Sunday, February 19, 2017

Card Of The Week February 19

75 years ago today President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 which lead to the relocation and internment of around 120,000 people of Japanese descent who were mostly living on the US west coast at the time, roughly two thirds of whom were American citizens.  Among the internees were a handful of nisei who would go on to play baseball in Japan after the war.  I haven't been able to determine a definitive list but I know that three members of the Carp in the 1950's were former internees - Satoshi "Fibber" Hirayama was interred at the Poston War Relocation Center in Arizona while the brothers Kenso and Kenshi "Harvey" Zenimura were at nearby Gila River (along with their father Kenichi Zenimura, the "Father Of Japanese American Baseball").

I don't know if there are any cards for either of the Zenimuras (Kenzo only played in 10 games in 1953 while Kenshi played in 375 games between 1953 and 1956) but there are many menko and bromide cards of Hirayama who played with the Carp from 1955 to 1964.  Here's a card of him from the 1958 "Who Am I?" JCM 54 set:

Many of the nisei who played in Japan in the 1950's such as Wally Yonamine were from Hawaii and were not subject to internment.

Kenso Zeminura and Hirayama are both still alive and attended one of the Masanori Murakami book tour events in Fresno, California in 2015.  Among the things I have become a broken record about (and there's an analogy that shows how old I am) is that I would love for BBM to do cards for these guys and many of the other Americans who played in Japan in the 50's.  They have never done so.


Brett Alan said...

I didn't know that anyone interned by the US during World War II played Japanese ball. Thanks for adding some knowledge about one of the darkest elements of modern American history.

SumoMenkoMan said...

It's cool that they captured his university (Fresno) on the front from his collegiate days. Great history and card.

NPB Card Guy said...

I did not realize that's what it said. Thanks for pointing that out. They retired his number yesterday!