Courtyard Kaeru’s Japanese American Sports Card Set
Twelve sports cards celebrate the history and diversity of Japanese American community and participation in sports from the exhibition More Than a Game: Sport in the Japanese American Community.
Each card contains interesting facts about sports and how Japanese Americans made an impact in baseball, basketball, weightlifting, judo, sumo, golf, wrestling, kendo, racing, and bowling.
Some of the trivia from the cards:
BASEBALL – 1951: After playing football for the San Francisco 49ers, Wally Yonamine begins a 38-year career in Japanese baseball, signing with the Tokyo Giants.
BASKETBALL – Did You Know...that the first non-white player for the Basketball Association of America (precursor to the NBA) was Japanese American? [Wat Misaka played for the New York Knicks in 1947]
BOWLING – 1949: a Nisei team in Seattle challenges the American Bowling Congress policy prohibiting membership by people of color by entering a Boeing Bowling League. By 1950 the color ban in bowling was lifted.
GOLF – Did You Know…that golf was so popular with Japanese Americans that they even built makeshift golf courses in some of the concentration camps?
JUDO – 1964: Judo is introduced as an Olympic sport at the Tokyo games.
RACING – 1998: Chick Hirashima is elected to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame, following a career of building winning engines and managing successful teams for the Indianapolis 500.
WEIGHTLIFTING – Did You Know...that Tommy Kono won eight consecutive world championships (including two Olympic gold medals) in three different weight classes? [He was world champion every year from 1953 through 1959]
WRESTLING – 1964: Harold Sakata, 1948 Olympic silver medal-winning weightlifter turned professional wrestler, stars as “Oddjob” in the James Bond movie, Goldfinger. [He later adopts the famous bowler hat as his professional trademark.]