fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar

Browse > Genre > Documentary

181 articles

An American Contradiction (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Evils of racism, Injustice, Power of the past, Power of words
  • Widely available

Filmmaker Vanessa Yuille goes to visit the Heart Mountain site, where her mother was born, to learn more about its history. Through interviews with former inmates—particularly Bacon Sakatani—and local residents and experts, she provides an overview of the mass removal and incarceration and of life at Heart Mountain. We also see LaDonna Zall, acting curator at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, lead tour of the site as it is today. The film concludes with Sakatani leading what looks like a local community meeting in a discussion about whether the camp should be called a "concentration camp."

View

American at Heart (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism - real and perceived, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • No availability

Film that tells the story of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team through historical footage (including clips from the movie Go for Broke!), still photographs and interview with many Nisei veterans, their white commanders, and others tied to the story. American at Heart covers the origin of the units in Hawai'i and Washington, DC, basic training in Camps McCoy and Shelby, their experiences in combat in Europe, and their return to the Hawai'i and the continental U.S. after the war. The film also contrasts the experience of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i vs. those on the West Coast, outlining the mass forced removal and incarceration of the latter. Among those interviewed are General Mark Clark, the World War II commander of the Fifth Army and 15th Army Group in Europe, who discusses what he calls "the wrong decision" to send Japanese Americans to "concentration camps" and his attempts ...

View

An American Story: World War II Stories of the Tragedy and Triumph of Our Japanese-American Community During Wartime (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Importance of community
  • Widely available

Video on the World War II odyssey of Japanese Americans from the Watsonville area based on interviews with survivors of that time. The video was part of a larger project that also included a curriculum guide/lesson plan kit for teachers and an interactive video kiosk available for display by community organizations. The project was sponsored by the Watsonville Public Library and Watsonville-Santa Cruz chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and funded by a $14,000 grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program. The film's premiere screening took place on August 27, 2011.[1]

View

The Art of Gaman: The Story Behind the Objects (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Will to survive
  • Widely available

A short documentary film created by Rick Quan in 2010 to accompany the traveling exhibition, The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946 which features arts and crafts created by Japanese American internees while living in World War II concentration camps. The film includes stories about the inmates who created the objects included in the exhibition, as told by their children and grandchildren. It also includes an interview with the exhibition's curator, Delphine Hirasuna, who describes The Art of Gaman's purpose of celebrating the unique talents of these camp artists and helping people understand the larger story of the Japanese American mass confinement. The DVD release also includes Voices Long Silent, a 1980 short film by Bob Matsumoto, that was also shown in conjunction with The Art of Gaman exhibition.

View

The Brighter Side of Dark: Toyo Miyatake, 1895-1979 (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Immigrant experience
  • No availability

A 1996 short documentary film by Robert Nakamura about the life and career of Los Angeles photographer Toyo Miyatake. Through Miyatake's personal and artistic life (he was very much engaged with other modernists of the 1920s and '30s), the film reveals the vibrant artistic and intellectual milieu of Los Angeles's Little Tokyo district prior to World War II as well as the impact Executive Order 9066 and Miyatake's wartime incarceration had on his artistic career. Using a camera lens that he smuggled into the camp at Manzanar where he was incarcerated, Miyatake reconstructed a camera and eventually became the official camp photographer, producing iconic images of camp life and the landscape of the Eastern Sierras. After the war, Miyatake was able to reconstruct his photography business and resume work at his studio in Little Tokyo. For generations, he was the community's most trusted portrait photographer, enlisted for weddings, graduations, and ...

View

Chrysanthemums and Salt (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Immigrant experience, Importance of community, Self-reliance
  • Available

Documentary film by Dianne Fukami on the Japanese American community in San Mateo, California, from its late 1800s origins to the outbreak of World War II. As hinted at by the film's title, Chrysanthemums and Salt largely focuses on two of the major industries that employed Japanese Americans before the war, growing and marketing chrysanthemums and salt companies that took advantage of the region's natural suitability for salt evaporation ponds. The film also covers Japanese American community life, the role of the churches and the outbreak of World War II and the reaction to the subsequent forced removal. Chrysanthemums and Salt is notable for including interviews with several Issei, conducted in Japanese with translated voiceovers. "Host" Jane Yanehiro narrates the film and also appears on camera.

