Scottsdale Civic Center Library to showcase WWII internment camp baseball

This year’s Cactus League Hall of Fame induction and an exhibit at Scottsdale’s Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd., touch upon a chapter of history about World War II Japanese internment camp baseball and the impact it had on the sport and culture of Arizona.

As part of that programming, the Arizona Spring Training Experience and the Cactus League Hall of Fame will present a free screening of the 2007 feature film “American Pastime.” The screening is 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 13, in the auditorium of Scottsdale’s Civic Center Library, a press release states.

In conjunction with the induction of Chicago Cubs longtime clubhouse manager Yosh Kawano to the Cactus League Hall of Fame, “American Pastime” provides an intimate look into the lives of Japanese Americans detained at internment camps during WWII and the significance of baseball in Japanese American culture.

Mr. Kawano, who worked as a teenage bat boy for the Chicago White Sox and spent 65 years in the Chicago Cubs organization, was detained with his family at the Poston War Relocation Center near Yuma before embarking on his big league career, according to a release.

Mr. Kawano’s story — and those of other Cactus League Hall of Fame inductees — is recounted as part of the Civic Center Library exhibit and memorabilia display open now through early April.

The March 13 screening of “American Pastime” will be introduced and followed by a Q&A session with its producer Kerry Yo Nakagawa, founding curator of “Diamonds in the Rough” an international touring exhibit on Japanese-American baseball.

He is also the author of “Through A Diamond, 100 Years of Japanese American Baseball” and “The History of Japanese American Baseball in California.”

Author Bill Staples, “The Legacy of Japanese American Baseball” will also be participating in the post-film discussion.

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