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The Merced Assembly Center: Injustice Immortalized (film)


Documentary film on Japanese Americans from Central California who were incarcerated at the Merced Assembly Center and the effort nearly sixty years later to build a memorial at the site. Produced by the Merced Assembly Center Commemorative Committee, the film was funded in large part by a grant from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program.

The first half of film recounts the general story of the forced removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast and their subsequent incarceration in concentration camps, with a focus on those who went to the Merced Assembly Center and on to the Amache , Colorado, camp. Based mostly on interviews with former inmates and their descendants, this part of the film is entirely in black and white. In addition to covering the the basics of the experience—exclusion, the journey to the camps, conditions in the camps, the dilemma of military service (including interviews with both Nisei veterans and the son of a draft resister ), and the return to California at war's end—the film includes a segment on a unique aspect. Many of the inmates held at Merced were able to form a trusteeship that held their farms and that was managed by Gus Momberg, a local banker. Because of this arrangement, many of the former Merced inmates were able to hold on to their farms and return to them after the war.

The second half of the the film—which switches to color—tells the story of the monument at the site of Merced Assembly Center through interviews with commemorative committee members and footage of its forging and construction. The film climaxes with footage from the 2010 unveiling of the finished memorial.

The Merced Assembly Center: Injustice Immortalized first aired on ValleyPBS serving Central California in September 2012.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like Colorado Experience: Amache (2013); Camp Amache: The Story of an American Tragedy (2006); The Empty Chair (2014)

Media Details
Release Date 2012
Runtime 53 minutes
Director Shawn Bockoven
Producer The Merced Assembly Center Commemorative Committee
Narrator Patti Kishi
Starring Howard Taniguchi (interviewee), Frank Suzuki (interviewee), Ernest Yotsuya (interviewee), Mary Noda Kamiya (interviewee), Sherman Kishi (interviewee), Eric Andow (interviewee), Grace Yamaguchi Kimoto (interviewee), Hiroshi Asai (interviewee), Augustine Alonzo (interviewee), Bill Baldwin (interviewee), Tom Nakashima (interviewee), Marlene Tanioka (interviewee), Noboru Hashimoto (interviewee), Robert Ohki (interviewee), Dan Kubo (interviewee), Wilma Arnold (interviewee), Dennis Cardoza (interviewee), Mike Honda (interviewee), Bob Taniguchi (interviewee), Dale Smith (interviewee), Jan Mendenhall (interviewee)
Cinematography Shawn Bockoven
For More Information

For More Information

Stream of The Merced Assembly Center: Injustice Immortalized on PBS website: http://www.pbs.org/video/2301636629/ .