About The Pasadena Bruins

 

In the 1950's and 1960's, Pasadena had a baseball league called Pasadena Japanese Athletic Association, or PJAA for short. This was the only organized Asian sports league in Pasadena at that time and there were no organized Asian leagues for girls or for basketball. Over the years, the number of teams dwindled to only 3-4 teams.  In 1972, group of parents banded together and decided to join the Community Youth Council, better known as CYC. The pioneers and founders of the Pasadena Bruins consisted of June and Ken Hayashi, Robert and Alice Kikkawa, Kaz and Hatsumi Kitani and Tak and Shinobu Kiriyama. Fundraisers were held in order to defray costs for registration fees, equipment and uniforms. Frank and Marian Sata personally solicited donations from the Pasadena community

 

Initially, the Bruins only participated in CYC baseball, before expanding into basketball. Their initiation into the CYC basketball league consisted of 6 boy’s teams from the ages of 9-14 and   2 girl’s teams in the junior and senior divisions. Ed Fukutaki, June Hayashi and Robert Kikkawa were instrumental in organizing the girls division of the Pasadena Bruins in the Japanese American Optimist (JAO) league. At that time, most of the participants were members of the Pasadena Buddhist Church and because of that and the availability of the church gym, an agreement was made with the church to use their gym at a reduced rate, in return for the Bruins assisting with the church's various fund raising functions. This was the perfect symbiotic relationship, not only allowing the Bruins to expand and grow their organization but to also expose the Asian American participants and families to the various Japanese cultural events held at the church.

 

The Pasadena Bruins now supports over 34 boys and girls teams from 5 years old through the prep division. A very popular Pee Wee clinic is held annually in the winter and is at maximum capacity every year.  Participants as young as 3 years old are welcomed to begin development of their basketball and social skills.  The success of the Pee Wee clinic helps the organization  to continue to grow and prosper. In 2000, the Bruins decided to start giving back to the youth in a different format.  Initially, an annual golf tournament was held to raise funds for the Bruins scholarship and this has now transitioned to an Annual 5K Walk/Run where people of all ages can participate.  The annual scholarship is awarded to graduating seniors based on their community involvement and leadership activities as well as their athletic and scholastic achievements.

 

Many of those children involved as players in the first few years are now parents with children of their own participating in CYC and JAO. The second and even some third generation of Bruins are now participating in the various leagues. Pasadena's involvement in the CYC, JAO, NAU (adult men’s) and SCWAU (adult women’s)organizations enabled thousands of children and adults to participate in a wide scaled organized sports league.

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