It was the year 1941. It was the time of World War II, and I was living on the island nation of Hawaii. I was born here, in the United States, but my parents weren’t. They were born in Japan and moved here for a better life, because they were first generation Japanese-Americans, they didn’t have as much money as other people. We lived in Hawaii, where other Japanese-Americans had lived, and moved to. My father’s job had been one that he had in Japan. He would go out and fish in the Pacific Ocean. He would fish for about 7 hours a day depending on how many fish he had caught. He went after big tuna’s and swordfish. Whenever he caught one he would say a prayer, and thank the God’s for letting him catch the fish. On the weekend my father would bring me out fishing with him. He believed I was his good luck charm. Whenever I went we would catch more than double what my father catches in a usual day. My father was my role model and I wanted to go fishing with him everyday, but he wouldn’t allow me due to me having to go to school.
I was a ssophomoren Highschool, at the age of 14, I had one friend, his name was Tony. We had almost every class together and we lived close. His father was in the U.S. Air Force, so he had to inform him on where he’s going and when he would be back. Tony’s mother had died when he was 13, so he moved from Wisconsin to Hawaii.
He and I both liked baseball, and we always tried out for the High schools baseball team.
I was criticized in all ways when I showed up to the tryout. I had never before been on a baseball team. When it was my turn to go field the ball everyone watched with high anticipation to see me fail. It was a hard hit ball to the right of me; I quickly went to the right and fielded the ball. I got it in perfect formation and threw it to the first baseman. It was a perfectly thrown ball, it was shoulder height, and the guy purposely missed the ball. Everyone then began to laugh, and said it was my fault even when it wasn’t. This angered me due to the fact that I had done everything right, and then some kid just puts himself in the way of my excellence. That’s when someone said the wrong thing at the wrong time.
“Why don’t you go get the ball, you foreign piece of s***.” Informed Jamie.
“I’m not going to get the ball, it was perfectly thrown, and you purposely missed the ball” I contemplated to Jamie,
“Are you sure you want to talk back to me, the captain of this baseball team?” Jamie insisted.
“How are you even the team captain? You couldn’t even catch a ball that was perfectly thrown to you?”
A fight then broke out between Jamie and I. Everyone began to chant our names.
“Jamie you can do this, kick his a*s!”
“Come on Kenji you got this, don’t let him beat your a*s like that, fight back!”
That’s when the coaches came over. Everyone said that I had started the fight when it truly was Jamie. That’s when the coach began to give us a speech.
“You guys are teammates why would you ever want to hurt each other? Get back to practicing your skills.”
When I got home my mom had noticed the giant black eye I had suffered from the fight. She asked me what had happened. I began to tell her about the racist teammates at the tryout. “I told her about how I had fielded a ball and threw it to the first baseman. When it got to him, he purposely missed the ball. That’s when he told me that I had to go pick up the ball. I informed him on how he missed one of the best throws he’ll ever encounter on purpose, and that he sucks. He then wanted to beat me up.”
“Oh Kenji, why would you cause a ruckus with your teammates? We’re already hated in this part of the city.” My mother told me.
That then is when I began to try and make more white friends. I went to school the next day and my locker had profanity all over it. It was full of racism and swears. Everyone laughed at me when they had seen. This had to of been the worst day I’ve ever experienced in high school. Later that day I had tryouts again, it was the hitting part of the tryouts. I pushed myself to do well in this part, due to what had happened over the weekend. When everyone saw my skills in hitting, they didn’t even bother in making fun of me. When I finished my session of hitting I was thrilled by what I had done. When tryouts ended I was thrilled. I went to bed and that was the day for me.
When I woke up the next morning I went to school, the usual routine. When I arrived to school Jamie rushed up to me and told me the tryout information had been in. I quickly rushed over to look at the bulletin to what was chosen. I made the Junior Varsity baseball team and I was ecstatic. I was full of so much joy, and the whole baseball team had congratulated me. I went home and told my parents about what I had done. They were glad with what I did. We celebrated that night. We had my mom’s great-grandmothers secret recipe. It was delicious, the fish was smoked to perfection and there were multiple fruits I got to indulge into.
A week after finding out I had made the baseball team a tragic bombing had occurred. The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. That day, December 7th 1941 was stunning. I was walking to school and I saw Japanese planes fly over my head. I later heard bombs fall, and gun shots fire in the distance. I ran home and that’s when I saw the U.S. military taking my parents out of my house. I rushed up to them and they took me in. We were being put into internment camps until they sorted things out. The camps were horrible, we got no privacy and the living conditions were atrocious. They piled us in, that’s when I lost hope, and thought about what I had done that year. I made the baseball team, a life-long achievement I had for myself and I had never forgot about it. I died in that internment camp from lack of nutrition.