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Browse > Interest Level > Adult

463 articles

Day of Independence (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Coming of age, Family - blessing or curse, Self-reliance
  • Available

A 2003 short dramatic film about one Japanese American family's World War II experience in an American concentration camp, told through the narration of a young baseball player, whose life is traumatically altered by the forced removal and his father's decision to expatriate back to Japan. The screenplay is based on the real-life experiences of playwright and executive producer Tim Toyama's family and adapted from a play Toyama wrote entitled "Independence Day".

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Woman from Hiroshima (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Immigrant experience, Motherhood, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Wisdom of experience
  • Available

Novel by Toshio Mori written in the first-person voice of an Issei woman telling her life story to two grandchildren shortly after World War II.

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Time of Decay (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Desire to escape, Family—blessing or curse, Loneliness as destructive force, Losing hope
  • Widely available

Short story by Ferris Takahashi of an Issei woman whose family puts her in a cold nursing home against her will at the end of her life. Told from the perspective of the woman, she recalls her forced removal and incarceration in unspecified concentration camps and other episodes in her life.

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Home Again (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Character - destruction and building up, Displacement, Evils of racism
  • Available

A 1955 novel authored by a former War Relocation Authority (WRA) official that tells the epic story of one Japanese American family from California, covering their prewar travails, their wartime incarceration, and their return to California after the war. The book was heavily promoted particularly within the Japanese American community and widely reviewed.

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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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Uncle Gunjiro's Girlfriend (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Evils of racism, Power of the past, Reunion, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • Limited availability

Performance piece that incorporates storytelling, music, dance, and multimedia elements to expose the secret of Brenda Wong Aoki's family: her great-uncle's marriage to a white woman and the subsequent split in the family.

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Whispered Silences: Japanese American Detention Camps, Fifty Years Later (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Displacement, Power of the past
  • Available

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) exhibition that featured photographs of former Japanese American concentration camp sites shot during the 1980s by artist Joan Myers. Debuting in 1995, the exhibition traveled around the country for the next four years. It was accompanied by a book published by the University of Washington Press titled Whispered Silences: Japanese Americans and World War II, which includes her photographs along with Gary Okihiro's historical/autobiographical overview of Japanese American history.

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Midway (film)

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

Epic war movie that tells the story of the Battle of Midway, the turning point of the Pacific War, from both the American and Japanese perspectives. Made for a modest budget despite its all-star cast, Midway was successful at the box office. In addition to employing many Japanese American actors in the roles of Japanese naval officers, the movie has a subplot involving the internment/incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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After the Bloom (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Family – blessing or curse, Power of silence, Power of the past, Role of women
  • Widely available

Novel by Japanese Canadian author Leslie Shimotakahara about the sudden disappearance of a Nisei woman in Toronto and her Sansei daughter's search for her and her own past.

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Hito Hata: Raise the Banner (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Immigrant experience
  • Limited availability

Landmark feature film produced by Visual Communications (VC), a Los Angeles based non-profit in 1980. Centering on the life story of an Issei man, Hito Hata was likely the first dramatic feature film about Asian Americans by Asian Americans since the silent film era.

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American in Disguise (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Identity crisis, Wisdom of experience
  • Available

American in Disguise is Daniel Okimoto's account of his search for identity in America and Japan. The book was originally published in 1971 by John Weatherhill, Inc, with a foreword by James Michener.

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Unfinished Message (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Motherhood
  • Available

Seemingly autobiographical story by Toshio Mori about his mother and brother. The story begins in 1945 in Topaz, where the author's mother can't sleep one night because of anxiety about her son, who is serving in Europe. She later finds out that he was wounded in battle that night. Later, they arrange for his transfer to a hospital in the U.S, deciding on one near the family home in California. When they leave camp and return home, she is able to visit him at the hospital. However, she later dies in her sleep before her son is released. After her death, the author and his brother hear tapping on the window of the room in which she died, which they interpret as her message to them. Written by Mori in 1947, the story was first published in his 1979 short story collection, The Chauvinist and Other Stories and reprinted in ...

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Remembering Manzanar (film)

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

Introductory video at the Manzanar National Historic Site's Visitor Center. Commissioned by the National Park Service and produced by Signature Communications of Huntingtown, Maryland, in 2004, Remembering Manzanar provides a broad overview of the Japanese American wartime forced removal and incarceration based on interviews with a dozen former inmates, along with residents of the area around Manzanar and a teacher at Manzanar. None of the narrators are identified as they talk and none are pictured onscreen. Visuals consists entirely of archival still and moving images, including clips from newsreels and War Relocation Authority films along with home movies shot by inmates; period cartoons and caricatures; period artifacts; and contemporary footage of the Manzanar site. The 22-minute video is shown every half-hour at the Manzanar Visitor Center. No director, editor, or cinematographer is credited.

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

  • 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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Day of Remembrance: The First National Ceremony (film)

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

Documentary film of the first national Day of Remembrance commemoration, held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. in 1998. The national ceremony was hosted by George Takei and Tamlyn Tomita and included guest speakers Gordon Hirabayashi, Fred Korematsu, Norman Mineta, Joan Bernstein, Mitsuye Yamada, Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, and Robert Matsui.

