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Browse > Interest Level > Adult

457 articles

Nurse of Manzanar: A Japanese American's World War II Journey

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Non Fiction, Memoir
  • Displacement, Facing reality, Importance of community, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Role of women
  • Available

Edited diary of Toshiko Eto Nakamura (1910–94), a nurse who volunteered to work at the hospital in Manzanar during World War II.

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Otoko (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Immigrant experience, Loss of innocence, Role of men, Vulnerability of the meek
  • Widely available

Short story by Wakako Yamauchi centering on a Nisei brother and sister who recall their father and their family's prewar and wartime hardships while listening to Japanese folksongs. On the longest day of the year one summer, Kiyo visits his sister, the narrator, bringing a record of Japanese children's songs. The act of listening to the songs triggers memories of their early years. Once relatively prosperous, their fortunes turn dire quickly when their father loses his job. He becomes a tenant farmer, but can't make enough to support the family. Kiyo recalls a time when he went with his father to visit a friend, Kiyo thinks, to ask to borrow money. The narrator recalls working as a "school girl" with a white family for a few months, returning to find her family living in a tent, her little sister's teeth rotting, and her father suffering from a stomach ailment. Later, ...

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Picture Bride (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Historical fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Facing reality, Female roles, Immigrant experience, Importance of community, Will to survive
  • Available

The fictional account of a picture bride, from her arrival in the U.S. to the life she and her husband create for themselves with their daughter, to her experience of incarceration during World War II.

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Ralph Story's Los Angeles: Little Tokyo (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Importance of community, Optimism – power or folly, Self-reliance, Social mobility
  • No availability

Episode of the popular 1960s weekly television show featuring the Little Tokyo area of Los Angeles. Filmed largely in Little Tokyo, the program covers both the history of the neighborhood and its then current status and includes a discussion of the wartime incarceration of its population.

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Relics from Camp: A Video Journey (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Power of the past, Evils of racism
  • Limited availability

Companion film to art installation of the same name produced and directed by artist Kristine Yuko Aono and narrated in her first-person voice. Aono explains the origins of the projects and includes footage of her and her family visiting various former concentration camp sites to collect dirt and artifacts as well as installation of the exhibition in three venues. The film also features three Nisei who contributed objects to the installation talking about the significance of those objects.

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Reunion (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Lost love, Rebirth, Reunion
  • No availability

Short story by Hisaye Yamamoto centering on a Nisei man named Tak who attends a pilgrimage to Poston, where he had been incarcerated during the war. The story begins with his noticing a striking woman at the reunion dressed in buckskin; he wonders if she is Native American. A visit to the memorial at the site conjures memories of his family's wartime experience: removed from Los Angeles, they left Poston to resettle in Chicago; his older sister had left earlier on her own to study nursing in Cleveland. He went to high school in Chicago and to college back in Los Angeles, eventually marrying and raising three daughters. But after his wife's death just a year prior, he found himself alone. On the bus ride home, he is surprised to find the buckskin woman on the same bus. She sits across the aisle from him, and he overhears her talking ...

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Rosebud (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Desire to escape, Names – power and significance, Role of women, Social mobility
  • Available

Short story by Wakako Yamauchi that traces the friendship and rivalry between the narrator and another Japanese American girl/woman from childhood in the 1930s through the incarceration period to old age. In the section that takes place at Poston, the narrator works for the Poston Chronicle while Marion is prohibited from working by her overprotective mother until she suffers a nervous breakdown. Later, Marion marries a prominent non-Japanese American economist and largely lives her life outside the ethnic community.

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Right of Passage (film)

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

Documentary film by Janice D. Tanaka that chronicles the convoluted twenty-year history of the Redress Movement.

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Sideways: Memoir of a Misfit (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Convention and rebellion, Family – blessing or curse, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Available

Memoir of a young Nisei woman who was born in the Minidoka, Idaho, concentration camp. The story focuses on her often strained relationships with her parents, grandparents, and eight siblings in 1950s Chicago.

