Multi Media Exhibit

 

Baseball Hall of Fame - Cooperstown New York

Japan Baseball Hall of Fame - Tokyo Japan


This exhibit is a work in progress documentary that takes a compelling look into the cultural , historical and social legacy of Japanese-Americans. The Nisei baseball organization has been obscured from public knowledge for over 75 years.

The Fresno Nisei organization began in 1920 and made tours to Japan in 1924, 1927 and1937. The Fresno ambassadors dominated Universities of Waseda, Keio, Rikkyo and Meji. In 1937, they had exhibitions in Japan, Korea and Manchuko, China. Even the powerhouse Pacific Coast Team, Salt Lake City Bee’s and the Negro League’s Royal Giants were beaten by these valley titans. Stanford, St. Mary’s, USC and Fresno State were also aced by the Nisei team. This organization played for the “love of the game”. There was no financial windfall for playing, they simply wanted to compete. The Nisei’s truly brought out the best in each other and those who opposed them. Their self-esteem, family and community pride were at stake and often fuled their driving passion for excellence. Their world class skills allowed them to oppose and play alongside some of professional baseball hall of famers. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe D’Maggio, Jackie Robinson, Casey Stengel’s ‘57 Yankees, Stan Musial, Tony Lazzeri and other legends shared the same hallowed ballfields.

During WW11, baseball behind barbed wire brought a sense of normalcy to the internment camps. It created a social and positive atmosphere, encouraged physical fitness and kept the self-esteem variable alive in spite of the loneliness and harsh conditions of the desert wastelands. Internees young and old demonstrated that the best possible testimony to the greatness of this country can be found in the loyalty, love and sacrifice that she has inspired within her people. And through their sportsmanship, talent and dedication to the game they helped to fight discrimination and assisted toward our acceptance as Americans.

If we were to use a schematic drawing to dissect a Nisei baseball, we would find that the center epitomizes the core members and pioneers of the Nisei organization. The fiber and strings represent the communities that tie their identity, loyalties and culture around the team’s players. The leather skin represents the physical and mental toughness developed by the Issei and Nisei needed to endure the arrival to the mainland and the battle of relocation,internment and resettlement during WW11. The stitching finally bonds the Issei and Nisei together and seals these wonderful family spirits for the future generations.

This symbolic Nisei baseball is now being passed on with the knowledge, history and pride of their ancestors which will hone and polish their skills and desire. These new generations , wear the colors of discipline, courage, determination and sportsmanship which will sparkle on and off the fields. The love and passion they possess for baseball will truly make them “Diamonds in the rough”.


Baseball Hall of Fame - Cooperstown New York

Japan Baseball Hall of Fame - Tokyo Japan

 

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