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Executive Order 9066 (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History, Art, Photography
  • Injustice, Evils of racism
  • Limited availability

Landmark photographic exhibition on the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans curated by Richard and Maisie Conrat for the California Historical Society in 1972. The first exhibition on this topic to tour nationally—including such venues as the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York—it likely introduced many Americans to this story and was part of a resurgence of interest in the topic both inside and outside the Japanese American community in the 1970s.

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The Bitter Memory: America's Concentration Camps (film)

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

Early film that provides an overview of the wartime forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans on the West Coast produced by the University of California, Berkeley in 1975. Bitter Memory tells the story through narration and interviews with former inmates accompanied by archival footage from Office of War Information/War Relocation Authority (WRA) films and WRA still photos. All footage—even contemporary interview footage and footage shot at Tule Lake—is in black and white. Identified inmate narrators include poet and playwright Hiroshi Kashiwagi, Mary Otani, Michi Mukai, and Kumito Ishida. The bulk of the film deals with living conditions in the concentration camps—the lack of privacy, the breaking up of the family unit, employment, food and so forth—along with the loyalty questionnaire and segregation. The film is also known as Bitter Memories: Tule Lake, even though only the last few minutes of the film focus on Tule Lake.

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American Sons (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Empowerment, Evils of racism, Quest for discovery, Role of men
  • Widely available

Docudrama by Steven Okazaki about four Asian American male characters talking about the role of race in their lives. Though played by actors, the words spoken by each character come from interviews with real people.

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Floating Home (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Facing reality, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Reunion, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Short story about a family returning to Little Tokyo from Rohwer. When fourteen-year-old Mari returns home with her parents, she expects to go to their old house, but is dismayed when they go to a run down residential hotel instead. Her father explains to her that they had rented the house they had lived in before the war, and they it was now being rented to someone else. Mari decides to walk to the house to take a last look. She finds an African American girl about her age on the swing in front. Initially suspicious, the girl becomes friendlier when Mari tells her why she and her family had to leave and invites her inside.

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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 ...

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A Crossroad Called Manzanar (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Short, History
  • Growing up - pain or pleasure, Loss of innocence
  • No availability

Short dramatic film about two nine-year-old girls who are best friends—Aya Matsui and Penny Chan—in the final days before Aya's family will be forced to board busses for Manzanar. On what will be her final day of school, Penny—wearing the "Proud to Be Chinese" button than her mother pins on her every morning—comes to pick up Aya as usual. But after being harassed by white children on their way to school, they decide to spend the day playing in the fields and parks before heading home. Aya's family eats on the floor, the rest of their things packed or sold off. The next morning, the Matsuis report for their exile and are put on busses for Manzanar. Penny comes by their house, finding it empty and, shunned by the other kids, rides alone on the school bus to school.

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Why is Preparing Fish a Political Act? (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, Biography
  • Convention and rebellion, Loss of innocence, Power of silence, Power of words, Role of women, Self-awareness
  • Available

Short documentary film by Russell Leong that profiles Sansei poet Janice Mirikitani. Mirikitani reads several of her poems (from the collections Awake in the River and Shedding Silence) and talks about her grandmother's resourcefulness; her rejection of her Asian heritage as a young college student and her first husband and daughter; the impact of the Asian American Movement; and her involvement with Gilde Memorial Church and her second husband Cecil Williams. In the final segment of the film, Mirikitani talks about the impact of the Japanese American incarceration on her family and on the community as a whole and reads the poem "We, the Dangerous."

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The Caretaker (film)

  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Female roles, Isolation, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Short film about Josey Gerrish, a migrant from Fiji, who serves as the caretaker for 95 year old Haru Tsurumoto in Sonoma County, California. Told through Josey's first-person narrative, we learn that she had hoped to be doctor or nurse, but, like many Fijian woman, had to leave her own family behind to become a caretaker in the U.S. She finds herself immediately drawn to Haru, with the women linked by their outsider status. During World War II, Haru had been among those Japanese Americans forcibly removed and held in concentration camps. In the U.S. without papers, Joesy worries about getting stopped by police and deported.

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Starting from Loomis (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Evils of racism, Family – blessing or curse, Injustice
  • Widely available

Autobiographical short story by Hiroshi Kashiwagi that traces his life from his childhood on farms in the Loomis, California, area, his family's forced removal and incarceration at the Marysville Assembly Center (which Kashiwagi refers to as "Arboga," an alternative name) and Tule Lake, and his decision to answer "no-no" to the loyalty questionnaire both out of anger and protest and in alignment with the rest of his family. While describing the difficult conditions of concentration camp life, the narrator—who was two years out of high school at the time—takes his first tentative steps in the world of theater and literature while in camp. His father's absence from the family from prior to the war due to tuberculosis looms large. Written from the perspective of an old man looking back at his youth, the story ends with the lifelong ramifications of his wartime incarceration and his "no-no boy" status.

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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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