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How Japanese-American Detainees Formed Wyoming’s Largest Soccer Team | US Sports

TAmotu “Babe” Nomura, a quarterback for the Heart Mountain High School Eagles football team, snapped on a warm October day in Wyoming nearly 80 years ago. Once ready for a successful movement in Los Angeles, Nomura is now in Heart Mountain as the US government established it as one of several mountains. Internment camp for 120,000 Japanese Americans There was suspicion of disloyalty during World War II.

A barbed wire fence surrounded Heart Mountain and its draft wooden barracks, and everything was always guarded. However, on October 1, 1943, the Eagles won because of human dignity. In the team’s first match, Nomura threw a last-minute touchdown pass and kicked an additional point 7-0. They will go into an undefeated season. This notable team Heart Mountain Eagles, A new book by Bradford Pearson.

“I say in the book, from an evidence point of view, they were the biggest football team in. Wyoming “History,” says Pearson.

“Many people probably don’t agree with that,” he added, citing the relatively small number of games the Eagles could play. Still, he said: Overcoming daily difficulties, he continues to dominate other teams. “

The Eagles have been in two seasons, winning six games and losing only once while playing in a larger, mostly white high school. Team cohesion was threatened by a bitter development. The government sought to draft some of the imprisoned Japanese Americans in search of personnel to wage war.

“Part of what appealed to me to write this story was that every member of the Eagles had to make this decision,” Pearson explains. “Some people have signed up, others have said,’No, I won’t.'” [want] You’re not treating me like a citizen to be drafted, I’m stepping down. They ended up going to jail for that. “

One of the men who went to jail was Taizo Matsumoto of the Eagles who also appeared on the camp baseball team. This book details the broader story of Japanese Americans who fought for their rights in court. 1944 US Supreme Court Case Korematsu v. United States..

“It was based on disinformation that led to the imprisonment of Japanese Americans,” says Pearson. “You have to look at disinformation, which led to the creation of camps without complete knowledge of the actual military intelligence. It resembles the complete ignorance of today’s authority. When it comes to election results and epidemiologists.. “

Pearson first learned about the Eagles in 2013 while working on an article about Yellowstone in Wyoming. He visited a nearby interpreting center at the former Heart Mountain Camp, where 11,000 Japanese Americans were once imprisoned.

“I was completely surprised at what I didn’t know much about,” he says.

That included the success of the camp soccer team. He made important contacts with Nomura’s daughter, Jan Morey, and interviewed Keiichi Ikeda, the last living player of the Eagles.

Nomura was the only Japanese-American player at Hollywood High School in Los Angeles.His days are over after Japan Attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941. As the book explains, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration has moved Japanese Americans to concentration camps for fear that they may support Japan during the war.

“There was no military need for this,” says Pearson. “The lives of 120,000 people, and future lives, children born in this community after the war. Their livelihoods, lands and livelihoods are stripped of them for reasons other than pure racism and economic opportunism. it was done.”

The Nomura family was first sent to a temporary facility at the Santa Anita Racecourse, which was once famous for its seabiscuit. The horse stall was diverted to accommodate US citizens.

“They were treated in a truly impersonal way,” says Pearson.

While running along the course, Nomura met George “Horse” Yoshinaga, a young athlete who grew up on a strawberry farm in Mountain View, California. They have become lifelong friends.

Nomura and Yoshinagas, like many in Santa Anita, were eventually taken to Heart Mountain.The name of the camp is 8,100-foot rocky mountainPearson describes it in the book as “a geological anomaly that rises beyond human ignorance.”

The Winter Olympics at the camp took place in frigid conditions. Photo: National Archives of Japan

Temperatures in Hart Mountain can exceed 100F (37.7C) in summer and fall below 0F (-17C) in winter, with snowfall beginning in September. The barracks were made of shrunk green wood, leaving holes that people closed in newspapers and Sears Roebuck catalog pages to prevent the winter breeze.

Heart Mountain provided exercise opportunities, from sumo to basketball. In 1943, the Eagles football team began playing at a rival school. Nomura and Yoshinaga were two of only three players with high school soccer experience.

After winning the opening game thanks to Nomura, “from there they start steam rolling the team,” says Pearson. “They really started making their name in the state.”

At their season finale, eligibility issues set Nomura aside. The Eagles won anyway.

“Over the state, it has been established that the Heart Mountain team is not a roaming team,” says Pearson.

There were some changes during the Eagles second season. Nomura became the head coach and Yoshinaga became the camp sports writer. The team continued to win, often with a biased margin that attracted attention from national media outlets. Thousands of people came to see the camp.

During the season, the Eagles faced the possibility of being drafted. The Ministry of the Army had previously classified Japanese Americans as ineligible, but due to labor shortages, they first called in volunteers and then revived the draft.

The Eagles who participated in the war included Yoshinaga, who first went to Japan on a US warship in the aftermath of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The unlikely diagnosis of flat feet prevented Nomura from serving.

Yoshinaga poses in soccer during the military era
During the military era, Yoshinaga poses in soccer. Photo: Provided by Yoshinaga family

At Heart Mountain and other camps, the desire to fight for the United States was not universal. Draft resisters were tested and often sent to jail, including 63 of the largest class trials in history in Wyoming.

“People who resisted were brave in another way,” says Pearson. “They did not treat them with respect and were asked by the government to protect countries that they did not consider to be citizens. [asking them to fight] In Italy and France [while] Their family will have to stay behind the barbed wire at the camp. “

The success of the US military led to the dismantling of the camp. Former detainees sought to rebuild life in the United States after the war.

Nomura became a football star, first at Los Angeles City College and then at San Jose State University. He led San Jose State University to the crown of the Raisin Bowl and was recognized all over the West Coast. The tryout offer came from the New York Giants in football and the Boston Red Sox in baseball, but he declined both.

Instead, Nomura worked for a seafood company, but played in the baseball and softball leagues and “became a great golfer when baseball, softball, basketball, and soccer started to move,” Pearson said. say. “He was the dominant athlete even in his last year. His family is hosting a commemorative golf tournament to this day.”

Yoshinaga became a sports entrepreneur and said, “Most Respected Japanese American Newspaper Columnist “Domestic,” says Pearson.

Nomura and Yoshinaga have been friends since spending time at the Eagles.

“In the end, this was a story about friendship,” says Pearson. “In almost 70 years … I have their relationship, they have this friendship in their lives.”

How Japanese-American Detainees Formed Wyoming’s Largest Soccer Team | US Sports

Source link How Japanese-American Detainees Formed Wyoming’s Largest Soccer Team | US Sports

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