Bread City Basketball


Japanese Prison Camp Basketball
August 15, 2007, 8:27 am
Filed under: Art, Basketball, Bread City, History | Tags: ,

In 1942, over 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast were removed from their homes and placed in detention camps. Basketball was pretty much the only thing for kids to do, and it gave the older inmates something to watch. Organized games, under the guard of military police, were the social highpoint of the weekend. Even during the week crowds would show just to check out some kids running a pick-up game on makeshift courts.

Japanese prisoner basketball teams were sometimes allowed to compete with schools outside of the camps, allowing a rare glimpse into the outside world. Upon the dissolution of the camps in 1945, inmates were given $25 and a bus ticket. (GATE MONEY.) In 1988, reparations were paid out with a signed apology from Ronald Reagan on behalf of the American people. Today it’s estimated that 14,000 Japanese-Americans in Southern California play basketball regularly in clubs and weekend leagues.

Japanese-American Internment Camp Basketball

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7 Comments so far
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Great stuff. Citations? Got sources we can cite?

Comment by Ed Darrell

That was really interesting, and nice picture.

Comment by solag

I wonder what the gambling situation was.

Comment by Ezekielrage

I’d bet there was a lot of gambling. I’m not sure why, exactly, but it seems that when people are locked-up, the urge to gamble comes on strong.

Comment by Jake

Hi, Jake! I love this pic. I’ve just finished writing my undergraduate thesis paper about recreation in the Japanese American internment camps. I thought you’d like to know that there was actually a LOT more to do than just basketball. For one thing, baseball was the biggest thing going in all of the 10 camps, but all kinds of sports, games, music, dancing, and arts and crafts were pursued. These people dealt with the internment in a remarkable way that should be commemorated.

Comment by Lynette

Have you submitted your paper for publication, Lynette?

Some humble history blogs might consent to publish it for you . . .

Comment by Ed Darrell

Lynette–I too am curious if you published your paper on the topic. I could love to read it!

Comment by Jennifer




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