This dramatic historical fiction film, set in Utah’s infamous Topaz concentration camp for Japanese Americans during World War II, tells the story of a family’s internment and the role baseball played in the camps. Baseball not only provided a diversion and physical outlet – it also cultivated camaraderie amongst the interns and respect from the white American community.
The history of Japanese American baseball is nearly as long as the history of the game itself. This book chronicles the many iterations of Japanese American baseball, starting at the turn of the century, when Japanese immigrants used baseball as a way to garner respect from – and feel a sense of inclusion with – their white American counterparts. Baseball became a community staple in America’s Japanese communities and then became a vehicle for survival in the Japanese American concentration camps of WWII.
Author Kerry Yo Nakagawa is the founder of the Nisei Baseball Research Project, which seeks to preserve the history of Japanese American baseball and educate about the Japanese American concentration camps during World War II. Kerry Yo was a special guest on JapanBall’s “Chatter Up!” in April 2021, and his episode was the most powerful in our series. You can watch the video on YouTube or read the recap here.