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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Japanese American interment”

Innings During the Internment

Before Ichiro Suzuki and Daisuke Matsuzaka, before Hideo Nomo, even before Lenn Sakata, there was Kenichi Zenimura, a shortstop known as the Dean of Japanese American Baseball. Executive Order 9066 authorized by Franklin D. Roosevelt allowed for the forced removal of approximately 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast. Around 62% of these people were American citizens. More than half were children or infants. While 10,000 were allowed to relocate, the remainder were sent to ten different War Relocation Camps scattered across Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. The great majority of these people were considered potentially disloyal to America only because of their ethnic heritage. Zenimura, along with his family, were among the internees. So, what did these families and their children do, thousands of miles away from home, dispossessed of their former lives and liberty? They pursued happiness as best they could: going to school, creating art, having dances, and playing baseball. To relieve the monotony and desperation of camp life, Zenimura had baseball stadia built and organized a 32-team league. The competition was so fierce and play so compelling, inhabitants of the towns came to watch their neighbors’ games. If that were the...


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