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Browse > Genre > Documentary

186 articles

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.

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Searchlight Serenade (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art
  • Available

A 2012 documentary film on Japanese American swing dance bands in the World War II concentration camps. Produced by Claire Reynolds for KEET, a Eureka, California, based public television station serving California's northern coast, the hour long documentary debuted on October 30, 2012. The film was funded by grants from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant program, the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program , and the Humboldt Area Foundation (Victor Jacoby Artist Grant).

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Piecing Memories (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past
  • Available

Short film about Japanese American senior citizen women in a Japanese American Services of the East Bay (JASEB) quilting class who make a quilt inspired by their World War II experiences. The seventeen minute film was made by Bridge Media for the JASEB and was funded in part by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program .

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Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Convention and rebellion, Evils of racism, Empowerment, Importance of community, Working class struggles
  • Available

Documentary film profiling Nisei political activist Yuri Kochiyama co-produced and co-directed by Patricia Saunders and Rea Tajiri.

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The War (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Documentary mini-series by Ken Burns on the American experience of World War II. Produced in 2006, The War debuted on public television stations in September 2007, shown in seven roughly two-hour parts. Included in the sprawling documentary is the story of Japanese American forced removal and incarceration as well as the story of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team .

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Comforting the Afflicted (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Importance of community, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • No availability

Moderated panel discussion led by Phil Shigekuni with four prominent Japanese American Protestant ministers with ties to Los Angeles who were incarcerated during World War II. Three—Rev. Paul Nagano , Rev. John Miyabe, and Bishop Roy Sano—were at the Poston , Arizona, concentration camp, while Rev. Sam Tonomura was a boy in British Columbia caught up in the forced removal of Japanese Canadians during the war. The discussion covers the men's experiences during the war and the role of the church during the incarceration, particularly with regard to issues of "loyalty" and resistance. The men talk about the role of the church in the Redress Movement , in bridging divides in the Japanese American community today, and in the anti-Muslim/Arab climate following the 9/11 attacks. The format of the film largely follows that of a "talking heads" type television program, with the insertion of still historical photographs.

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Encounter with the Past: American Japanese Internment in World War II (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice
  • No availability

A 1980 documentary film on the history of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans at Manzanar , produced and directed by Tak Shindo , a Nisei musician and composer, best known for his albums from the jazz exotica music era and television soundtrack work. The film is built around color footage of the camp taken by Aksel Nielson, the director of recreation at Manzanar. Narrated by Shindo, the film includes his own experiences at Manzanar, military service, and subsequent musical career. Though he had passed away prior to the making of the film, Nielson's voice can be heard describing scenes of sporting events and gardens at Manzanar, and his wife, Melva Nielson, a music teacher at Manzanar, is interviewed at length on camera. Among those appearing in the film are Military Intelligence Service veteran Yukio Tamura, artist Estelle Ishigo , photographer Toyo Miyatake , nursery owner Shinobu Mashiko, …

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Voices Long Silent (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Immigrant experience, Injustice, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Available

Documentary video that explores Issei perspectives of the wartime forced removal and incarceration, as related through voiceovers by actors from Los Angeles-based theater company, East West Players, accompanied by still photos of the incarceration. Filmmaker Bob Matsumoto was inspired by the testimony of Japanese Americans before the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians , and sought to recapture the voices of those who were no longer able to tell their stories. Matsumoto updated the film twice, once after the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and once after the retroactive awarding of Congressional Medal of Honor awards to Japanese Americans who had been overlooked for the award in the 1940s. Voices Long Silent was used to accompany the exhibition The Art of Gaman and included in the DVD release of The Story Behind the Objects , a video specially produced by an about the show.

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We the People: The Stage Production (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Loss of innocence, Power of tradition
  • Available

Short film that documents the performance of the elementary school age students of Jan Ken Po Gakko in Sacramento on July 20, 2000. The production is highlighted by a play performed by the students based on Mary Tsukamoto and Elizabeth Pinkerton's book We the People .

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The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Power of the past, Injustice, Quest for discovery, Immigrant experience
  • Widely available

Documentary film produced by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i (JCCH) in 2012 that provides an overview on the internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i during World War II—both those held in camps in the continental U.S. and those held in Hawai'i camps—as well as contemporary efforts to preserve the Hawai'i sites today.

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Beyond Barbed Wire (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Role of men, Disillusionment and dreams
  • Available

A 1997 documentary film on the Japanese American soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion , the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service who fought for the United States during World War II while some of their families were held in concentration camps. The film is based on interviews with numerous veterans as well as with their wives and adult children. Among topics touched on in Beyond Barbed Wire are friction between men from Hawai'i and the continental U.S. during basic training; the unusual story of Korean American Colonel Young O. Kim; the rescue of the Lost Battalion , and the continuing legacy of the veterans for their families. One unique aspect of the film is its treatment of the controversy over the role of Major General John Dahlquist , whom some veterans feel used the Nisei as "cannon fodder." In telling the story of the mass incarceration, …

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Dave Tatsuno: Movies and Memories (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Widely available

Documentary film on Dave Tatsuno (1913–2006), a Nisei best known for the home movie footage he shot while incarcerated at the Topaz , Utah, concentration camp. Produced by KTEH, a San Jose-based public television station (now KQED), the hour-long documentary is based largely on interviews with Tatsuno and members of his family, along with family photos and clips from his home movies from before, during, and after the war. The film includes a lengthy excerpt from Tatsuno's Topaz Memories . The 2006 production was funded by the Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation, directed by Scott Gracheff, and produced by Christina Lim.