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Sights Unseen: The Photographic Constructions of Masumi Hayashi (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art
  • Available

Retrospective exhibition of the work of photographic collage artist Masumi Hayashi held at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM). Curated by Karin Higa, Sights Unseen included thirty of Hayashi's works—each of which are photo collages consisting of anywhere from five to one hundred forty individual photographs—including several from JANM's collection. This first survey of Hayashi's work included pieces from five different sets of work: abandoned prisons, EPA Superfund sites, Japanese American and Japanese Canadian concentration camps, sacred sites, and portraits of Nikkei. The five Nikkei portraits—of Fumi Hayashida, Yuri Kochiyama, Joy Kogawa, Miné Okubo, and Eji Suyama—were displayed for the first time.

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Sanga moyu (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Family - blessing or curse, Patriotism - positive side or complications
  • Limited availability

Japanese television series that dramatized the Japanese American experience. Sanga moyu (Burning Mountains and Rivers) was a 1984 series produced by NHK, Japan's national broadcasting network. Consisting of 51 episodes that ran 45 minutes each, the series debuted on January 8, 1984, and ran through December 23, 1984. The story was based on the novel Futatsu no sokoku (Two Homelands) by Toyoko Yamasaki and focused on the Amo family of Los Angeles whose three Nisei sons chose different paths during World War II while the family was incarcerated at Manzanar: one who volunteers for the U.S. Army and fights in Europe, another who serves in the Military Intelligence Service during the war crimes trials and American occupation, and a third who is trapped in Japan at the outbreak of war and drafted into the Japanese army. Japanese American organizations in the continental United States objected to the portrayal of split ...

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Seki-nin (Duty Bound) (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Convention and rebellion, Displacement, Facing darkness, Family – blessing or curse, Power of tradition
  • Available

Novel by George Nakagawa about a Nisei stranded in Japan during World War II.

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Starting Over: Japanese Americans After the War (film)

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

Documentary film centering on the return of Japanese Americans to their homes after their exclusion and incarceration in concentration camps.

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Something Strong Within (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Displacement, Will to survive
  • Available

Documentary film by pioneering director Robert A. Nakamura crafted out of amateur home movie footage shot in American concentration camps. Nakamura and producer/writer Karen L. Ishizuka produced Something Strong Within for the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) as a companion piece to the exhibition America's Concentration Camps, curated by Ishizuka, which opened on November 11, 1994.

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Streams of Light: Shin Buddhism in America (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Adult
  • Documentary
  • Change versus tradition, Power of tradition, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • Widely available

Documentary film on shin Buddhism in the United States focuses on the Japanese American temples of the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) from 1898 to the present. The sixty-four minute film was directed by Brazil-based Buddhist priest Rev. Kentaro Sugao with the cooperation of the BCA and the Institute of Buddhist Studies.

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Snakeskin Shamisen (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction, Mystery
  • Lost honor, Power of the past
  • Widely available

The third novel in Naomi Hirahara's "Mas Arai Mysteries" series finds the gardener/detective back in Southern California in 2002 where he tackles a murder case in the Okinawan American community.

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Some Lines for a Younger Brother... (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Death – inevitable or tragedy, Disillusionment and dreams, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Limited availability

First person recollection of the author's younger brother centering on the impact the World War II incarceration had on him. The youngest of eight children, Tets was doted on by his older siblings, but devastated when his father died when he was eight. A few years later, he had become a demoralized teenager in Manzanar who began skipping high school classes upon his return to Los Angeles after the war. Joining the army to see the world, he is almost at the end of his hitch when the Korean War breaks out. Sent into combat, he is killed in action. Years later, the author recalls attending the first Manzanar Pilgrimage and seeing the image of Tets as a child once again.

