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Browse > Interest Level > Adult

464 articles

MIS: Human Secret Weapon (film)

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

Feature length documentary film on the history of Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during World War II. Written and directed by Japanese filmmaker Junichiro Suzuki, MIS: Human Secret Weapon is the third film in Suzuki's trilogy of documentaries on Japanese Americans during World War II.

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Rabbit in the Moon (film)

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

Documentary film written and directed by Emiko Omori and produced by Omori with her sister Chizuko on Japanese Americans in American concentration camps during World War II that highlights resistance and other lesser told stories. Winner of many awards and screened nationally on public television in 1999, Rabbit in Moon has become one of the most acclaimed and widely viewed feature length documentaries on this topic.

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Snow Falling on Cedars (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Fear of other, Lost love, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Film based on the popular novel by David Guterson set in a small island village in Washington state about a young white newspaper publisher covering the postwar murder trial of a Japanese American fisherman. Flashback scenes depict the forced removal of Japanese Americans and their wartime incarceration. Directed by Scott Hicks from a screenplay by Hicks and Ronald Bass, Snow Falling on Cedars garnered an academy award nomination for its cinematographer, Robert Richardson.

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Arnold Knows Me: The Tommy Kono Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Role of men
  • Widely available

Documentary film that charts Nisei Tommy Kono's unlikely rise from a World War II concentration camp to becoming one of America's greatest Olympic style weightlifters.

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In Time of War (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Circle of life, Displacement, Injustice, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Documentary film on the Japanese American experience in the Pacific Northwest including "voluntary evacuation," forced removal and confinement, and the debate over military service. Produced by North By Northwest Entertainment for Whitworth College, the project was funded by a grant from the Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program.

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Reflections of Internment: The Art of Hawaii's Hiroshi Honda (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art
  • Displacement, Expression through art, Injustice
  • No availability

Exhibition of paintings by Hawai'i Kibei artist Hiroshi Honda, most of which depict the various internment and concentration camps he was held in during World War II. The paintings displayed came from a collection discovered and preserved by Honda's son, Ed Honda. Working with an ad hoc committee that included Bill Hoshijo and University of Hawai'i Professor Franklin Odo, the Hondas donated the collection to the Honolulu Academy of Art (HAA) (now the Honolulu Art Museum). With funding from the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Reflections of Internment opened at HAA on September 10, 1994, alongside a traveling exhibit, The View from Within: Japanese American Art from the Internment Camps, 1942–1945, a broader survey of art from the concentration camps. An accompanying thirty-three page catalog included essays by Odo and Marcia Morse and color reproductions of nineteen of the artworks; it ...

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Strands (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Evils of racism, Power of the past
  • No availability

One-woman show written and performed by D.H. Naomi Quinones that centers on her Japanese Peruvian grandfather's World War II internment story and her discovery of it. Kiichiro Yoshida was a Japanese Peruvian journalist who was one of over 2,000 Japanese Latin Americans interned in the United States during World War II. Separated from his family, he was not allowed to return to Peru at the end of the war and was instead deported to Japan. Quinones tells the story through video, spoken word poetry, and martial arts. Strands was commissioned by the Asian American Theater Company in association with the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center and was funded in part by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program. The sixty-minute performance premiered at he SomARTS Cultural Center in San Francisco on May 16, 2002.

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An Abandoned Pot of Rice (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Displacement, Immigrant experience, Importance of community, Progress – real or illusion
  • No availability

Short essay by Hisaye Yamamoto DeSoto about the Kumamoto-mura community near Oceanside, California, where her family lived just prior to World War II. The pleasant reminiscences of life there are tempered by recollections of the chaos after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the events leading up to the forced removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast. The title of the story comes from the narrator's recollection of making a pot of rice intending to make rice balls on the day of their forced departure, but forgetting about it, leaving the full pot behind. Years later, she returns to the site of the community, which subsequently became a large military base which for a time housed tens of thousands of Southeast Asian refugees. Noting the similarities with the concentration camps she and her family were in, she observes that this group was the third group of Asians to ...

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Legacy of the Nisei: Stories of Japanese American Internment and World War II Veterans (film)

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

The second video produced by the San Leandro Public Library built around interviews with Japanese American veterans and former concentration camp inmates from the San Francisco Bay area.

