John Sunada

John has been married to Mary Sunada for 40 years and he is a retired marine/fishery biologist for the State of California Department of Fish and Game. They have two sons, James and David. John has published a number of scientific papers relating to his research studies with the Department. He has been involved with volunteer work with the Cerritos Senior Center and the Nikkei Social Club. He is also a member of the Long Beach Coin Club. He along with his wife Mary enjoy fishing with their sons in the high Sierras.

Updated September 2020

community en

Nikkei Chronicles #10—Nikkei Generations: Connecting Families & Communities

Fishing with Dad

My first recollection of catching a fish was when my dad took me to the San Joaquin River, just below the massive 544-foot-tall Friant Dam, which is located 20 miles east of Fresno. For a 12-year-old, fishing was boring since I had yet to catch a fish. But Dad taught me how to tie a hook, to bait the hook with salmon eggs, how to cast out the line, and to be patient. So, he sat me down under the concrete bridge over the river as he wandered around the bend of the river where he could find a spot. As I gazed over the cold, clear, slow flowing river, I threw my line out into the river and sat …

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Nikkei Chronicles #9—More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports

Little League Baseball Then (1959) and Now (1992)

My first exposure to baseball was around 1959 when my parents signed me up for baseball through the Fresno Buddhist Church which sponsored youth athletic sports such as baseball. This form of church “Little League” consisted of teams from various churches, both Buddhist and Christian throughout the area. The teams were made up of Japanese American (Sansei) teens, ages 11 to 12, with a maximum of 12 players. I knew most of them from church and they lived in the city of Fresno and its suburbs. I was the lone outcast from the rural portion (Inaka) of Fresno. I never was fully accepte…

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Nikkei Chronicles #8—Nikkei Heroes: Trailblazers, Role Models, and Inspirations

The Hero I Never Met

My hero Is my late father-in-law Yoneto James Nakata. He was the father of my wife, Mary Nakata. She asked me to research her father’s life as she never knew him because he died when she was only six months old. Over a period of 30 years, I came to know him through the few documents that Mary had. Yoneto Nakata was born in Sanger, California on November 25, 1918 to immigrants from Hiroshima, Japan. They worked in the San Joaquin Valley as farm workers, picking fruits such as grapes and peaches. But in 1925, his parents along with him returned to Japan. There Yoneto grew up in a new l…

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