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Diamonds in the Rough (film)

Documentary film on Japanese American baseball that focuses on Kenichi Zenimura (1900–68), a pioneering Issei baseball player and coach in Hawai'i and in Fresno, California. The film includes four main sections. The first looks at Zenimura's prewar baseball exploits, and by extension, Japanese American baseball in general, featuring interviews with those who played with or against him. The next focuses on the World War II incarceration that saw Zenimura and his family sent to the Gila River, Arizona, concentration camp, where he famously built a baseball field. Next, the film looks at the postwar phenomenon of Nisei players going to Japan and becoming stars in the Japanese major leagues, focusing on the most prominent such player, Wally Yonamine. The final segment sees Zenimura's son Howard returning to the site of the Gila River camp and visiting the location of the former barracks and of the baseball field. Actor Noriyuki "Pat" Morita serves as the film's host and narrator, and appears on camera in various locations, including Gila River.

Diamonds in the Rough was a product of the Nisei Baseball Research Project and was made by Chip Taylor Communications. A number of the interviews—including one with Zenimura's widow, Kiyoko, and with Yonamine—were conducted in Japanese, with Morita providing voiceover in English.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like American Pastime (2007); Day of Independence (2003); Top of Their Game (2000)

For Information

Nisei Baseball Research Project website: .

Chip Taylor Communictions website: .

Kanopy Streaming link:

Media Details
Release Date 1999
Runtime 34 minutes
Director Gan Hanada
Producer Kerry Yo Nakagawa
Writer Kerry Yo Nakagawa
Narrator Noriyuki "Pat" Morita
Starring Kerry Yo Nakagawa (interviewee), Fumio Ikeda (interviewee), Shig Tokumoto (interviewee), Don Jorgensen (interviewee), Bruce Farris (interviewee), Kyoko Zenimura (interviewee), Wally Yonamine (interviewee), Harvey Zenimura (interviewee), Howard Zenimura (interviewee), Fibber Hirayama (interviewee), Ben Mitsuyoshi (interviewee)
Cinematography Shu Hanada
Editing Ichiro Kajiwara
Studio Nisei Baseball Research Project and Chip Taylor Communications