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Browse > Media Type > Films and Video

235 articles

Nisei Soldier: Standard Bearer for an Exiled People (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Patriotism - positive side or complications, Injustice, Heroism - real or perceived
  • Limited availability

Influential documentary film by Loni Ding that was the first of many to specifically focus on the story of Japanese Americans who served in the armed forces during World War II.

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The Nisei Farmer (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Short
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Injustice, Power of the past, Power of the past
  • Limited availability

Short dramatic film about a Nisei couple, Hank (Steven Kondo) and Aki (Jude Narita), who farm in Northern California. When news of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 spreads, Hank becomes morose and angry, as it triggers boyhood memories of his family's incarceration, which are shown in flashback scenes. He also lashes out at Aki, who did not go to camp, when she suggests they use the money to go on a vacation. But after further thought and reflection on the incarceration and redress, he recognizes the source of his anger and comes around to the idea of going away.

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Only the Brave (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • War, Drama
  • Death – inevitable or tragedy, Power of the past, Role of men, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Feature film that dramatizes the rescue of the "Lost Battalion" by the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in France and its aftermath.

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Passing Poston (film)

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

Documentary film that tells the story of Poston through the lives of four former inmates, Mary Higashi, Ruth Okimoto, Kiyo Sato, and Leon Uyeda. The four—who ranged in age from young adulthood to young childhood at the time of their incarceration—talk about their wartime experiences and also the continuing postwar impacts over footage of government propaganda films and archival and personal photographs.

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A Personal Matter: Gordon Hirabayashi vs. the United States (film)

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

Documentary film on Gordon Hirabayashi and his legal challenge to the World War II-era measures against Japanese Americans during the war and the revival of that challenge forty years later. John de Graaf directed the 28-minute documentary, which tells his story in a largely chronological manner, ending with the 1980s coram nobis case verdict. In addition to Hirabayashi's own words and contemporary footage of him visiting such key locales as the Federal Court House in Seattle, where he was first tried; the King County Jail, where he was incarcerated; and his alma mater, Auburn High School, the filmmakers tell the story through interviews with two of his brothers, friends, and some of his lawyers (including Arthur Barnett, his friend and lawyer in the 1940s cases). A Personal Matter aired nationally on Public Broadcasting Service stations in 1992. Among the funders of the film are the National Commission on the Bicentennial ...

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Our American Family: The Furutas (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Injustice, Importance of community
  • Available

Episode of the television series Our American Family that focuses on a Japanese American family from Southern California. The episode premiered in February 2015.

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

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

Companion video to the 1992 exhibition of art inspired by the wartime exclusion and incarceration at the Long Beach Museum of Art that features interviews with the mostly Sansei artists featured in the exhibition.

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Resettlement to Redress: Rebirth of the Japanese-American Community (film)

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

Hour-long documentary film produced by Don Young for KVIE television in Sacramento that looks at the Japanese American experience after World War II from the resettlement period to the Redress Movement. Among the topics covered are leaving the camps; resettlement inland in places like Chicago and Seabrook Farms, New Jersey; the drive to blend in and succeed and the rise of the "model minority" stereotype; the "Revolution of 1954" in Hawai'i and the electoral politics in the continental U.S.; 1960s social movements; camp pilgrimages; and the rise and culmination of the movement for redress. In addition to interviews and historic photos, the film includes footage from the hearing of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). Jan Yanehiro served as the narrator.

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Ruth Asawa: A Community Artist (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Short documentary film on artist Ruth Asawa by Dianne Fukami. Produced as part of a follow-up project to the creation of the "Garden of Remembrance" at San Francisco State University, the documentary highlights Asawa's role in the garden and documents some of her other public art in San Francisco.

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Shinkichi Tajiri: A Friendship Knot for Bruyeres (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Desire to escape, Expression through art, Self-awareness
  • Limited availability

Short video on sculptor Shinkichi Tajiri by A. T. Roberts, made to document Tajiri's gift of a sculpture honoring the 442nd Regimental Combat Team to the French city of Bruyeres, which had been liberated by the 442nd during World War II. Footage of Tajiri making the sculpture and footage of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the liberation in 1994 begin and end the video, with Tajiri's own first person account of his life and career starting from the attack on Pearl Harbor in between. Tajiri recalls his and his family's forced removal and incarceration at Santa Anita and Poston, joining the 442nd, and deciding to move to Europe after the war to pursue an art career and to escape from discrimination in the U.S. Tajiri's autobiographical narrative is accompanied by photographs of him and his family and of his many works of art.

