Aoki's journey brings him to postseason

Nori Aoki, OF, Royals
Hometown: Hyūga, Miyazaki, Japan

Not only is Nori Aoki the Royals' only current Japanese-born player, he's just the fourth in team history.

Aoki went to Miyazaki Prefectural Hyuga High School and Waseda University in Japan, and then he moved on to play eight seasons with the Yakult Swallows before signing with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012. After living in Japan for 29 years of his life, the transition to American life was not an easy one.

"Especially my first year, when I came over here, it wasn't just baseball," Aoki said. "It was the differences in how people speak, the food people eat, the culture -- just everything in general. My first year was a pretty big culture shock."

When Aoki was dealt to the Royals in the offseason, he became the first player from Japan on the team since Yasuhiko Yabuta in 2009. Of the 12 current Japanese-born MLB players, Aoki is the only one in the postseason.

Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.