View

Diamonds in the Rough (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past, Role of men
  • Widely available

Documentary film on Japanese American baseball that focuses on Kenichi Zenimura (1900–68), a pioneering Issei baseball player and coach in Hawai'i and in Fresno, California. The film includes four main sections. The first looks at Zenimura's prewar baseball exploits, and by extension, Japanese American baseball in general, featuring interviews with those who played with or against him. The next focuses on the World War II incarceration that saw Zenimura and his family sent to the Gila River, Arizona, concentration camp, where he famously built a baseball field. Next, the film looks at the postwar phenomenon of Nisei players going to Japan and becoming stars in the Japanese major leagues, focusing on the most prominent such player, Wally Yonamine. The final segment sees Zenimura's son Howard returning to the site of the Gila River camp and visiting the location of the former barracks and of the baseball field. Actor Noriyuki "Pat" ...

View

The Empty Chair (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Power of the past, Importance of community
  • Available

Feature length documentary film by Greg Chaney that recounts the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans from Juneau, Alaska, during World War II.

View

The First Battle: The Battle for Equality in War-Time Hawaii (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, Drama
  • Limited availability

A 2006 film by Tom Coffman about the multi-racial group of civic and military leaders in World War II Hawai'i that monitored race relations and supported Hawai'i's large Japanese American community. After Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941, the Committee for Interracial Unity and the Morale Section led by Chinese American YMCA Secretary Hung Wai Ching and Japanese American school principal Shigeo Yoshida, worked to protect the civil liberties of the people of Japanese ancestry living in Hawai'i, which ultimately led to the decision against a mass removal of Japanese Americans from the islands. In addition to interviews with some of the key figures and archival footage and stills, The First Battle also recreates several key scenes with actors playing key historical figures such as Ching, Yoshida, and Hawai'i FBI head Robert Shivers. Major funders included Central Pacific Bank, the Gerbode Foundation, the Hawaii Pacific Rim Society, and ...

View

A Flicker in Eternity (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, Short
  • War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Loss of innocence, Coming of age
  • Widely available

A short documentary film from 2013 by Sharon Yamato and Ann Kaneko about the experiences of a young Nisei named Stanley Hayami, based on his diary and letters. A Nisei teenager incarcerated with his family during World War II at Heart Mountain, Hayami kept a diary documenting his life and thoughts in camp and subsequently as a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team until his death while in combat in Europe just days before Germany surrendered. Filmmakers Yamato and Kaneko tell the story largely in Hayami's own words, voiced by actor Aaron Yoo, as well as those of his older sister Sach, voiced by Amy Hill. The film includes archival photographs and footage and aspiring artist Hayami's own drawings from his diary, often in animated form. The DVD release of the film included interview footage with Hayami family members including Stanley's sister-in-law Miwako Hayami, niece Dawn Hayami, and nephew ...

View

East of Occidental: The History of Seattle's Chinatown (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Change versus tradition, Rebirth
  • Widely available

Documentary film on Seattle's Chinatown/International District that outlines the history of the area and argues that pan-Asian Americanism makes it unique among American ethnic enclaves. The film includes the story of the mass removal of Japanese Americans from the area and their subsequent incarceration during World War II.

View

From a Different Shore: An American Identity (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Change versus tradition, Importance of community, Power of the past, Reunion
  • Limited availability

Documentary film produced by Great Britain's The Open University that examines the Japanese American community by focusing on three families in Los Angeles.

View

From Hawaii to the Holocaust: A Shared Moment in History (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Evils of racism, Facing darkness, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Documentary film on the men of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion and their encounter with Jewish victims of the Nazi death camps at the end of World War II. The 1993 film was a production of the Hawaii Holocaust Project.

View

Forced Out: Internment and the Enduring Damage to California Cities and Towns (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Importance of community, Power of the past
  • Limited availability

A 2003 documentary film that explores the subject of the Japanese American forced removal and mass incarceration during World War II and its economic impact on California's Japantowns through the stories of merchants and community institutions. Among the stories highlighted are Honnami Taedo, a ceramics shop in San Francisco Japantown; the Rafu Shimpo newspaper, Fugetsudo sweet shop, and the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo; a San Francisco-based quilt project by Japanese American women that documents the wartime events; and the Asahi Market in Oxnard, which was run for the Japanese American proprietors by a Mexican American family during the war.

View

Forsaken Fields (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Displacement, Necessity of work, Working class struggles
  • Limited availability

Documentary film on the impact of wartime incarceration on Japanese American farming in California.

View

Hidden Internment: The Art Shibayama Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice
  • Available

A 2004 documentary film about the life of Art Shibayama, a Japanese Peruvian who was forcibly taken from his home in Peru in 1944 when he was thirteen years old, and interned in a Department of Justice camp in Crystal City, Texas, for the duration of World War II. This film explores the lesser-known history of the Japanese Latin American detention, where over 2,000 Latin Americans were essentially kidnapped from their countries and interned in American government camps, to be used as political pawns between countries. Using first-person narrative and archival footage, the film shows how despite their traumatic experiences and wrongful treatment, Shibayama and other Latin Americans have been denied redress that was awarded to Japanese Americans in 1988 for their loss of civil liberties and forced wartime incarceration. Directed by Casey Peek and produced by Irum Shiekh.

