Vancouver Asahi baseball team to be honoured with Canadian stamp in 2019

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      A historical local baseball team continues to garner national recognition—and 2019 is shaping up to be quite the year for their legacy. 

      The Vancouver Asahi was a baseball team formed by Japanese Canadians in Vancouver in 1914 and based in Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside. After they developed techniques, dubbed "brain ball", to outwit their opponents, the team achieved great success.

      However, the team was disassembled in 1942 when all Japanese Canadians on the B.C. coast were interned during the Second World War.

      Their legendary accomplishments have been chronicled in documentaries, such as the NFB's Sleeping Tigers: The Asahi Baseball Story, and a 2014 Japanese feature drama, The Vancouver Asahi, drew crowds to its world premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival (thanks in part to appearances from its major Japanese stars).

      The Vancouver Asahi (2014) was directed by Yuya Ishii.

      In October, Historica Canada began filming a Heritage Minute about the Asahi, with shoots in Vancouver and near Hope, B.C. The one-minute vignette will be released sometime in spring 2019.

      Meanwhile, the Asahi will also be honoured with a Canadian stamp in 2019.

      According to a December 14 Canada Post news release, the stamp will pay tribute to "the poignant story of Vancouver’s Asahi baseball team—athletes whose on-field victories did not shield them from off-the-field racism or from internment during wartime".

      Canada Post informed the Georgia Straight that a release date for the stamp has not been determined yet.

      Other stamps scheduled to be released in 2019 will feature Albert Jackson, Canada's first black letter carrier; the 150th anniversary of the Red River Resistance; World War One flying ace William George Barker; and the Year of the Pig.

      Canada Post accepts suggestions from citizens for possible future stamps. While the 2020 stamp program will be finalized in February, ideas are being accepted for 2021 and onward. Anyone interested in suggesting ideas for stamps can read information about how to make a suggestion at the Canada Post website. 

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