Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hiro Nishimura Interview
Narrator: Hiro Nishimura
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: April 28, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-nhiro-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: Okay, good. I'm going to switch gears here a little bit. I wanted to ask about the community events. In the Japanese community, when you were growing up, what were some of the major events where the whole community or a large community...

HN: Baseball tournament. The baseball tournament was the big thing. Fourth of July baseball tournament, that was the big thing. That drew, that drew teams from Portland, Spokane. Not Canada... there were teams in Canada, too, but Fourth of July tournament. Fourth of July baseball tournament, that was the biggest thing. That was the biggest thing. Judo tournaments were big, too.

TI: Well, let's talk about the baseball. So how many people would come to these tournaments?

HN: How many? [Laughs] Well, I never counted them, but there were many, many teams. You'd think the whole Japanese community was out there.

TI: So fans, lots of fans?

HN: Oh, fans, the players, yes. There were, it was a big thing.

TI: So are you talking about, like, hundreds, or thousands? HN: Well, I would think there were certainly hundreds, yes. There were, yes.

TI: And this would be Isseis and Niseis?

HN: Oh, yes. my father used to... well, not my father. There were other Issei that went to the game. In fact, yeah, of course, the other big thing was the Japanese school picnic up in Jefferson Park. That was the only one day, that was the picnic. That was a big thing, play lots of games. But that was just one-day event. But baseball, the Fourth of July tournament was about a three-day tournament. Big thing, that was a big thing.

TI: And where would the out-of-town players stay? Like Spokane --

HN: Oh, they stayed at N-P Hotel. Or maybe one or two teams stayed at my father's apartment house. We'd take in a team from California or Oakland or whatever.

TI: So during the day, you would play baseball, at night what would people do?

HN: Oh, I don't know about nighttime. I don't think we...

TI: Or after the games.

HN: I don't think there were... yeah, think back, everything was done during the daytime. There were no night events that I recall.

TI: So were there, other than playing against, like, a California team, were there any social things to get to know the players?

HN: Yeah, speaking of California teams, yeah, there was a basketball... that was another big thing. There was an interchange of California Nisei basketball champions would come up to the Northwest and play the Northwest teams. That was a big thing, too, that's right. That was a big thing. And then the Northwest champion would go down to tour California, yeah. Those were very, very enjoyable.

TI: And how competitive were the Seattle teams with California?

HN: We were, they were better than us, because there were more players, more teams down there. So they were more competitive. But our Seattle Buddhist church team, we beat the Oakland Acorns, they were the California champions. I felt very good about it, we beat them. Other northwest teams lost, but the Buddhist church team, we beat them. I felt very good about it.

TI: And so when you think back to your sports career, were you a pretty good athlete? How would they describe you?

HN: Yeah, the sports, this goes back to the Courier League and the sports. That's what kept our community very close together. I think that was very, very important as far as our outside activity was concerned. I think that kept us from juvenile delinquency and all that. Very important.

TI: But if your teammates were to describe you as, say, a basketball player, how would they describe you as a basketball player?

HN: Well, maybe I was the sixth man. I enjoyed playing. I think I got a lot out of sports.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.