Thursday 14th December 2017,

Bad Ass Asians

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The Courant: How UConn took a stand against anti-Japanese racism

posted by Randall

Kay KiyokawaUConn defeated City College of NY 21-0 on October 21, 1944 (photo from Oregon State).

But it wasn’t the score that the game will be remembered for, it will be the players.

The Courant reports the UConn backfield featured two Japanese Americans, both second generation or Nisei, who had been forced into incarceration camps just a year earlier.

UConn was one of 143 schools east of the Mississippi River who accepted Japanese Americans who passed an investigation of “loyalty.”

“My two-year stay at UConn was the most memorable experience in my life,” Kay Kiyokawa said when he returned to Storrs for a reunion and an oral history project in 2003. “Students were very friendly, and the facilities were outstanding.”

Kiyokawa also played baseball. His backfield mate, Bill Hayakawa, also played basketball.

Kiyokawa had previously played for Oregon State until he was incarcerated.

You can read the time Kiyokawa turned racial taunts into cheers in The Courant


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