Tag Archives: Franklin Roosevelt

Talk on WWII Japanese American internment camps in Arizona

Many people still come up to me and say that they had no idea that there were two large internment camps in Arizona (at Gila River and Poston) during WWII. These camps in the desert were created as a result of President Franklin Roosevelt signing E.O. 9066 which impacted over 120,000 Japanese Americans, 2/3 of whom were U.S. citizens (like my father, living in Los Angeles). Fortunately my father became a “voluntary evacuee”, as he  was not interned, but fled to Chicago, where he attended Loyola University and worked as a postal clerk.

Retired UA East Asian Studies Professor Min Yanagihashi has written a recent paper on this subject, and will give this free talk on April 11 at Himmel Park Library. He is Nisei (2nd generation) from Honolulu, Hawaii. Light Japanese refreshments will be served.

Sponsored by Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition, where Min and I are on the Council.  More at www.southernazjapan.org.

I also personally knew Dr. Robert Omata and Larry Iwami, fathers of my friends who were interned at Gila River.

Upcoming events regarding WWII Internment of Japanese Americans

Although it was almost 75 years ago when on Feb. 19, 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt signed E.O. 9066, which was neutral on its face, but applied only to rounding up & interning nearly 120,000 Japanese American civilians (2/3 were U.S. Citizens) into relocation camps across America — there is still interest today in the injustice done by these camps and relocation of innocent people. My father Francis Sueo Sugiyama was one of those who fled Los Angeles for Chicago in 1942, before the camp round up. (He had just been expelled from USC’s Dental School due to his race).

Event coming up Friday at the Tucson Jewish History Museum (564 S. Stone Ave.), see flyer below: Gallery Chat with poet Brandon Shimoda. “A researcher on this subject and a direct descendant of this history’s victims, Brandon will facilitate a discussion on the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans in Arizona.”


Coming up Sunday Jan. 22 at the Tucson Desert Art Museum (7000 E. Tanque Verde Rd.) is a talk entitled “Baseball Behind Barbed Wire”.

January 22, 2017 1:30 pm
Baseball was immensely important to the Japanese Americans in concentration camps. Bill Staples, author of “Kenichi Zenimura: Japanese American Baseball Pioneer”, will share how baseball helped raise the spirits of those in the camps and also helped with outside prejudice as the camps invited outside teams to play in matches. This event is free in the auditorium. Museum admission rates apply for entrance to the exhibit.”


Bill Staples – author of “Kenichi Zenimura: Japanese American Baseball Pioneer”

Kerry Yo Nakagawa – author and baseball historian, expert in Japanese American baseball

Tets Furukawa – former player/pitcher with the 1945 Gila River Eagles

Kenso Zenimura –  followed in his father’s footsteps as a talented player, coach, and mentor, as well as an ambassador for international baseball

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