BACK Rebuilding Home Plate: AZ Heritage Center’s Newest Exhibit

Arizona Heritage Center’s Newest Exhibit Explores How Baseball Served and Saved the Japanese Americans Imprisoned in Arizona’s Incarceration Camps During World War II

“Rebuilding Home Plate – Baseball in Arizona’s Japanese American Incarceration Camps” opens  January 26 at the Arizona Heritage Center in Tempe, Arizona


“Rebuilding Home Plate – Baseball in Arizona’s Japanese American Incarceration Camps” opens to the public 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., January 26.

The exhibit tells the stories of Japanese Americans who were stripped of their constitutional rights during World War II and how “America’s Pastime” was a means of enduring and escaping their imprisonment. 

In the early 1900s, Japanese American baseball was a hit across Hawaii and the West Coast among first-generation Japanese Americans and their children. But after Executive Order 9066, Americans of Japanese descent were forced into 10 incarceration camps across the U.S., two of which were in Arizona – Gila River and Poston. Baseball became a way for some to rebuild their homes in the Arizona desert.

Among the items on display are the hand-carved home plate made by the “Father of Japanese American Baseball” Kenichi Zenimura used at the Gila River incarceration camp, the 1943 Butte Camp Tournament Champions banner, the 1921 State Championship Trophy of the Japanese American Fresno Athletic Club, the 2003 MLB All-Star bat used by Ichiro Suzuki, and Yosh Kawano’s signed bucket hat. 

“Rebuilding Home Plate” is presented in partnership with the Nisei Baseball Research Project, the Arizona Baseball Legacy and Experience, and the Japanese American Citizens League-Arizona Chapter. 

The Arizona Heritage Center is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 1300 N. College Ave, Tempe, AZ 85288. Purchase tickets at  


Media Preview

For media interested in previewing the exhibition and interviewing the Curator on Wednesday, January 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., please contact Marianna Touloumes at [email protected] or 480-387-5357.

Museum Location

Arizona Heritage Center

1300 N. College Ave.

Tempe, AZ 85288


Daily Museum Hours

Tuesday – Saturday

10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Download the VIP Exhibit Reveal and Reception Program



Arizona Historical Society