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Ohakamairi: A Visit to the Graves (film)


Short documentary student film by Janice D. Tanaka that focuses on the annual pilgrimages to Manzanar made by Buddhist Rev. Sentoku Maeda. Shot in 16mm black and white while a student at the University of Southern California (USC), Tanaka's film lets Maeda tell his story in his own voice, accompanied by historical photos and footage of Maeda at the Manzanar site. Incarcerated at Manzanar as a young man, he recalls the Buddhist services held there despite administrative opposition. He talks about the "I-re-to" memorial and his promise to visit the graves at Manzanar once the war is over. For the next twenty plus years, he came back to perform memorial services, sometimes alone. The film ends with his recognition of the "young people" who have turned his lonely pilgrimage into a community event starting in 1969.

An acclaimed filmmaker who has made several other films about aspects of the incarceration and its aftermath, Tanaka made Ohakamairi as a USC undergraduate in the School of Cinematic Arts in 1976.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like Pilgrimage (2006); Manzanar: Never Again (2008); When You're Smiling: The Deadly Legacy of Internment (1999)

Media Details
Release Date 1976
Runtime 8 minutes
Director Janice Tanaka
Cinematography Donna Matson