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Browse > Interest Level > Grades 6-8

121 articles

Dear Miss Breed (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, importance of community
  • Limited availability

A 2000 short documentary film by Veronica Ko about San Diego children's librarian Clara Breed, whose wartime correspondence with Japanese American youth she had befriended before the war became an unlikely source of hope and courage when the children were sent to American concentration camps. The film, which is hosted by actor Marcus Toji, includes excerpts from some of the 250 letters Miss Breed received from the Japanese American children. The film was created and produced in conjunction with an exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum of the same title. The film was recognized with numerous awards including the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film & Digital Media, Council on Foundations, 2002; the 34th Annual Worldfest Houston, Grand Prize nomination, Special Gold Jury Award, Historical, 2001; and the Columbus International Film & Video Festival, Honorable Mention, 2000.

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Conversations: Before the War/After the War (film)

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

A 1986 dramatic film by Robert Nakamura that is based on the play "Truth of the Matter" by Karen L. Ishizuka. In Conversations, three characters discuss their life experiences, feelings and the facts of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans, exploring the changes in their lives and long term effects of their wartime experiences. Though taking the form of oral history interviews, the three characters were nonprofessional actors playing composite characters based on their own experiences and that of others. The cast included Kimiko Nakamura—the mother of director Nakamura—along with Warren Furutani, playing a role based on his father, and Grace Ino, playing the part of a younger Nisei. in a 2009 interview, Nakamra said that the film "was experimental in that we used the experiences of the non-actors themselves reading transcripts of interviews, and a little bit of coaching."[1]

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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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Coming Home: Memories of Japanese American Resettlement (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Displacement, Evils of racism
  • No availability

Exhibition organized by the Japanese American National Museum and curated by Darcie Iki that explored the obstacles, such as housing and employment shortages and discrimination, that Japanese Americans faced after they left the confines of America's concentration camps. The exhibit opened on August 14, 1998, and ran until February 7, 1999. The exhibit explored the process of rebuilding community as well as the individual struggle to come to terms with the larger "camp" experience. It focused on five collections, each displayed in intimate settings, that reflected varied life experiences encountered in the process of coming home.

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Eagle Against the Sun (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Loss of innocence, Coming of age, Evils of racism
  • Limited availability

A dramatic short film by John Akahoshi centering on a 17-year-old Japanese American high school girl and the impact the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor has on her life.

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Eyes of the Emperor (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 6-8
  • Historical Fiction, Young Adult
  • Evils of racism, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Self-preservation, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Historical novel aimed at middle school readers based on the true story of Nisei solders from Hawai'i who were made to serve as "bait" in a program that attempted to train dogs to recognize and attack the supposed distinctive smell of "Japanese" during World War II.

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The Fence at Minidoka (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Displacement
  • Limited availability

Early documentary film on the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans from the Seattle, Washington, area that may have been the first such film to be produced by a local television station. Barbara J. Tanabe, a young reporter for KOMO in Seattle instigated, wrote, and reported on the program, which first aired on December 7, 1971.

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Fumiko Hayashida: The Woman Behind the Symbol (film)

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

A 2009 short documentary film about Fumiko Hayashida, a pregnant mother of two who was one of 227 members of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American community who were forced from their homes in March 1942. Hayashida—or at least her image—became immortalized in a photograph taken of her holding her young daughter. First appearing the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the photograph became one of the iconic images of the roundup. Providing both a biographical portrait of Hayashida and telling the larger story of Bainbridge Island, the film also shows the then 97-year-old Hayashida revisiting the site of the former Minidoka concentration camp in Idaho.

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Ganbare Don't Give Up! (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Immigrant experience, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Rights - individual or societal, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • No availability

Documentary film that provides an overview of what happened to Japanese Americans in Hawai'i during World War II, focusing on the limited internment of Issei community leaders and the exploits of Japanese American men in the armed forces. Ganbare Don't Give Up! was produced as a part of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i's core exhibition, Okage Sama De: I am what I am because of you, which remains the only place where it can be viewed.

