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

This talk coincides with 3 ongoing exhibits at the Tucson Desert Art Museum on the WWII Japanese American Internment — “GAMBATTE! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit” Photographs by Paul Kitagaki, Jr. It opened on Nov. 4, 2016 and goes to April 30, 2017:

“GAMBATTE! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit” is the first body of work devoted to capturing the past and the present of Executive Order 9066 through photographs and oral histories. Executive Order 9066 was issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, which led to the imprisonment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. Through the juxtaposition of historic images and contemporary portraits of the same individuals if their descendants, Kitagaki takes us on a visual exploration of the Japanese concept of Gambatte, or triumph over adversity.

Two companion exhibits at same time/place: “Behind Barbed Wire: Japanese American Incarceration in Arizona”, and “Art of Circumstance: Art & Artifacts Created by Japanese Americans incarcerated during WWII”.


Hayward, California, May 8,1942. Members of the Mochida family awaiting evacuation bus. Photographer: Dorothea Lange

Hayward, California, May 8,1942. Members of the Mochida family awaiting evacuation bus. Photographer: Dorothea Lange

Carolyn’s note: Paul Kitagaki’s photos are amazing, as he found the original B/W photos of families being relocated in the 1940’s and in the camps, then photographed these same people decades later. The other 2 exhibits show beautiful watercolors of the camp surroundings, and also artifacts from the internees.

Also ongoing up in Chandler, Arizona are exhibits at their Chandler Museum, one on Tule Lake Internment camp (goes to Jan. 27) and another one on the Arizona internment camp at Gila River (opening Feb.7).
More info:

Please attend these exhibits and talks to find out more about what happened to the Japanese American community during WWII.