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The Color of Honor: The Japanese American Soldier in WWII (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Patriotism - positive side or complications
  • Available

A 1987 documentary film by Loni Ding that largely focuses on Japanese Americans who served in the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during World War II. A sequel to Ding's 1983 film Nisei Soldier: Standard Bearer for an Exiled People , the two films were among the first and most influential films on the Nisei soldiers and both were critically acclaimed and widely viewed.

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9066 to 9/11: America’s Concentration Camps Then… and Now? (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Dangers of ignorance, Evils of racism, Wisdom of experience
  • Limited availability

A 2004 documentary film directed by Akira Boch that looks at the World War II expulsion of Japanese Americans into American concentration camps through the contemporary lens of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Immediately following the attacks, there was an instant public backlash against Arab Americans and Muslims. As the United States government fought a "war on terrorism" with no end in sight, its tactics and policies were noticeably reminiscent of the rhetoric and immediate steps taken that led to the mass incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II. The film draws comparisons between the Japanese and Muslim American experiences, provoking questions about immigration, patriotism, equality and the civil rights and liberties of all American citizens, especially during times of national emergency.

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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" …

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Looking Like the Enemy (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Evils of racism, Role of men, Heroism – real and perceived
  • Widely available

Documentary film on the unique experiences of Japanese American soldiers in Asian wars: World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The 52-minute film was made by Karen L. Ishizuka and Robert A. Nakamura in conjunction with the exhibition Fighting for Tomorrow: Japanese Americans in America's Wars at the Japanese American National Museum and screened in the exhibition gallery.

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Justice Betrayed (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice
  • No availability

Documentary film on the internment of Japanese Americans from Hawai'i produced in 1992 by the Honolulu Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). Justice Betrayed includes interviews with two Japanese Americans whose fathers were interned (Sandra Takahata, the daughter of artist George Hoshida , and Akira Otani, son of businessman Matsujiro Otani ); Tokushige and Mitsue Nakahara, boat builder brothers who were themselves interned; and Violet Ishii Hayashi, a woman from originally from Hawai'i who was on the West Coast at time of the mass expulsion and incarceration and ended up at Poston ; and legal scholar Eric Yamamoto and historian Franklin Odo. In addition to outlining the Hawai'i story, the film also covers Executive Order 9066 and the West Coast story as well as the issues with John DeWitt's Final Report that led to the corm nobis cases in the 1980s.

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Act of Faith: The Rev. Emery Andrews Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Circle of life, Family – blessing or curse, Heroism – real and perceived, Love and sacrifice
  • Widely available

Documentary film on Rev. Emery Andrews , a Baptist priest who went beyond the call of duty to aid Japanese Americans from Seattle incarcerated at the Minidoka , Idaho, concentration camp.

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Our American Family: The Furutas (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Injustice, Importance of community
  • Available

Episode of the television series Our American Family that focuses on a Japanese American family from Southern California. The episode premiered in February 2015.

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Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Available

Documentary film by Eric Paul Fournier that chronicles the story of American civil rights hero, Fred Korematsu , whose refusal to obey orders prohibiting Japanese Americans from remaining on the West Coast led to a landmark Supreme Court case .

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The Lost Village of Terminal Island (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Displacement, Immigrant experience, Importance of community, Power of the past
  • Widely available

A 2007 documentary film directed by David Meltzer about Terminal Island , once home for a large and prosperous Japanese American fishing community located near the Port of Los Angeles, California. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 , nearly 3,000 Japanese immigrants and their families who lived at Terminal Island were forced from their homes and into government concentration camps. Most of the original inhabitants of this tight-knit Japanese American village would never return. This film tells the story of childhood memories of growing up on a once idyllic Terminal Island as well as the painful experiences of suspicion, interrogation and incarceration (most Terminal Islanders were sent to the camp at Manzanar ) that the community suffered following the passage of Executive Order 9066. The film also traces the former residents' continuing identification with Terminal Island, noting the reunions that began in 1971 and climaxing with …

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Korematsu and Civil Liberties (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Documentary video focusing on the collision of security concerns and civil liberties as illustrated by theWorld War II roundup of Japanese Americans and the Korematsu Supreme Court case.

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An American History: Resettlement of Japanese Americans in Greater Cleveland (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Self-reliance, Injustice
  • Available

Oral history-based documentary centering on Japanese Americans who resettled in Cleveland after leaving the concentration camps. Directed by Greg Petusky and Johnny Wu, the film was funded in part by a grant from the Japanese American Citizen's League's National Endowment Fund. It debuted at a screening at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on April 8, 2000.

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Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of O'ahu (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Power of the past, Injustice, Quest for discovery, Immigrant experience
  • Widely available

Short film that tells the story of Japanese Americans on O'ahu who were interned during World War II using a combination of contemporary interviews, historical photographs and footage, and historical reenactments. It is one of a series of four films produced by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i about the internment experience in each of the four counties of Hawai'i as a follow up to the 2012 film The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i .

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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.

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