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Songbird of Manzanar (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, Biography
  • Everlasting love, Expression through art
  • Widely available

Short film by Cody Edison about Mary Nomura recounting her days as the "Songbird of Manzanar." Filmed at the Manzanar National Historic Site and at Nomura's home, she talks about how she took up signing at age sixteen under the urging of music teacher Lou Frizzell, her frequent public performances in camp, and meeting her husband, Shi Nomura. The film features two recordings of Nomura recorded at Manzanar, "I Dream of You" and "Can't Fool This Heart of Mine," and ends with Mary singing "Embraceable You" accompanied by Scott Nagatani on piano.

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The Bracelet (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 3-5, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Coming of age, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Limited availability

Short educational film that demonstrates the use of a popular children's book in an elementary school classroom. Patty Nagano, a teacher at Bret Harte Elementary School in the Alhambra, California, School District, begins by asking the class—which appears to consist of second or third graders—if they have experienced someone close to them moving away and listens as several children talk about their memories of such an experience. She then briefly explains what happened to Japanese Americans during World War II and reads the Yoshiko Uchida book The Bracelet to the class. As she reads, images of the class and Joanna Yardley's illustrations are augmented by archival photographs of the mass removal and incarceration, along with sound effects. After finishing the book, Nagano engages the class in a series of activities: asking them for their initial reactions to the book and answering questions about her and her family's experience; showing the ...

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The Steel Helmet (film)

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

Dramatic film about infantry soldiers in the Korean War written and directed by Samuel Fuller. One of the ensemble is a Nisei soldier and World War II veteran played by Richard Loo. It is likely the first Hollywood film to note the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II in a disapproving manner.

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The Red Pines: Japanese-Americans on Bainbridge Island (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Displacement, Power of tradition, Rebirth
  • Widely available

Short film about the Japanese American community of Bainbridge Island, Washington. The twelve-minute film produced and directed by Lucy Ostrander provides a brief history of the community going back to the late 1800s, covers their wartime eviction and incarceration, and includes scenes from a contemporary mochitsuki, the traditional pounding of rice cakes to mark the new year. The story is largely told through Junkoh Harui, a Nisei, who recounts his Japanese immigrant father's arrival on Bainbridge to work in a sawmill before starting a number of businesses, including a store and Bainbridge Gardens. Other interviewees include Fumiko Hayashida, a woman famous for a photograph of her and her young daughter being forcibly removed during World War II; Hayashida later became the subject of another short documentary by Ostrander and her production partner Don Sellers. The title of the film comes from the Japanese red pine trees that Harui's father planted ...

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The Red Tricycle (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Evils of racism, Injustice, Optimism – power or folly
  • Available

The scene as a Nikkei family—a mother with her two daughters and four-year-old son Tommy—make the last preparations at their farmhouse before a truck comes to take them to the train station that will deliver them to a concentration camp. Their spirits are temporarily buoyed by a unexpected kind act by one of the soldiers who comes for them.

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The Brothers Murata (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Family – blessing or curse, Nationalism – complications, Rights - individual or societal, Role of men
  • Available

Novella by Toshio Mori about two brothers in Topaz who clash over the issue of military service. Likely written in Topaz, it was first published in the 2000 Mori anthology Unfinished Message: Selected Works of Toshio Mori.

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Sundown in Topaz (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Losing hope, Self-preservation
  • Limited availability

Short story about an Issei man in Topaz during the time of the loyalty questionnaire. Shojiro Mikawa, a grandfather from Hiroshima, is incarcerated in Topaz with his family. His close friend, Tanimoto, is among those in the camp who is organizing resistance to the questionnaire. He attends a meeting led by Tanimoto that advocates refusing to answer the questionnaire. However an informant at the meeting has reported to the camp administration the names of all who attended. Called before the camp director, Mikawa is ordered to tell what he knows about the organization of the meeting or else be sent to Tule Lake and thus separated from his family.

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Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Convention and rebellion, Heroism – real and perceived, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Available

Feature length documentary film that traces the basketball exploits of Wat Misaka, a Nisei from Utah who starred on two college basketball national championship teams and played briefly for the New York Knicks in the 1940s.

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