In February after the Pan-Pacific Soccer Tournament at Aloha Stadium, where David Beckham was not enough to draw excess crowds, Global Game editor (and my uncle) John Turnbull posted a finely written, researched and composed piece connecting soccer to Barack Obama and to a brief history of Japanese in Hawai`i, including the unlawful interments that took place after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
After reading his essay, I recommended to John that he pick up a copy of Life Behind Barbed Wire: The World War II Internment Memoirs of a Hawai’i Issei by Yasutaro Soga, which I reviewed for the Honolulu Advertiser in December 2007. It is a very unique look at life in camps in Honolulu and the mainland, at the integration of Japanese immigrants into Hawaiian life and culture, and the deleterious effects of the internments.
Throughout the book, America’s war-time internment program is revealed to be both tragic and illogical, inspiring support of Japan and encouraging anti-Americanism among internees even as the action was undertaken in the name of national security. It’s a vital reminder that alternatives to visible and invisible barbed-wire fences do exist.
Here’s a short excerpt of John’s essay:
Islands | A multihued archipelago, tuned to soccer’s harmonics
By John Turnbull, February 29, 2008
Honolulu | Major League Soccer executives and tourism authorities sounded gloomy about long-term prospects for the Pan-Pacific Soccer Championships, blaming low attendance at Aloha Stadium on “sports fatigue” and inadequate marketing. Excitement over native son Barack Obama, who won Hawai‘i’s presidential caucus the day before the tournament started on Feb 20, meant soccerheads had to search even harder for news before the inaugural four-match event, featuring L.A. Galaxy, Houston Dynamo, Sydney FC and Gamba Osaka.