"Whether Issei, Nisei, Sansei, or Yonsei, if we do not preserve this unique chapter in American baseball history, it's all gonna be about No Say." -Pat Morita
My parents are Japanese-Americans who were born and raised in Hawaii. And without dating myself or my parents too much, both were living on Oahu when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.
An estimated 110,000 men, women, and children were sent to internment camps located in California, Arizona, Arkansas, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. Many of them lost their homes, jobs, and businesses during their time in the camps.
Thankfully, neither of my parents or their families were relocated like all of the Japanese and Japanese-Americans located on the West Coast of the United States were.
To help keep their morale up, the families bonded and turned the camps into cities within the barbed wire. They organized dances and played baseball to keep themselves entertained.
Although I wouldn't say this is one of my favorite sports movies, I feel it's worth watching... especially if you're a fan of the game. I was personally drawn to it, because it combines three things I'm really interested in: World War II, Japanese-American culture, and baseball.
I originally purchased this movie years ago at the annual Nikkei Matsuri (Japanese festival) in San Jose, but I loaned the copy to a friend and never got it back.
Over the years, I had totally forgotten about it, but a last year I found another copy sitting on the shelf at Nikkei Traditions when I met up with a friend for dinner.
It's autographed by Kerry Yo Nakagawa, who plays Jumbo Tanaka in the movie and was also one of the film's associate producers. Nakagawa started up the Nisei Baseball Research Project, which is a non-profit organization whose goal is to preserve Japanese-American baseball. He's also the author of Through a Diamond: 100 Years of Japanese American Baseball.
Included with the DVD was this autographed baseball card of Nakagawa featured in his Topaz uniform from the movie.
I was very excited to add both of these items to my personal collection.
Okay... you know the routine...
What's your favorite sports and/or World War II movie?
Happy Sunday and sayonara!