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Nasakenai (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Evils of racism, Facing reality, Will to survive, Working class struggles
  • Limited availability

Short story about an Issei couple in the San Francisco Bay area in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Both work as servants—the husband as a gardener and the wife as a maid—for prominent white families in a wealthy adjacent community and support three children at home, with a son in the army. After the attack, the husband goes to work and is assured by his employer that she will not fire him despite community pressure to do so. But the wife, who has worked for the family of a prominent lawyer for over a decade, is fired, since the lawyer represents a farming organization that supports anti-Japanese actions. An Issei gardener who works for the same family is also fired. Afterwards, the wife visits briefly with the family of the gardener and goes home to work on her garden, vowing that things will be okay.

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Seed: The Life of the Rice King and His Kin (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Circle of life, Immigrant experience, Individual versus society, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Wisdom of experience
  • Widely available

Japanese produced documentary film on Issei rice farming pioneer Keisaburo Koda and the family business he founded in Dos Palos, California.

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The Legend of Miss Sasagawara (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Female roles, Hazards of passing judgment, Individual versus society, Losing hope
  • Widely available

Short story by Hisaye Yamamoto that takes place in an Arizona concentration camp during World War II and centers on the odd activities of one woman in the camp, as described by a college age female fellow inmate. Mari Sasagawara, a former ballet dancer, arrives with her Buddhist priest father upon transfer from another camp and soon becomes the subject of much gossip by other camp inmates for her regal bearing and aloofness. After being absent from the camp for a few months—taken to an institution in Phoenix—she returns a changed woman, friendly and sociable, even organizing and teaching a dance troupe of young girls. But after the narrator leaves the camp to attend school in Philadelphia, her friend tells her that Miss Sasagawara's malaise had returned and that she was taken out of the camp again. The story ends with the narrator finding a poem by Miss Sasagawara published ...

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Starting from Loomis and Other Stories (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Evils of racism, Immigrant experience, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Memoir by playwright, poet, actor, and librarian Hiroshi Kashiwagi in the form of twenty-five stories, most of them first-person vignettes from various periods of his life. Edited by Tim Yamamura, Starting from Loomis was published by the University of Colorado Press in 2013 as part of the George and Sakaye Aratani Nikkei in the Americas Series.

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One-Two-One-Seven (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Family – blessing or curse, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Documentary film by Brett Kodama about the experiences of his grandmother, Sharon Shizuko Okazaki Kodama, at Manzanar. Just three years old when she and her family were forcibly removed from their Southern California home and sent to Manzanar, Okazaki Kodama's Issei father killed her Kibei mother in September 1942. She and her older sister spent the rest of the war at the Manzanar Children's Village, the camp orphanage. They were raised after the war by an aunt and uncle in Washington state. Okazaki Kodama recalls her memories of the camp and the orphanage, talks about her parents' deaths and reflects on the impact on the incarceration over visuals that include archival photographs and footage, photographs from her own family album, and images of the Manzanar National Historic Site today. The title refers to the Okazaki's family number at Manzanar.

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Most Honorable Son (film)

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

Documentary film that profiles Nisei war hero Ben Kuroki, tracing his life from his Nebraska childhood, his fight to be allowed to serve in the military after the attack on Pearl Harbor, his bombing missions over Europe and Japan, and his visits to American concentration camps in which Japanese Americans were held. Kuroki tells much of the story in his own words, which are augmented by many interviews with crew members who flew with him in both Europe and Japan. In addition to archival footage and photographs, the filmmakers also film reenactments of a few key episodes. Among the incidents highlighted are the dramatic raid on the Ploesti oilfields in what is now Romania, one of Kuroki's last missions in Europe; his speech before the Commonweath Club in San Francisco upon his return; and his visit to the Heart Mountain concentration camp of which inmates Eiichi Sakauye, Jack Tono, and ...

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Witness: Our Brothers' Keepers (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Evils of racism, Patriotism - positive side or complications, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Heroism - real and perceived
  • No availability

Exhibition on Japanese Americans and Jewish Americans in the military during World War II and their participation in the liberation of Nazi extermination camps organized by the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and the National Museum of American Jewish Military History. Witness debuted in on April 20, 1995, in JANM's Legacy Center Gallery to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Dachau. It closed on August 27, 1995.[1]

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Come See the Paradise (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama, History, Romance
  • Everlasting love, Family – blessing or curse, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

The content in this article is still under development. A completed version will appear soon!

