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On the Go: Little Tokyo (film)


Segment of Jack Linkletter's On the Go television show set in Little Tokyo that focuses on the wartime incarceration and its aftermath. Linkletter interviews three Japanese Americans on the sidewalks of Little Tokyo: Eiji Tanabe (referred to only as "Mr. Tanabe"), a Nisei businessman who had been active in the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) before and after the war; Mr. Shimizu, the Issei owner of Asahi Shoe Store; and John Aiso , then a municipal court judge. In Tanabe's segment, the longest, he describes his work for the JACL (which is not referred to by name), the loss of his hotel businesses—for which he received token compensation through the Evacuation Claims Act —and his " voluntary evacuation " to his hometown of Spokane, before returning to Los Angeles and starting a travel business. Shimizu describes in halting English his arrest on the night of December 7 and subsequent internment in San Pedro and Montana (presumably Missoula ) camps. Aiso recounts his story of being in the military and eventually assuming head instructor status of the Military Intelligence Service Language School . Linkletter asks each if they are bitter, which none claim to be. The only one to express any anger is Fumi Hirata, the daughter of Shimizu, brought in at the end of his segment, who says that upon his arrest, "we were mad, aggravated, upset, scared...."

On the Go was produced by CBS and featured Jack Linkletter, the son of legendary television pioneer Art Linkletter, who was still a student at the University of Southern California when the show debuted in 1959. On the Go was both a local travelogue that shot on location in interesting areas of Los Angeles and also a civic affairs show that examined such serious issues as alcoholism on Skid Row or Bracero farm workers. The half-hour show aired at 9 am on weekdays. The Little Tokyo episode, shot on February 22, 1959, was one of just a handful of shows that dealt with ethnic minority groups in Los Angeles. The Little Tokyo episode of On the Go is among those held by the UCLA Film & Television Archive. [1]

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like Ralph Story's Los Angeles: Little Tokyo (1967); From a Different Shore: An American Identity (1994); Forced Out: Internment and the Enduring Damage to California Cities and Towns (2003)

Footnotes

  1. For more on On the Go and similar shows in Los Angeles, see Michan Andrew Connor, "Holding the Center: Images of Urbanity on Television in Los Angeles, 1950–1970," Southern California Quarterly 94.2 (Winter 2012): 230–55.
Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho
Media Details
Release Date 1959
Runtime 30 minutes
Narrator Jack Linkletter
Starring Eiji Tanabe (interviewee), Mr. Shimizu (interviewee), Fumi Hirata (interviewee), John Aiso (interviewee)
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