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G-Men vs. The Black Dragon/Black Dragon of Manzanar (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Thriller, Crime
  • Fear of other, Good vs. bad, Nationalism - complications
  • Available

A war-era movie serial produced by Republic Pictures in 1943 that pits Los Angeles-based American Special Investigator Rex Bennett against the Black Dragon Society (BDS), a Japanese led organization that is attempting to aid the Axis-war effort. There is a brief intersection of the BDS with the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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Half Kenneth (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama, Short
  • Coming of age, Loss of innocence, Family - blessing or curse
  • Limited availability

Short dramatic film about two mixed race brothers at Manzanar in 1945. A 21-minute short, Half Kenneth was made by Ken Ochiai as a master's thesis film at the American Film Institute.

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Japanese Immigrants in the United States and the War Era (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Immigrant experience
  • No availability

Exhibition on Japanese Americans during World War II at the National Museum of Japanese History in Chiba, Japan. Displayed from March 16, 2010, to April 3, 2011, Japanese Immigrants in the United States and the War Era commemorated the opening of the approximately 7,500 square foot Sixth Exhibition Gallery (which displays contemporary history) at the National Museum of Japanese History (hereafter Rekihaku).[1] The special exhibition was the first at a Japanese national institution to focus on Japanese Americans, attempting to bring them into the mainstream of Japanese history.

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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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Manzanar: Photographs by Ansel Adams of Loyal Japanese-American Relocation Center (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art
  • Displacement, Injustice, Character - destruction, building up
  • Available

Landmark exhibition of Ansel Adams' photographs of Manzanar at New York's Museum of Modern Art. Opening on November 9, 1944, Manzanar was not only the sole major museum exhibition documenting the Japanese American incarceration to be displayed while incarceration was still ongoing, but arguably the only such exhibition to appear for the next twenty-five years.

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Pride and Shame (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Immigrant experience, Evils of racism, Injustice
  • No availability

Early exhibition on the history of Japanese Americans in the Pacific Northwest that was one of the first to highlight the wartime incarceration experience. After its 1970 debut at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in Seattle, Washington, a traveling version of Pride and Shame followed that toured numerous venues over the next five years. It was among several key exhibitions that reflected a growing consciousness about the incarceration from this time period.

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Redress: The JACL Campaign for Justice (film)

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

Documentary film produced by Visual Communications for the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in 1991 documenting the JACL's role in the Redress Movement, which had recently culminated in the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Written and directed by John Esaki, the film was shown at Days of Remembrances and other events. William Hohri, a frequent critic of the JACL, wrote a letter to Japanese American vernacular papers that compared the video to "how history was manipulated in the old Soviet Union" noting the omission of the corm nobis cases and non-JACL contributors to the movement. In response, Cherry Kinoshita, the JACL's national redress chair, noted the video's goal "to document JACL's role in the redress effort," and not to tell a comprehensive story of redress.[1]

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Stand Up For Justice: The Ralph Lazo Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Injustice, Coming of age
  • Available

Short film that dramatizes the story of Ralph Lazo, a Los Angeles high school student of Mexican and Irish descent, who voluntarily chose to go to Manzanar to support his Nisei friends and protest the mass removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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Uprooted: Japanese American Farm Labor Camps during World War II (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Displacement, Necessity of work
  • Available

Traveling photographic exhibition on Japanese Americans who left the concentration camps on short term leave to work as farm laborers in the summers of 1942 and 1943. The exhibition features forty-five photographs by Farm Security Administration photographer Russell Lee, who photographed farm labor camps that housed the Japanese Americans, including one in Nyssa, Oregon. The exhibition also includes a short video that include interviews with several Japanese Americans who worked as farm laborers.

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Ancestry is Not a Crime: The Internment of People of Japanese Descent During World War II (curricula)

  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Injustice, Patriotism - positive side or complications, Rights - individual or societal, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Limited availability

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Hawai'i state legislature funded the development of Ancestry is Not a Crime, focused on the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans. The 192-page curriculum aims to engage elementary through high school students with this complex history, to wrestle with the meaning of democratic principles, and to think critically about civil liberties and the responsibilities of a democratic citizenry.

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A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Will to survive, Patriotism - positive side or complications, Nationalism - complications, Immigrant experience, Evils of racism
  • Widely available

In 1987, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History (NMAH) opened A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the US Constitution (MPU), an exhibition on the World War II Japanese American detention centers designed to coincide with the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. Though the creation of an exhibition that exemplified a moment of weakness for the Constitution was opposed by some, the exhibition stayed long past its intended term and was replaced with a permanent online version even after its physical removal in 2004.

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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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