442: For the Future (film)
Docu-drama by Patricia Kinaga that tells the story of the Japanese American World War II experience with a focus on the exploits of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team , through the experiences of four characters.
442: For the Future tells its story through the eyes of Issei sisters Nesan ( Nobuko McCarthy ) and Yuri (Saachiko) and their Nisei sons Harry (Darrell Kunitomi) and Kenji (Shaun Shimoda), with one family unit ending up in the continental U.S. and the other in Hawai'i. The characters appear to be composites, since much specific information—such as where exactly they lived and which concentration camps they went to—is omitted. The characters reminisce about their lives and sometimes read letters to each other over a wide range of still photographs from both private and public sources. None of the actors appear on camera.
The hour-long film is divided into eight sections. "Coming to America: Hiroshima, circa 1920" begins with the Issei women talking about their migration to the U.S. and their early life there, while "Growing Up Through the Teens: Mainland and Hawaiian Style" brings in the perspective of their sons and the contrast of growing up Japanese American in Hawai'i versus the continental U.S. "The Day of Infamy" explores the impact of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, while "Removal" focuses on the mass removal and incarceration of West Coast Japanese Americans. From there, the film turns to the military story. "The 100th Battalion Paving the Way" focuses on Kenji, who becomes a member of the 100th Infantry Battalion and writes to his family from Camp McCoy, Wisconsin. "The 442nd Regimental Combat Team" focuses on Harry's experience, when he volunteers for the army from an unspecified concentration camp. The longest section of the film, "Remember Pearl Harbor: September 2, 1943, North Africa," looks at the two cousins' experiences in battle in Europe, touching on the major campaigns the 100th and later the 442nd were involved in. Several individual stories are highlighted, including that of Joe Takata, Kiichi Koda, Sadao Munemori , and Daniel Inouye . A brief final section, "Coming Home," touches on the different receptions returning soldiers faced in Hawai'i and on the continent. The film ends with an on-screen coda by Hawai'i State Senator Carol Fukunaga on the legacy of the 442nd.
A Los Angeles based attorney at the time, Kinaga first delved into filmmaking with About Love (1992), an hour-long docu-drama that looks at domestic violence in the Asian American community drawn in part from her own experience in prosecuting such cases. Encouraged by the response to About Love , she pursued another personal story in 442 , since her father was in the 442nd and her mother was in a concentration camp. The storyline was based on interviews with both Nisei veterans and those who experienced the incarceration. 
Might also like 442: Live with Honor, Die with Dignity (2010); The Color of Honor: The Japanese American Soldier in WWII (1987); A Tradition of Honor (2003)
- Hawaii Herald , Aug. 21, 1992, C-1; Joli Selten, "The Accidental Filmmaker," Super Lawyers, Feb. 2004, accessed on June 22, 2016 at http://www.superlawyers.com/california-southern/article/the-accidental-filmmaker/06058a65-2260-4a67-b488-522c2c13aa9d.html
|Starring||Nobuko McCarthy (Nesan), Saachiko (Yuri), Darrell Kunitomi (Harry), Shaun Shimoda (Kenji), Carol Fukunaga (herself)|
|Studio||Pacific Rim Currents|