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Beginning


History

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Beginning


History

 

The present versions of the NAU (Nisei Athletic Union), EBYAL (East Bay Youth Athletic
League), and EBGAL (East Bay Girls Athletic League) have roots that were planted in the late 1940s during the post-internment/resettlement period.

In 1947 Iwao Kawakami was instrumental in the formation of the Nisei Athletic Union. Using his position at the Nichi Bei Times newspaper, he called out to the community for teams wanting to participate in an organized basketball league after the previous basketball season consisted
of barnstorming and pick-up games; this mirrored the period of Japanese-Americans looking to re-establish themselves in the wake of World War II.

 


 

 
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Next Phase


Next Phase


 

The Nichi Bei Times posted team rosters, schedules, scores, standings, and statistics, as well as gave insight on the action. Just as Japanese-American churches served as central meeting places for their immediate Japanese-American community, the newspapers served as the central source of information for the broader Japanese-American community. Together, the churches and the ethnic press provided a sense of stability connecting the resettling Japanese-Americans throughout Northern California.

Present Day


Present Day


 

Basketball also served—and still serves—as a connection to community. The popularity of basketball is reflected in the number of teams that emerged during the 1950s (B-level), ’60s (C- and D-level), and ’70s. Between 1965 and 1972, Berkeley had more teams than any other city in Northern California, and was home to a long list of teams and organizations. Over time the numbers decreased as families moved into more suburban areas, but the Ohtani program has continued its basketball tradition and currently sponsors 14 teams with players ranging from kindergarten through high school.

—Steven Chin