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A Song for Ourselves (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, Short
  • Limited availability

2009 documentary film by writer/director Tadashi Nakamura on the life and work of activist, singer/songwriter, and legal scholar Chris Iijima. The 35 minute film profiles Iijima, starting with footage from his memorial services in Los Angeles, New York and Honolulu, then traces his life from his birth and upbringing in New York, the son of Nisei parents who had resettled there from the concentration camps; his politicization and activism there; the evolution of his singing, songwriting, and musical partnership with Nobuko Miyamoto and "Charlie" Chin; his work as a schoolteacher in New York and meeting his future wife Jean; his decision to go to law school and become a legal scholar, which necessitated moving his family to Hawai'i and teaching at the Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai'i; and his premature death of a rare disease at age 57 in 2005. The documentary is built around interviews ...

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The War (film)

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

Documentary mini-series by Ken Burns on the American experience of World War II. Produced in 2006, The War debuted on public television stations in September 2007, shown in seven roughly two-hour parts. Included in the sprawling documentary is the story of Japanese American forced removal and incarceration as well as the story of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

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A Time Remembered: The Terminal Island Story (film)

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

Documentary film on the Japanese American community on Terminal Island, a fishing village of the Southern California coast that was the first such community to excluded en masse in February 1942.

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The Yoke's on Me (film)

  • Films and Video

Wartime comedy short subject starring the Three Stooges, whose plot involves in encounter with escapees from "a relocation center." The 79th Three Stooges short, "The Yoke's on Me" was released on May 26, 1944.

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The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Power of the past, Injustice, Quest for discovery, Immigrant experience
  • Widely available

Documentary film produced by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i (JCCH) in 2012 that provides an overview on the internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i during World War II—both those held in camps in the continental U.S. and those held in Hawai'i camps—as well as contemporary efforts to preserve the Hawai'i sites today.

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When We Were Warriors, Part 1 (film)

  • Films and Video

Dramatic short film written and directed by Lane Nishikawa that centers on the lifelong relationship between a Nisei soldier and the Jewish man whom he liberated from a Nazi death camp during World War II. The film is an adaptation of the play The Gate of Heaven, written by Nishikawa and Victor Talmadge, who also star as the main characters. Produced in 1999, the 33-minute film was funded in part by the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund and the 100th/442nd/MIS WWII Memorial Foundation.

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Without Due Process: A Documentary About America's Concentration Camps (film)

  • Films and Video

Documentary film that profiles the wartime incarceration saga of one Japanese American family, the Okamotos, who were held at the Poston, Arizona concentration camp. George Okamoto was forcibly removed with his family from Southern California and served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team while his family was held at Poston. He and his family subsequently resettled in Chicago.

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Witness: American Heroes (film)

  • Films and Video

Documentary film on the exploits of Nisei soldiers in World War II produced to commemorate their being awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2011. Produced by Content Media Group for KABC, a Los Angeles television station, the film premiered on KABC in November 2011.

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We the People: The Stage Production (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Loss of innocence, Power of tradition
  • Available

Short film that documents the performance of the elementary school age students of Jan Ken Po Gakko in Sacramento on July 20, 2000. The production is highlighted by a play performed by the students based on Mary Tsukamoto and Elizabeth Pinkerton's book We the People.

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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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Visible Target (film)

  • Films and Video

Documentary film on the forced removal of Japanese Americans from Bainbridge Island, Washington. Cris Anderson and John de Graaf produced Visible Target in 1985 for Seattle public television station KCTS, making it one of the earliest documentaries to tackle the exclusion and incarceration of Japanese Americans. The film also profiles Walt and Milly Woodward of the Bainbridge Review, among the only West Coast journalists who opposed the treatment of Japanese Americans and features interviews with them.

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Words, Weavings and Songs (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Role of women, Expression through art, Power of the past
  • Widely available

2002 documentary film profiling three Nisei women who drew on their experiences as teenagers in American concentration camps to pursue different types of creative expression both in camp and afterwards. The three artists featured are writer, playwright, and painter Wakako Yamauchi, weaver Momo Nagano, and singer Mary Nomura. A project of the Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center at the Japanese American National Museum, Words, Weavings & Songs was produced and directed by John Esaki and was funded in part by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program.

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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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Old Man River (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Biography, History
  • Family – blessing or curse, Power of the past, Power of silence, Quest for discovery
  • Available

Filmed version of Cynthia Gates Fujikawa's one-woman play of the same name about her search to unearth the secrets in the life of her father, actor Jerry Fujikawa. The play premiered in New York in 1997. Gates and documentary film director Allan Holzman filmed her performances during the run of the play in Los Angeles in early 1998. To try to recapture the effect of Fujikawa talking directly to the audience, Holzman positioned cameras on stage that she could talk into and added additional historic photographs and video. Premiering later in 1998, the film version went to play in various film festivals, community screenings and Days of Remembrance in succeeding years. The DVD version of the film also includes Fujikawa's 2003 documentary, Day of Remembrance.

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