Friday, July 10, 2009

2009 Jul 10 - Baseball

Stockton Ports Honor Local Japanese-American Baseball Teams

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At the bottom of this Blog are scans of the text added to today's Baseball Programs for the Minor League team, the Stockton Ports. The Ports are part of the Class A California League.

The Japanese Consul General of San Francisco, Yasumasa Nagamine is present at the game.

The teams being honored are the Stockton Yamatos who played from 1920 - 1941. The Lodi Templars who also played in those decades. And lastly the Stockton Asahi who played from 1961 - 1966. I was a member of that Asahi team for all of those years.

The Ports have a fairly new ball park that was opened for the 2005 season. It is located on the north bank of the Stockton Channel near the channels end.

Season ticket holder parking and the front of the ball park

Built on what is Banner Island, these are the commemorative plaques

Left and center field

Right field

Since both the Yamatos and the Templars go a long way back, most save a couple were represented by their spouses and children.
The Morita's of Lodi

Alan Horita from Lodi

Will Kagawa of Lodi holding the programs

The Yagi's and Saiki's from Stockton

The Kamibayashi's are on the far right and Ted in the white cap played for the Yamatos and was their only player attending

Roy Yoneshige and the Hirota's

Ted Yoneda who was the impetus for starting up the Asahi's and his clan arrive.

Now here are a few of my contemporaries.
Art Supnet who is half Japanese and half Filipino was a star pitcher and hitter in high school and American Legion ball. Art only played with the Asahi's in the early years as he joined the Army shortly after high school

Tad Yoshimura who played pool more than baseball

Jerry Ueda, his wife Sumi and son Mark. I worked for the same County Agency as Jerry for many years also.

This was the line up of former players and their representatives before the ball game.

Consul General, Yasumasa Nagamine gives a short speech of congratulations.
Then there were about 10 "first" pitches thrown. But this was the first of them.

Fibber Hirayama, who was also being honored. Fibber who grew up in the Fresno area played for the Stockton Ports in 1952 before going on to play for the Hiroshima Carp in the Japanese Majors and became a two-time All Star in Japan. Fibber went back to live and work in the Fresno area after his baseball playing days were over.

The following are the text portions that are cut and pasted from the 4-page program. The photos on the pages were too low a quality to scan. To read the text you will have to click on the image to open a bigger image.

Here is the original scan of the photo on the Asahi's page. One name is missing in the photo credits. That of Jim Tsunekawa, in the back row between Steve Gotanda and Ron Tsuruta.
This photo was scanned from a program for the 1964 California Nisei Baseball Championships being held in Stockton over the Labor Day weekend. Three of my college room mates are in the photo, Ron Kusama, Nori Yabumoto and Ken Kobayashi (who now resides in Adelaide, South Australia).

See also: A Century of Japanese American Baseball


Monday, June 15, 2009

Rohwer, AR

June 15, 2009

Where I was born - Rohwer Relocation Center, AR

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I was born in one of ten WW II Relocation Centers or Japanese-American Internment Camps. The Center that I was born in was Rohwer Relocation Center, AR on January 1, 1944.

Today was my first time visiting the site of that Camp since I left it as an infant in early 1945.

The only thing that is left is the Center Cemetery and four monuments placed in the surrounding little plot of land adjacent to the Cemetery.

An article in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History about Rohwer

The Toyota is pointing out since I took this photo as I was leaving what is left of Rohwer.
The little grove of trees at the end of the road is the location of the Memorial.
There is about a 1/2 mile gravel road from AR 1

One of 24 head stones

I was talking to my mother on the phone and the following photo is a view of where the rest of the buildings stood during WW II.

There were 10,000 residents at Rohwer during WW II.

The burg of Rohwer does have a Post Office, it is not on AR 1, but on an old adjoining road that may have been the old highway.

The long ago shut down General Store adjacent to the Post Office.

Click on the "View Larger Map" for an interactive map:

View Larger Map

~end of 2009 visit

My second visit within a one year time frame.

May 11, 2010

Rohwer Relocation Center, Arkansas where I was born on January 1, 1944

Click on any photo to see it full sized

I had just visited the site of the Jerome Relocation center which is only 24 miles south of Rohwer. But Rohwer is where I was born and at that site the cemetery still remains.
This year I am riding with my friend Sherm from Coos Bay, OR. He took the photos where I am in the picture. I have him in a couple of my photos.

From Wikipedia:
In its summary on the Rohwer Relocation Center Cemetery, the National Park Service indicates that the cemetery's condition is threatened due to deterioration of the grave markers and monuments, but that ownership of the site is unclear.[1] Deterioration is visible in photographs of the site. Deterioration is discussed in a report from the National Park Service to the President.[3]
A tank-shaped memorial, made of reinforced concrete, guards the cemetery, commemorating Japanese Americans who fought for the United States at Anzio and elsewhere in Italy and France during World War II. Thirty-one who came from Rohwer died in action, and their names are inscribed on the memorial, as well as a later memorial raised nearby.[3]
The cemetery is located 0.5 miles (0.8 km) west of State Route 1, approximately 12 miles (19.3 km) northeast of McGehee, Arkansas. Signs identify the graded road which goes from the highway to the cemetery, where there is room to park automobiles.

Here is the sign along Arkansas Hwy 1. But there is nothing at all there save a house or two along side the road.

Off on a side road there is the Rohwer Post Office in a pre fab building. Rohwer's zip code of 71666 is also shared with parts of McGehee.

Here I am getting ready to go inside the Post Office.

The Post Mistress is sorting out the mail in her office.

Here is the 71 year old Post Mistress who has held this job for about 35 years and lives just up the road a few miles.

These are some photos of the inside of the Post Office

Next door to the Post Office is Donley's General Store which closed its doors over 20 years ago.

Back to Arkansas Hwy 1 and about a quarter mile north you turn west onto this gravel road that leads to what remains of the Rohwer Relocation Center, its cemetery.
The clump of trees at the end of the road is the cemetery

Here are the head stones placed here from 1942 to late 1944.

Besides the cemetery there are two old monuments that were erected before the end of WW II and two fairly recent additional monuments.

I telephone mom to tell her that I am at Rohwer. Since the cemetery was at the south east corner of the Camp the land behind me was where the rest of the Camp was located.

Map of Rohwer Relocation Center

Article in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History in Culture

Click below and read the On Line Book in a new window:

Confinement and Ethnicity:
An Overview of World War IIJapanese American Relocation Sites
by J. Burton, M. Farrell, F. Lord, and R. Lord

~end .