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Crossings: 10 Views of America's Concentration Camps (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art, Desire to escape
  • No availability

2009 exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum featuring the work of ten artists, juxtaposing work created by Issei and Nisei artists in the concentration camps and works by contemporary artists that draw on that experience. The "crossings" in the title refers to the "crossing point between generations" that the exhibition strives to provide. Featured artists included Sesshu Foster, Masumi Hayashi, Hisako Hibi, Toyo Miyatake, Tadashi Nakamura, Benji Okubo, Mine Okubo, Shizu Saldamando, Renee Tajima-Peña, and Sadayuki Uno. Crossings opened on April 2, 2009.

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On the Go: Little Tokyo (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Power of the past
  • Widely available

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 ...

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Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice
  • Widely available

Book for young adult readers by Joanne Oppenheim that tells the story of the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans through the wartime correspondence between a San Diego librarian and the incarcerated young people whom she had befriended at the library.

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An American Christmas (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Family – blessing or curse, Immigrant experience, Motherhood, Working class struggles
  • Available

Short story by Alice Nash centering on an elderly Issei woman in contemporary New York. As she struggles to carry a bag of rice home to her apartment, she reflects on her arrival in New York with her late husband after leaving the concentration camp and the kind Yamaguchi family who put them up while refusing to take money from them. They eventually opened a cleaning shop that helped pay for their only son's college education. A successful businessman in California, the son takes her on a trip every year, but largely keeps her away from her grandchildren due to his white wife's discomfort with her. When she gets back to her apartment, the family of the building's supervisor, the Gonzalez family, invites her to their home to help decorate their Christmas tree.

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My Mother's Music (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Power of the past, Power of silence, Role of women
  • Limited availability

Short story by Lydia Yuri Minatoya told from the perspective of a Sansei woman recalling her Kibei mother's various stories—and silences—about the family history. The narrator's mother recalls her Issei mother's banishment from the family after she had an affair with a Filipino immigrant patron of the family-run pool hall and how she never saw her mother again. The mother also recalls her own arranged marriage while in Heart Mountain, but can recall little—or is unwilling to talk about—details of her and her family's wartime incarceration. My Mother's Music appeared in the fifth volume of the Fusion series published by the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State University. Minatoya later published a memoir titled Talking to High Monks in the Snow: An Asian-American Odyssey (1989)—which includes "My Mother's Music" as its first chapter—as well as a novel, The Strangeness of Beauty (2001).

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Gasa Gasa Girl Goes to Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir, Art
  • Coming of age, Expression through art, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Immigrant experience, Oppression of women
  • Widely available

Concentration camp memoir by a Nisei artist. Ten years old at the time of the wartime incarceration, Lily Yuriko Nakai Havey was sent to Santa Anita Assembly Center and Amache with her older brother and Issei parents. Evolving from captions that accompanied displays of the author's postwar paintings, Gasa Gasa Girl intersperses stories of life in the camps with recollections of happier days with her parents, brother, and aunts in Hollywood, California, before the war. The book is illustrated by twenty-eight color reproductions of her watercolor paintings that depict both her external and internal lives during the war, as well as a like number of family photographs, archival photographs, and photographs of key objects mentioned in the text. Published by the University of Utah Press, the book includes an foreword by historian Cherstin Lyon.

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An Internment Odyssey: Haisho Tenten (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Immigrant experience, Nationalism – complications, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Will to survive
  • Widely available

An Internment Odyssey: Haisho Tenten is the third book in a series published by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i and University of Hawai'i Press of a Hawai'i inmate's account of their incarceration experience during World War II. It represents a critical addition to Japanese American history as it provides the perspective of an Issei from Hawai'i who authorities incarcerated at multiple sites in the Islands and the mainland. The author, Kumaji Furuya, thus gives voice to some of the experiences faced by the 1,320 inmates from Hawai'i who like Furuya were often separated from their families for the duration of the war.

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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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