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A Time Remembered: The Terminal Island Story (film)


Documentary film on the Japanese American community on Terminal Island , a fishing village of the Southern California coast that was the first such community to excluded en masse in February 1942.

The 44 minute film begins and ends with contemporary footage of annual reunion picnics on the island where former prewar residents gather to reminisce. First-person narration by Tak Koyamatsu—based on accounts by former Terminal Island residents—describes the history of the island and its Japanese community and heyday of that community in the years prior to World War II. The story then turns to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the subsequent arrest and detention of nearly all of the male fishermen, and the exclusion of all Japanese Americans on the island with just forty-eight hours' notice. After most resettled in Los Angeles, they were they caught up in the mass forced removal of all West Coast Japanese Americans, with most ending up in Manzanar . The narration is augmented by interview with Terminal Islanders as well as historical still and moving images. Prewar movies of fishing boat and Terminal Island community life came from Ben Fukuzaki and K. Ishikawa. The film ends with a reunion picnic, with the narrator noting that even as memories fade, the island will remain a special place for all those who once lived there.

Though finished in 1994, the roots of the film go back to the 1970s. Filmmaker Trevor Greenwood was a cinematography professor at USC who became interested in the Terminal Island story and completed research and a script with Don Estes as technical advisor. The team secured a $25,000 grant from the California Council for Humanities, while the Pacific Southwest District office of the Japanese American Citizens League kicked in $10,000 more. Additional funding came from The Donnet Fund, T. June Fujita, and the Terminal Islanders Association.

A later film, The Lost Village of Terminal Island (2007) revisited the story.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like The Lost Village of Terminal Island (2007); After Silence: Civil Rights and the Japanese American Experience (2003); The Red Pines: Japanese-Americans on Bainbridge Island (2006)

Media Details
Release Date 1995
Runtime 44 minutes
Director Trevor Greenwood
Producer Trevor Greenwood
Writer Trevor Greenwood
Narrator Tak Koyamatsu
Starring Fred Fujikawa (interviewee), Charles Hamasaki (interviewee), Fusaye Hashimoto (interviewee), Eku Kanai (interviewee), Henry Murakami (interviewee), Saburo Seko (interviewee)
Cinematography Steve Ramsey
Editing James Whitney