On November 21, 2005, Johjima and the Seattle Mariners agreed to a $16.5 million, three-year contract. Prior to signing with the Mariners, he played in Japan for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks team in the Pacific League who drafted him in 1999. Johjima also played in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens for Japan. On April 25,2008, the Mariners and Johjima agreed to a three-year contract extension, terms of which were not immediately available.
A seven-time All-Star for the Hawks, Johjima became a free agent after hitting .309 with 24 home runs and 57 RBI in 116 games, during the 2005 season, which was cut short by two injuries including a broken leg which ended his 2005 season prematurely.
From 1996 through 2005, Johjima hit .299 with 211 home runs and 699 RBI in 1,117 games. His most productive season came in 2003, when he hit .330 with 119 RBI and finished third with 34 home runs behind Tuffy Rhodes (51) and Alex Cabrera (50).
A winner of seven straight Gold Gloves in Japan, Johjima became the first Japanese player to catch full-time in the major leagues. Infielder Lenn Sakata, a Japanese-American born in Honolulu, caught one game for the Baltimore Orioles, winning a World Series ring in 1983.
Japan Baseball League AwardsEdit
- Pacific League MVP (2003)
- Seven-time Gold Glove winner (1999–2005)
- Six-time selection to the "Best Nine" team, chosen by Japanese sportswriters (1999–2001; 2003–2005)
- Five-time Best Battery Award winner (1999–2001, 2003, 2004)
- Monthly MVP (June 1999, April 2003, June 2004)
- Japan Series Valuable Player prize (1999, 2003)
- Japan Series Fighting Spirit prize (2000)
- Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star Game (1997–2001, 2003-2005)
- Most votes for the Japanese All-Star Game (2005)
Japan Pacific LeagueEdit
- Games: 1,117
- Batting Average: .299
- Hits: 1,206
- Home runs: 211
- RBIs: 699
- Stolen Bases: 63
- On April 3, 2006, Johjima and Ichiro Suzuki became the first pair of Japanese position players to take the field in an MLB starting lineup.
- Johjima once joked that he would register as "Georgie McKenzie" ('JOH-JI MA-ken-ji') should he make it to the majors. In Japan, the family name comes first, and then the given name.
- Johjima's favorite hobby is ocean fishing. It is rumored that one of the reasons he chose to sign with the Seattle Mariners was Seattle's proximity to bodies of water, Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean.
- Johjima also cites his children's fondness of Uwajimaya, a Japanese grocery store in Seattle, as a reason for signing with Mariners.
- Some team-mates use the nickname, "Jo-mama", when calling out to him.
- Johjima resides in Sasebo, Japan with his wife Maki and his son Yuta and daughter Miu
|Search Wikimedia Commons||Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Kenji Johjima|