Sunday, October 9, 2016

History in person at judo legends event

I'll be honest – not only agreed to come to the judo legends event  because Hayward Nishioka  asked me to speak and I have known Hayward two thirds of my life.  Unlike a lot of people in judo who I have known much of my life and can't stand, Hayward is someone I truly respect and value the great contributions he has made to judo.

Tosh Seino was the first speaker.  I have always known that he was a great judo player. As you can see from the photo above, he's not a very big person and yet he was very successful in competition back in the days when weight divisions were optional.

What I didn't know is that he and his family had been in the Tule Lake  concentration camp. Even though, they were third generation Americans, like other Americans of Japanese descent they were forced to leave their homes and relocated to camps.

Tosh's  father was one of the "no no boys". If you don't know what that is, let me tell you – during World War II, Americans of Japanese descent were required to complete a loyalty questionnaire. The two questions to which Tosh's  father and others answered "no" were these:

Question number 27 asked if Nisei men were willing to serve on combat duty wherever ordered and asked everyone else if they would be willing to serve in other ways, such as serving in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Question number 28 asked if individuals would swear unqualified allegiance to the United States and forswear any form of allegiance to the Emperor of Japan.

 As if, being interned in a concentration camp as a child was not enough, after the war, the family moved back to Japan. Tosh  moved back to America  by himself when he was only 17 years old. He lived with the family that paid him $50 a month, plus his room and board, for chores. Fees for the judo club for $10 a month. When he change to a new family, he only received $40 a month and so he cleaned the dojo to pay his fees.

Think about this moment. We have one of the best judo players in the country who is mopping the floors to reimburse the dojo for training him. That is a level of humility we don't see anymore.

Being a judo champion is an admirable achievement. Even more admirable, is doing it after losing everything you own for no fault other than being the wrong race. Even more admirable is coming to a country where you barely know the language, because even though it's your country, you left when you were a small child and came back in your teens all on your own. Even more admirable than being a judo champion, is doing what many immigrants do, learning the language, working a series of menial jobs and nonetheless managing to get education and  become a respected member of the community.

The judo legends event was a great idea. It was an opportunity to hear people speak who are living history. It was a reminder that there are legends living among us  and that we are very fortunate to know them.

 PS. I'll do more blogs on others featured at this event but I wanted each person to be recognized separately because they all are really amazing.

 and other exciting news – – – my company just released our first app for  the iPad. Please download it and give us an amazing review. It's fun and you will learn history and math.

1 comment:

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