hall of Fame's Jim Robson and baseball historian Tom Hawthorn, and moderated by TSN host Rob Fai.

      In addition to the event, something else to note is that the Vancouver Asahi has been chosen as one of the 50 Golden Moments in B.C. Sports History.

      The public is invited to vote for which moment they think is the greatest moment in B.C. sports history. Online voting is open until June 9 at the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame website.