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Browse > Interest Level > Grades 9-12

495 articles

Nikkei Style (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Change versus tradition, Importance of community, Power of tradition, Quest for discovery
  • Limited availability

Personal essay on being Japanese American by Sansei filmmaker Steven Okazaki, narrated in his first person voice. Beginning his journey at a family mochizuki event in Oxnard, California, he explores his family history, taking us to the house he grew up in in Venice, California, and telling us what he knows of his mother's and father's families, including their World War II incarceration (his mother went to Santa Anita, then Amache, his father to Heart Mountain) and featuring a brief interview with his mother. In search of more information about his father's side, he goes to Japan to visit a distant cousin and to Hawai'i to visit one of his father's old army buddies, from whom he learns much. The film ends with footage from various bon dances in Hawai'i and the continental U.S, which Okazaki cites as a living symbol of being Japanese American. Along the way, Okazaki muses ...

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O Furo (The Bath) (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Beauty of simplicity, Fulfillment, Nature as beauty
  • Available

Short story by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston about an elderly woman in an unspecified American concentration camp during the World War II. Yuki, a seventy-three year old widow, lives with her grandson, Dixon, a separate barracks room away from the rest of the family. When the falling snow reminds her of Japan, she prevails on Dixon to help her build a Japanese style furo, which they accomplish using scrap lumber and a discarded metal drum. Sitting in the tub, she reflects contentedly on her life.

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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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One of Many (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Injustice, Disillusionment and dreams, Patriotism - positive side or complications
  • Widely available

Short dramatic film written and directed by Byron Yokomi centering on George Miyamoto, a young man at one of the Arkansas concentration camps facing major life decisions brought on by the loyalty questionnaire crisis. Yokomi made the film as an MFA student at Florida State University.

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Old Man River (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Family – blessing or curse, Power of the past, Power of silence, Quest for discovery
  • Available

One-woman play about the playwright's search for the truth about her actor father's life story. Jerry Fujikawa was a successful Nisei actor after World War II who worked steadily in character roles in movies and television and who did well enough to own a home and put three children through college. But after his death in 1983, playwright and performer Cynthia Gates Fujikawa found a picture of her father with a woman who is not her mother and a little girl who looks like her, but is not. Old Man River documents her search for her father's history, in which his wartime incarceration at Manzanar and stint in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team play a key role.

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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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Relocations and Revisions: The Japanese-American Internment Reconsidered (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art, Displacement, Injustice, Evils of Racism
  • Limited availability

Exhibition at the Long Beach Museum of Art featuring work inspired by the wartime expulsion and incarceration by contemporary Japanese American artists, most of whom were too young to experience the concentration camps firsthand. Opening on May 10, 1992, Relocations and Revisions also included a program of videos and well as a catalog with both print and video components.

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People Aren't All Bad (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Companionship as salvation, Darkness and light, Evils of racism
  • Widely available

Short video by Matthew Hashiguchi that centers on the wartime experience of Yutaka Kobayashi, a Nisei from San Francisco, who recalls a memorable moment of kindness from a guard at Topaz.

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Personal Justice Denied: An Issue for All Americans (film)

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

Video of a February 19, 1998, panel discussion at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History on the topic of the coram nobis cases, featuring presentations by principals Fred Korematsu and Gordon Hirabayashi and lead attorneys Dale Minami, Peggy Nagae, and Rod Kawakami.

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Prejudice and Patriotism: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in the Military Intelligence Service of WWII (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Heroism - real or perceived
  • No availability

Documentary video that tells the story of Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service during World War II, juxtaposing that story against the backdrop of the Japanese American wartime incarceration, highlighting the difficulties brought on by the loyalty questionnaire and its aftermath. Colin Powell introduces and closes the video, which is narrated by Ken Kashiwahara. The story is told using archival footage and photographs and interviews with many MIS veterans and others. No director is identified. The film was produced and funded by the Military Intelligence Service Association of Northern California and the National Japanese American Historical Society.

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Pilgrimage (film)

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

Documentary film that traces the origins of the first Manzanar pilgrimage in 1969 and links it to the 2005 pilgrimage and to efforts to uphold the rights of Arab and Muslim Americans after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The film includes interviews with many of the organizers of the 1969 pilgrimage and archival footage and photographs of that event and of related events from that time. Directed and edited by Tadashi Nakamura, the film was a production of the Center for EthnoCommunications of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center in 2008. The film is dedicated to the memory of Sue Kunitomi Embrey, who passed away in 2006. It was funded in part by grants from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Fund, the UCLA in LA Center for Community Partnerships, the California Wellness Foundation, and the Center for Asian American Media.

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Resistance at Tule Lake (film)

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

Documentary film that tells the story of the Tule Lake concentration camp, with a focus on the post-segregation period, through interviews with former inmates, archival images, and scenes from contemporary pilgrimages.

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Return to the Valley: Japanese American Experience After WWII (film)

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

Documentary film that tells the story of Japanese Americans returning to the Santa Clara, Salinas and Pajaro Valleys and the Central Coast after World War II. Produced by KTEH, a San Jose public television station, Return to the Valley was the first episode of an anthology series titled Voices of the Valley and debuted in 2003. It received a region Emmy Award in 2004 for "Outstanding Community Program."

