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Popular Sports in the Nikkei Community (Japanese)

(Japanese) We mainly played baseball, and also played volleyball and table tennis. There were many facilities in the community. We had our own baseball teams since we were little kids.

Of course, some people wanted to play soccer. Since it was Argentina, there was no trouble finding people to play with. But non-Nikkei were quite good at soccer. They had somewhat different physiques, and they were just really very good. It was difficult for us to shine there; the hurdles were high. That’s why we played more baseball and table tennis. We were strong at table tennis. We won a lot of regional tournaments in that one.


Argentina baseball Buenos Aires communities Escobar sports table tennis

Date: September 22, 2019

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Yoko Nishimura

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Juan Alberto Matsumoto was born in 1962 in the city of Escobar, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He received an informal bilingual education attending the Japanese school in Escobar. While he was in college, he enlisted in the Malvinas War (Falklands War) and served as a signalman. Afterwards, he graduated from the University of Salvador in Buenos Aires with a degree in international relations. In 1990, he went to Japan as a government-sponsored student. He majored in Labor law at Yokohama National University where he received a master’s degree.

Currently he serves as a public relations legal translator, a court interpreter, and broadcast interpreter, as well as a lecturer at JICA trainee orientations. He also teaches Spanish language and Latin American politics and law at the University of Shizuoka and occasionally he gives talks on multicultural coexistence. He also provides various supports for Latin American Nikkei living in Japan. (February 2020)

George Ariyoshi
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George Ariyoshi

Ethnic diversity

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

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James Hirabayashi
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James Hirabayashi

Christian gatherings in homes

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

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James Hirabayashi
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James Hirabayashi

Not bringing shame to family

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

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James Hirabayashi
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James Hirabayashi

Role of the Japanese American National Museum

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

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Tommy Kono
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Tommy Kono

Sudden change in status

(1930-2016) Weightlifter. Two-time Olympic gold medalist.

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Wally Kaname Yonamine
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Wally Kaname Yonamine

Returning to Maui during baseball off-seasons to remind himself of the hard work required to succeed

(b.1925) Nisei of Okinawan descent. Had a 38-year career in Japan as a baseball player, coach, scout, and manager.

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Wally Kaname Yonamine
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Wally Kaname Yonamine

Brought aggressive American style to Japanese baseball

(b.1925) Nisei of Okinawan descent. Had a 38-year career in Japan as a baseball player, coach, scout, and manager.

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Wally Kaname Yonamine
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Wally Kaname Yonamine

The privations of living in post-war Japan, 1952

(b.1925) Nisei of Okinawan descent. Had a 38-year career in Japan as a baseball player, coach, scout, and manager.

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Wally Kaname Yonamine
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Wally Kaname Yonamine

Working in cane fields as teenager, and how it helped in his athletic training (Japanese)

(b.1925) Nisei of Okinawan descent. Had a 38-year career in Japan as a baseball player, coach, scout, and manager.

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Peggie Nishimura Bain
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Peggie Nishimura Bain

Learning American cooking

(b.1909) Nisei from Washington. Incarcerated at Tule Lake and Minidoka during WWII. Resettled in Chicago after WWII

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Art Shibayama
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Art Shibayama

Playing baseball along with American Nisei and Kibei

(1930-2018) Nisei born in Peru. Taken to the United States during WWII.

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Roger Shimomura
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Roger Shimomura

Japanese American community life

(b. 1939) Japanese American painter, printmaker & professor

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Kimi Wakabayashi
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Kimi Wakabayashi

Her early life in Canada

(b.1912) Japanese Canadian Issei. Immigrated with husband to Canada in 1931

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Enson Inoue
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Enson Inoue

The reason for coming to Japan

(b. 1967) Hawai`i-born professional fighter in Japan

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George Azumano
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George Azumano

Downtown in Portland, Oregon

(b. 1918) Founder Azumano Travel

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