In March 2016 A Walk in Their Shoes will feature presentations of two stories centered around WWII and the injustice our government bestowed upon the Japanese-Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The stories are the subject of the books, A Diamond in the Desert, by Kathryn Fitzmaurice, and Barbed Wire Baseball, by Marissa Moss. These stories show how determined Japanese Americans kept their dignity and their love for America even though it was not reciprocated. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7th suddenly Japanese Americans found themselves suspected of spying for the enemy. Over 120,000 people on the West Coast were rounded up and forced to leave their homes and businesses. Fathers were arrested by the FBI, newspaper headlines throughout the nation warned people not to trust Japanese Americans, and their property and businesses were lost as our government sent them hundreds of miles away to internment camps. Their only crime—they were of Japanese ancestry.
Kerry Yo Nakagawa, Howard Zenimure and Tetsu Kishi will share this piece of American history with community members and the students throughout Marathon County. Kerry Yo Nakagawa is an accomplished writer, director, and the founder and director for the non-profit Nisei Baseball Research Project (NBRP). Accompanying him will be Mr. Zenimure and Mr. Kishi to help with the presentations. Both Mr. Howard Zenimure and Mr. Tetsu Kishi are former camp internees and baseball players for the Gila River camp baseball team. Both men and their families were interned in Arizona on the Gila River Indian Reservation at the Gila River War Relocation Center. Baseball at Gila River gave Japanese Americans a sense of pride, hope, and normalcy; making life bearable during their incarceration. After the war the camps were closed, it was still a decades-long journey for healing, an apology, and recognition that such indignities must never happen again to other groups in America. Through the efforts of Mr. Kerry Yo Nakagawa, his organization, and his countless projects, people throughout America are able to learn, remember, and retell these stories so they are not forgotten.
A Walk in Their Shoes thanks our generous sponsors for bringing this story of American history to life for students and community members in central Wisconsin. Since 2007 A Walk in Their Shoes has created opportunities of living history for thousands of students and community members.