Breaking News

Breaking News

‘Appreciate’ is AJA opener message

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Ichiro Chiba, with more than 70 years of experience with Kauai AJA (Americans of Japanese Ancestry) baseball, looks over the new press box at the improved Vidinha Stadium Sunday during the opening of the Kauai AJA 88th season.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Jason Nakata, second from left, and Shawn Ogata, second from right, both of the championship Makaweli team, accept their co-MVP honors from Tom Shigemoto, left, Kauai AJA president, and Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. Sunday during the opening of the Kauai AJA 88th season at Vidinha Stadium in Lihue.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Gerald Ako, Kauai AJA (Americans of Japanese Ancestry) baseball league secretary, welcomes guests to the Kauai AJA 88th season along with Tom Shigemoto, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., Brian Yamase, Mel Nishihara and the Rev. Tomo Hojo, who stand in the shadow of a new dugout at the improved Vidinha Stadium in Lihue Sunday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The Rev. Tomo Hojo of the West Kauai Hongwanji offers the invocation to players from the six Kauai AJA (Americans of Japanese Ancestry) baseball teams Sunday during the opening of the league’s 88th season at Vidinha Stadium in Lihue.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Leighton Ottoman, representing Makaweli, center, accepts the league’s championship trophy from Tom Shigemoto, Kauai AJA (Americans of Japanese Ancestry) baseball league president, left, and Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. Sunday during the league’s opening of its 88th season at Vidinha Stadium in Lihue.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kade Ogata, 4, makes contact with a pitch from his mother atop the sand pile at Vidinha Stadium Sunday during the opening of the Kauai Americans of Japanese Ancestry baseball league’s 88th season. Kade’s dad, Shawn Ogata, was a co-MVP awardee and plays for Makaweli.

LIHUE — Leighton Ottoman represented the Makaweli Indians in accepting the Kauai Americans of Japanese Ancestry baseball league championship trophy for the 2017 season, and Jason Nakata and Shawn Ogata of the Indians were recognized as the league’s Most Valuable Players Sunday at Vidinha Stadium.

The recognitions were part of the Kauai AJA opening ceremonies marking the start of its 88th season of playing baseball. The league started in 1923 among the plantation camps of laborers who were brought here from Japan. Despite a break when World War II broke out, the league has continued until today.

“Appreciate,” said Tom Shigemoto, Kauai AJA president. “I wondered what to say as we start our 88th season, and my 25th year as the president of the league. ‘Appreciate’ is most appropriate. To the players, be thankful that you can play the game — being healthy and physically fit, and having an organization and coaches who bring this together so we are able to play with one another and have fun together. We are not enemies.

“I was going to do a farewell speech,” he said. “But I’ll postpone that. Look at us (in the leadership position). We all have white hair. We need some of the young people to come in with fresh ideas.”

Kauai will host the state AJA tournament at Vidinha Stadium, April 7 and 8.

Other AJA league officers are Brian Yamase, first vice president; Mel Nishihara, second vice president and league manager; Russell Maeda, league treasurer; and Gerald Ako, league secretary.

“As we gather for the 88th season of the Kauai AJA baseball league, may all the AJA members who take part in this league gain valuable experiences in sportsmanship, and promote physical development and recreation,” said the Rev. Tomo Hojo of the West Kauai Hongwanji in his invocation.

Teams participating in the Kauai AJA include Hanapepe, with coach Leroy Nonaka; Makaweli, with Mel Nishihara coaching; Kalaheo with Jason Koga and Zoom Bukoski as coaches; Lihue with Curtis Matsumura coaching; Garrett Agena leading the Waimea Tsunami; and Ikaika Pezario leading Kapaa.

“I’ve been doing this for more than 70 years,” said Ichiro Chiba, who has three generations of the Chiba family involved with the Makaweli club.

1 Comments
  1. Sunrise_blue January 8, 2018 10:06 am Reply

    Actually, for facebook. A lot of them on there. Only for the serious fans though. Pictures.

    Nah…changed, not me. I’m a degree guy now. But you can find me commenting anywhere too. All new codenames though. Forums and blogs like this are everywhere.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.