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by Carolyn Classen, blogger

ARIZONA HERITAGE CENTER’S NEWEST EXHIBIT EXPLORES HOW BASEBALL SERVED AND SAVED THE JAPANESE AMERICANS IMPRISONED IN ARIZONA’S INCARCERATION CAMPS DURING WORLD WAR II

“Rebuilding Home Plate – Baseball in Arizona’s Japanese American Incarceration Camps” opens  January 26 at the Arizona Heritage Center in Tempe, Arizona

“Rebuilding Home Plate – Baseball in Arizona’s Japanese American Incarceration Camps” opens to the public 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., January 26.

The exhibit tells the stories of Japanese Americans who were stripped of their constitutional rights during World War II and how “America’s Pastime” was a means of enduring and escaping their imprisonment.

In the early 1900s, Japanese American baseball was a hit across Hawaii and the West Coast among first-generation Japanese Americans and their children. But after Executive Order 9066, Americans of Japanese descent were forced into 10 incarceration camps across the U.S., two of which were in Arizona – Gila River and Poston. Baseball became a way for some to rebuild their homes in the Arizona desert.

Among the items on display are the hand-carved home plate made by the “Father of Japanese American Baseball” Kenichi Zenimura used at the Gila River incarceration camp, the 1943 Butte Camp Tournament Champions banner, the 1921 State Championship Trophy of the Japanese American Fresno Athletic Club, the 2003 MLB All-Star bat used by Ichiro Suzuki, and Yosh Kawano’s signed bucket hat.”

“Rebuilding Home Plate” is presented in partnership with the Nisei Baseball Research Project, the Arizona Baseball Legacy and Experience, and the Japanese American Citizens League-Arizona Chapter.

Also: “On January 25, 2023 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. we will be hosting a reveal of the Rebuilding Home Plate – Baseball in Arizona’s Japanese American Incarceration Camps Exhibit and follow-up reception at the Arizona Heritage Center for members and VIP guests by invite only. If you are interested in joining us for the evening, please reach out to Development Director, Kyle Morey at kmorey@azhs.gov.”

https://arizonahistoricalsociety.org/2023/01/12/rebuilding-home-plate-az-heritage-centers-newest-exhibit/

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