Ed and Muriel Kitagawa Collection


general material designation


graphic materials, textual materials, and objects


323 photographs, 28.5 cm textual materials, 3 objects






scope and content


This collection consists of records belonging to Ed and Muriel Kitagawa, including photographs, as well as copy negatives and digital images taken from Ed and Muriel Kitagawa's photograph albums, depicting family, friends, and Asahi baseball team members; two large scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings related to the Asahi baseball team, compiled by Ed Kitagawa; loose newspaper clippings belonging to Ed and Muriel Kitagawa, relating to Muriel's writing career, and Japanese Canadian history in general; government issued documents belonging to Ed and Muriel Kitagawa, including their registration cards, birth certificates, marriage certificate, visas, a deed, permits, and passports; government correspondence belonging to Ed and Muriel Kitagawa, on the topics of detachment and redress; personal correspondence belonging to Ed and Muriel Kitagawa, on the topics of their wedding, family, friends, health, career, travel, education, and the Asahi baseball team; and items relating to Muriel Kitagawa (nee Fujiwara)'s education and writing career, including her high school report cards and course notebooks, newspaper clippings and newsletters she contributed to, and four selections from her personal book collection. A bounded set of The New Canadian (1939-1941) belonging to Muriel Kitagawa has been added to The New Canadian Collection (2010.6).




Tsukiye Muriel Kitagawa (nee Fujiwara) was born in Vancouver on April 3, 1912, and was raised primarily in New Westminster. She graduated from Duke of Connaught High School and attended UBC. Working with other Nisei anxious about their futures as full-fledged Canadians with the right to vote and work in any profession, Kitagawa helped found The New Age in 1932, the first journal to regularly print the thoughts, emotions and ideals of Canadian-born Japanese Canadians. She was also part of a Nisei writing group,The Scribblers; a notable member of that group was Mark Toyama, writer of the poem Only Powell Street Knows.



Eizaburo (Ed or Eddie) Kitagawa was born on June 11, 1901, in a little red cabin at 453 Powell Street, not far from Powell Street Grounds. The Powell Street Grounds are where he would play baseball as part of the Vancouver Asahi team, starting at age 16. Eddie had two brothers, Mickey Hatsujiro Kitagawa and Yo (Yoshitaro) Horii, who were also legendary Asahi baseball players. The earliest Asahi photo in 1915 has the three brothers in it. Along with his brothers, Eddie, Matsujiro Miyasaki, Yosomatsu Nishizaki and Tom Matoba formed the nucleus of the Asahi baseball team.



Mickey (Hatsu) Kitagawa was born in Japan, immigrating at age 6 or 7. He was the oldest of the Kitagawa brothers. His baseball career spanned from 1914-1925. In 1919, the Asahis won the International League Championship, and in 1921 he was the captain of the Asahis on their very successful tour of Japan.



Yo (Yoshitaro) Horii immigrated to Canada in May of 1899, worked in a sawmill, and lived at 230 Princess Avenue with his brothers. He visited his father, Ukichi Kitagawa, in 1921-22 when the Vancouver All-star team played baseball in Japan. Yo was widely known in the International League as the Asahi catcher of the decade. As a catcher, in the best position to survey the entire team, his mental and physical agility were crucial to the success of the pitchers and the team. His Asahi career spanned 1914-1926 and included wins at the 1919 International League Championship and 1926 Terminal League Championship. His unequaled field percentage was 0.968. Although he was most admired for his outstanding skill as a catcher, he had an interest in hockey as well. Yo formed a Japanese hockey team with Kanichi Matsubayashi. Dr. Seitaro Nomura was also involved in Yo and Kanichi's hockey team.



Matsujiro Miyasaki was the manager of the Asahis from 1914 - 1917. Known as ‘Basha Matsu’, he owned a clothing and food store on 200 Powell Street. Eddie recalls Basha Matsu providing him and his brothers with tamago-meshi (egg on rice) to give them energy for the First of July baseball game.



Eddie's illustrious baseball career spanned from 1917-1931, including the 1919 International League Championships, and 1926 & 1930 Terminal League Championships. He was captain of the Asahis as well as coach for the Nigun, and from 1930-31 he was manager for the Asahis. Eddie was very popular, a banker by profession, and his affable nature continued on the sports field. Always at the top of the batting order throughout his baseball career, he was known as a hard hitter, skilled outfielder preventing many attempts by the opponents for home runs. The year 1920 was a big season for Eddie, as he won a gold medal, donated by J.A. Fletts, for leading outfielder. He also won recognition for most bases on balls and he had 24 stolen bases. Eddie played an important role on the Vancouver All-star team in 1921, when they toured Japan for five months and participated in 20 games against Japanese university teams. Under Dr. Seitaro Nomura’s management, they toured such universities as Waseda, Keio and Rikkyo. He also became well known south of the border for his skills against the Fife and Tacoma teams. He put his Asahi career on hold when he married Muriel Fujiwara in 1933.



In 1939, Muriel Kitagawa began writing in the English language periodical, The New Canadian, under the pen name Sue Sada. Although Kitagawa did not publish a book during her lifetime, Roy Miki edited a posthumous collection of her writing called This Is My Own: Letters to Wes & Other Writings on Japanese Canadians 1941-1948 (Talonbooks, 1985) which consists primarily of letters Kitagawa sent to her brother Wes Fujiwara, a medical student in Toronto, in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbour bombing of December, 1941. Miki provided a comprehensive introduction to place Kitagawa’s writing in historical context with a particular emphasis on the fact that an overwhelming majority of the 21,000 individuals of Japanese descent who were uprooted and dispossessed on the West Coast were naturalized or Canadian-born citizens. Muriel Kitagawa died in 1974.



On August 28, 1992, Eddie attended the book launch for "Asahi: A Legend in Baseball" by Pat Adachi, in Toronto. Eddie lived a long life, passing away months before his 100th birthday, on Jan 7th, 2001. He and Muriel have 4 children and 13 grandchildren.



The children of Ed and Muriel Kitagawa include Shirley Kitagawa (born October 7, 1934 in Vancouver, BC – died May 17, 2006 in Ronkonkoma, NY); Carolyn Crouch (nee Kitagawa, born September 11, 1937 in Vancouver, BC); and twins Jon Kitagawa (born January 7, 1942, in Vancouver, BC) and Ellen Hennesthal (nee Kitagawa, born January 7, 1942 in Vancouver.BC – died June 11, 2014, Newmarket, ON).








Nikkei National Museum