Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Victor Ikeda Interview
Narrator: Victor Ikeda
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: November 6, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-ivictor-01-0011

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RP: So when did you first begin to get sort of an awareness that you gravitated towards sports and athletics? Starting in elementary school, did you...

VI: Yes, about elementary school. During that era, I think there wasn't very much for young people to do. We didn't have amusement centers and all that, we had one Playland, but it was some miles away. So you spent a lot of times doing sandlot baseball, football, or basketball. And usually there's a field house close by, so that you spent a lot of time there. So most of the... and another thing, if you played sandlot ball, everybody gets to play. You play Little League, sometimes if you're not good enough, you know, you don't get to play. And that was one of the advantages of having these sandlot games so that everybody that wanted to play, played.

RP: So when did you actually start playing?

VI: Oh, seven, eight, nine, ten years old. I mean, you know, I can't even remember when I didn't play or do something.

RP: Can you tell us how, how the league was organized in Seattle?

VI: Well, the Courier League was basically the newspaper, and you had... the editor, Mr. Sakamoto, I'm trying to remember his first name, he used to be a boxer, and he was blind. And he was the Courier's editor, and he established these leagues. And like I said, you had the A, B, C, double-A, A, B, C leagues. And so as you're younger, you join the C League, and if you became the champion of the C League, you automatically moved up to the B League and the new ones. So that way, the B League would move up to A, so eventually, people would be moving up to the double-A. And most of the kids I knew played ball in these leagues, in these teams. And it was basically a basketball league, and we had Collins Playfield, and the director was Gene Boyd, and he kind of adopted the whole Japanese community, he knew us all by name, from the people that played in the C League to the people that graduated. And he's been a real good friend to us through the war years and after it.

RP: Took a real interest in sports.

VI: Right, right.

RP: So, so baseball in particular was a way of developing social relationships and meeting new kids and folks that you're still in touch with, I imagine?

VI: Yeah, like one of the friends is, one of his latest remarks were that, "We've been together for seventy years," and he says, "Not very many people could say that."

RP: This is one of your buddies?

VI: Yeah.

RP: What's his name?

VI: Mas Watanabe, and he's on Tom's interviews.

RP: Oh, he's already been interviewed?

VI: Yeah, well, he's passed away, you know.

RP: So you started playing ball with him?

VI: Well, we started playing ball together, and we've grown up with each other all the way through thick and thin, the camp and the war years. And then our kids are grown up, so it's a very close community.

RP: That's special.

VI: Yeah.

RP: This Mr. Sakamoto that you mentioned, was the editor of the Courier?

VI: It was a newspaper.

RP: Was it Japanese?

VI: English newspaper.

RP: English newspaper?

VI: Yeah.

RP: But did it cater to Japanese readers?

VI: Yes, uh-huh. So it had all the sports news in there.

RP: So he'd report on these leagues?

VI: Yeah, the teams, who won and all that. One year, oh, must have been about ten years ago, we had a reunion, and it's too bad, 'cause all these reunions are done after many people have passed away. It's too bad we can't do it sooner, you know. Even like I was talking to Tom, he started interviewing for Densho, but too bad he couldn't start ten years earlier, 'cause there are so many stories there that you missed.

RP: We feel the same way about it, too.

VI: Oh, yeah.

RP: Even, yeah, even ten years would have made a huge difference.

VI: Ten, twenty, fifty years. He'd been doing it for ten years, but if he'd have done it ten years earlier, very colorful characters are around, stories...

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2007 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.