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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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Ruth Asawa: Of Forms and Growth (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Nature as beauty, Role of women
  • Available

Documentary profile of Nisei artist Ruth Asawa produced and directed by Robert Snyder. Of Forms and Growth includes footage of Asawa at home, in her garden and at work, and features the artist talking about her artistic influences and techniques. In particular, she highlights the influence of artists Joseph Albers and Buckminster Fuller, and the film includes footage of Asawa and Fuller. She goes on to talk about the various media she has worked with, including ink and oil paintings, wire and paper sculptures, and sculptures made from baker's clay. The film also explores Asawa's community work, particularly in establishing art programs in schools as well as a community arts festival. Photographer Imogen Cunningham talks about photographing Asawa and her family and about Asawa's marriage to Albert Lanier. Asawa's early life—including her wartime incarceration—is covered only briefly, and her later work that is influenced by Japanese American history is not ...

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Reunion: The 50th Anniversary Celebration of the 442nd (film)

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

Television program documenting the week of events that took place in Honolulu, Hawai'i, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The hour-long program produced by JN Productions aired on April 29, 1993 on Oceanic Cable in Hawai'i and on May 9, 1993 on KHNL Honolulu.

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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 Sensei (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Facing reality, Nationalism – complications, Reunion
  • Widely available

Short story by Wakako Yamauchi centering on a former Buddhist priest whose gambling addiction has turned him into a beggar in the early postwar years. Told in the first person by a Nisei woman named Utako, the story begins with the outbreak of war and the then seventeen-year-old Utako's incarceration with her family in an Arizona concentration camp. The loyalty questionnaire divides the family, as her brother Toshio becomes a "no-no boy" and gets sent alone to Tule Lake. There, he becomes friends with Jim Morita, a fellow "no-no." After the war, the family returns to Los Angeles, and Utako ends up marrying Jim; she works as a painter of shower curtains, while he attends college. A couple of years later, Jim and Utako visit Las Vegas. On their way out, they run into the title character, a former Buddhist priest who had been a powerful inmate leader in post-segregation ...

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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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Silent Honor (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Romance
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Everlasting love, Evils of racism, Loss of innocence, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Novel by bestselling author Danielle Steel about a Japanese American family in the San Francisco Bay Area and their wartime odyssey in American concentration camps, highlighting a romance between a niece recently arrived from Japan and a white college professor.

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Success Story, Japanese American Style (article)

  • Articles
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Non-fiction
  • Overcoming, Social mobility
  • Available

Often cited popular account of Japanese American "success" by a University of California demographer, one of several such articles to appear in the '60s and '70s.

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Stories from America's Concentration Camps (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Limited availability

Filmed presentation by members of Nisei VFW Post 8985, based in Sacramento, on the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans. According to leader Kiyo Sato-Viacrucis, the group had been making such presentations for fourteen years to schools. Joining Sato-Viacrucis are members Kaoru "Kirk" Shibata, Robert Kashiwagi, H. Gary Shiota, Kinya Noguchi, Jim Tanaka, Yoshiro William Matsuhara. The group talk through the core story—Executive Order 9066 and the roundup of Japanese Americans, life in the concentration camps, volunteering for the army from the camps, and the aftermath of the war, ending with the Civil Liberties Act of 1988—taking turns and often using photographs or other objects to tell the story. The group also tells the story of the formation of their group: how as Nisei veterans, they were not allowed to join existing Veterans of Foreign Affairs groups and thus had to form their own. The roughly 44-minute presentation is ...

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Snapshot, 1944 (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Power of silence, Power of the past, Wisdom of experience
  • Limited availability

Short story by David Mas Masumoto told in the first person voice of a Sansei young adult reflecting on the meaning of an old snapshot of his father's family taken at Gila River in 1944. The occasion is the funeral of his Uncle George, killed as an American soldier in the war. In the photo, the narrator's grandfather holds a flag and his grandmother holds a picture of George, while his father and aunts and uncles stand uneasily to the side. The narrator writes in turn about the postwar fates of his grandfather, who died before he was born; his grandmother, who lives with the family, but suffers from dementia; and his father, who struggled to buy a farm after the war and now grows raisins and other crops on eighty acres. Each in his her own way remains as silent to the narrator as in the photograph.

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Sushi (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Loss of innocence, Power of the past, Coming of age
  • Limited availability

Short story by Rei Noguchi about a young Japanese American girl who learns about the wartime incarceration from an Issei woman neighbor. It is a cold New Year's Eve in Dover, New Jersey, and Maya Okano has been dispatched by her parents to return a plate to a woman they call Grandmother Okamoto. The older woman, who is making sushi for New Year's, is happy to see the girl and serves her tea. Maya tells Grandmother Okamoto that she doesn't like sushi or Japanese food in general, preferring "American" food. Grandmother Okamoto sends Maya into the bedroom to fetch a can of nori from the dresser; when she does, she sees a little shrine on the dresser and the photograph of a young man in military uniform in front of barracks. When Maya asks, Grandmother Okamoto tells her about her son, who was killed fighting (presumably in the 442nd Regimental ...

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The Day After Today (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Facing reality, Losing hope
  • Widely available

Very short story by Toshio Mori (called "A Sketch") about an Issei man at Topaz who worries about what will happen to him and his wife when they are forced to leave the camp, since they have no children to help support them. He envies neighbors who have resettled children they can stay with in the Midwest and East. Published in the Pacific Citizen in February of 1945, the story captured the anxiety many Japanese Americans felt with news that the concentration camps would be closing by the end of the year.

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