View

Honor and Sacrifice: The Roy Matsumoto Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism - real or perceived, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Available

A 2013 documentary film about Japanese American Kibei war hero Roy Matsumoto and his family during World War II, as told through the eyes of his daughter Karen. A decorated linguist with the Military Intelligence Service who was a part of Merrill's Marauders, an American guerrilla unit in Burma, Matsumoto served even though his parents and sisters were living in Hiroshima and three of his Nisei brothers were ultimately conscripted into the Japanese army.

View

Leap of Faith: How Enmanji Temple Was Saved (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Evils of racism, Importance of community, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • Available

Documentary short film by Lina Hoshino about a group of white Christian teenagers who guard a California Buddhist temple during World War II in an effort to deter vandalism.

View

Manzanar (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past, Quest for discovery, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Limited availability

Experimental documentary film by Bob Nakamura made in 1971 that was one of the first films to explore the legacy of the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans.

View

Main Street, Wyoming: Heart Mountain (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Episode of the local PBS program Main Street, Wyoming that focuses on Heart Mountain. Originally produced and aired in 1994, it was repackaged with a brief new opening as part of the Main Street, Wyoming Classics series in 2006. Featuring on-camera host Deborah Hammons, the episode includes three segments: : an extended interview with Paul Tsuneishi on his incarceration experience and subsequent military service; a profile of Kaz Uriu, one of the only Heart Mountain inmates to later settle in Wyoming as a farmer, based on an interview with his daughter; and local efforts to build a memorial at the site—which was dedicated in July 1978—featuring interviews with local residents. Produced by Wyoming Public Television, it was funded by the Wyoming Council for the Humanities ad Kennecott Energy. It has been made available online as part of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.

View

Memories of Place: Clarksburg's Japanese Language School (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Importance of community, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Short documentary film on the Holland Union Gakuen (Japanese language school) in Clarksburg, California.

View

Mission in Manila: The Sakakida Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Facing darkness, Forgiveness, Heroism – real and perceived, Will to survive
  • Limited availability

Documentary film that tells the story of Richard Sakakida, a Nisei intelligence agent in the Philippines who is captured and tortured by the Japanese during World War II and who confronts—and forgives—his torturers after the war. The film is based almost entirely on an interview with Sakakida, augmented by narrator Jerry Kay, archival footage and family photographs, and illustrations by Roberta Twidwell. The 28-minute film was produced by the Military Intelligence Service and the National Japanese American Historical Society for the Military Intelligence Service Fellowship Program.

View

Nikkei Style (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Change versus tradition, Importance of community, Power of tradition, Quest for discovery
  • Limited availability

Personal essay on being Japanese American by Sansei filmmaker Steven Okazaki, narrated in his first person voice. Beginning his journey at a family mochizuki event in Oxnard, California, he explores his family history, taking us to the house he grew up in in Venice, California, and telling us what he knows of his mother's and father's families, including their World War II incarceration (his mother went to Santa Anita, then Amache, his father to Heart Mountain) and featuring a brief interview with his mother. In search of more information about his father's side, he goes to Japan to visit a distant cousin and to Hawai'i to visit one of his father's old army buddies, from whom he learns much. The film ends with footage from various bon dances in Hawai'i and the continental U.S, which Okazaki cites as a living symbol of being Japanese American. Along the way, Okazaki muses ...

View

Out of Infamy: Michi Nishiura Weglyn (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Role of women
  • Available

Documentary film profile of Michi Nishiura Weglyn, a Nisei former costume designer and Gila River inmate who wrote the landmark history of the Japanese American exclusion and incarceration, Years of Infamy. The seventeen-minute film, written, produced and directed by Nancy Kapitanoff and Sharon Yamato, includes footage of The Perry Como Show, which Weglyn designed for and also served as a recurring on camera character on, as well as interviews with Weglyn and those who knew her. The film and an associated website were funded in part by grants from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program. Out of Infamy was screened at several film festivals and community events and won a special jury mention at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.

View

Relocation, Arkansas: Aftermath of Incarceration (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Circle of life, Evils of racism, Power of the past, Reunion, Rights - individual or societal
  • Limited availability

Documentary film by Vivienne Schiffer about the legacy of the Rohwer, Arkansas, concentration camp that focuses on the incarceration's impact on the Sansei and the role of a local mayor in preserving Rohwer's history.

View