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Browse > Point-of-View > First person

17 articles

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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Desert Exile (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Biography, Non fiction
  • Injustice, Displacement, Evils of racism
  • Widely available

Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese-American Family is an autobiography by noted children's book author Yoshiko Uchida that chronicles her experiences in the years before and during her incarceration in an American concentration camp during World War II. It was originally published in 1982 by the University of Washington Press and reissued with a new introduction by Traise Yamamoto in 2015.

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A Flicker in Eternity (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, Short
  • War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Loss of innocence, Coming of age
  • Widely available

A short documentary film from 2013 by Sharon Yamato and Ann Kaneko about the experiences of a young Nisei named Stanley Hayami, based on his diary and letters. A Nisei teenager incarcerated with his family during World War II at Heart Mountain, Hayami kept a diary documenting his life and thoughts in camp and subsequently as a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team until his death while in combat in Europe just days before Germany surrendered. Filmmakers Yamato and Kaneko tell the story largely in Hayami's own words, voiced by actor Aaron Yoo, as well as those of his older sister Sach, voiced by Amy Hill. The film includes archival photographs and footage and aspiring artist Hayami's own drawings from his diary, often in animated form. The DVD release of the film included interview footage with Hayami family members including Stanley's sister-in-law Miwako Hayami, niece Dawn Hayami, and nephew ...

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Journey to Topaz: A Story of the Japanese-American Evacuation (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
  • Grades 6-8
  • Children's, Young Adult
  • Displacement, Growing up - pain or pleasure
  • Widely available

Pioneering 1971 novel by Yoshiko Uchida that was the first book for children on the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans written by a Japanese American. Based in part on Uchida's own family experience, Journey to Topaz was the first of five books the prolific children's book author wrote that focused on the incarceration experience.

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A Divided Community (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism - Real and Perceived, Patriotism - Positive Side or Complications
  • No availability

Film produced and directed by Momo Yashima that tells the story of the Heart Mountain draft resisters through the stories of resisters Frank Emi, Yosh Kuromiya, Mits Koshiyama and journalist James Omura. While Emi and Kuromiya tell their stories on camera, actor Ralph Brannen voices the words of Kuromiya and Omura. Paul Tsuneishi, a veteran and a member of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) who supported the cause of the draft resisters, provides on camera narration and background. Interviews with lawyer Deborah K. Lim, author of The Lim Report, and historian Art Hansen are also included. The title refers both to divisions between Issei and Nisei during the war and between the JACL and those who resisted aspects of the mass incarceration.

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Under the Blood Red Sun (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 6-8
  • Historical Fiction, Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Growing up – pain or pleasure, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Acclaimed novel for young adults set in the early months of World War II told through the eyes of a teenage Nisei protagonist in Honolulu whose father and grandfather are both interned. The novel was made into a feature film in 2014. It was followed by a sequel, House of the Red Fish, in 2006.

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A Bridge Between Us (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Coming of age, Role of women
  • Widely available

Critically acclaimed 1995 novel by Julie Shigekuni that is both a multi-generational family saga about a Japanese American family in San Francisco and a coming-of-age novel centered on a fifth-generation Japanese American woman growing up in a four generation household. The story—which includes the family's incarceration at Heart Mountain—is told from the perspectives of four women of different generations who live together in the family home in San Francisco.

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House of the Red Fish (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8
  • Historical Fiction, Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Empowerment, Good versus bad, Importance of community
  • Widely available

Young adult novel by Graham Salisbury about a Nisei teenager in wartime Honolulu who struggles to bring up the sunken fishing boat of his interned father. It is a sequel to the popular 1994 novel Under the Blood-Red Sun.

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A Jive Bomber's Christmas (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Musical
  • Importance of community, Optimism - power or folly
  • Widely available

Musical play set in a World War II concentration camp by Saachiko and Dom Magwili. First produced for the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in 1994, A Jive Bomber's Christmas became a holiday tradition in Los Angeles, enjoying a nine-year run and subsequent revivals in Los Angeles and in Hawai'i. The play was based in part on Saachiko Magwili's childhood memories of Heart Mountain and shares a structural similarity with Dom Magwili's earlier Christmas in Camp, first produced at East West Players in 1981.

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Journey Home (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Young Adult
  • Evils of racism, Family - blessing or curse, Importance of community
  • Available

Novel for young adults about a Japanese American family leaving the concentration camps and eventually returning to their home by prolific author Yoshiko Uchida, written as a sequel her 1971 book Journey to Topaz.

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Journey to Washington (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Self-reliance, Patriotism - positive side or complications, Empowerment
  • Limited availability

Ghostwritten autobiography by Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawai'i, authored with Lawrence Elliott and published in 1967. One of the first autobiographies by a Nisei, Journey to Washington was published as Inouye was finishing his first term as a U.S. Senator from Hawai'i and preparing to run for reelection. The book covers his life up to that time, beginning with his grandfather leaving Japan to come to America to pay off a debt and ending with his father visiting the White House to visit President John. F. Kennedy. A success story that established a template for many Nisei memoirs to come, the book reinforced the "model minority" narrative then current. Reader's Digest also excerpted the book in its February 1968 issue. The book includes three forewords, by President Lyndon Johnson, Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield.

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Kim/Kimi (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 6-8
  • Children's, Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Identity crisis, Quest for discovery
  • Widely available

Kim/Kimi (1987) by Hadley Irwin explores one teen's quest to discover herself by finding out about her father's past. Kimi Yogushi, who is more commonly known as Kim Anderson, has an Irish American mother. Kim's father Kenji, who had died before she was born, was Japanese American. Sixteen-year-old Kim happily lives with her family in an all-white community in Iowa but she begins to want to know more about the Japanese American part of her identity. Her mother finally tells Kim that Kenji had been disowned by his family for marrying outside his race.

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Looking Like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese-American Internment Camps (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir, Children's
  • Evils of racism, Facing darkness, Family – blessing or curse, Injustice, Loss of innocence, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Incarceration memoir of life at Pinedale Assembly Center, Tule Lake, and Minidoka, by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald, a seventeen-year-old Nisei at the time of her and her family's forced removal from their Washington state farm. First published in 2005 by NewSage Press, it was followed by a young reader's edition in 2010.

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Beyond Loyalty: The Story of a Kibei (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Memoir
  • Evils of racism, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Individual versus society, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy, Self – inner and outer
  • Widely available

Memoir of Kibei scholar Minoru Kiyota (1923–2013) that focuses on the difficult World War II years that saw him incarcerated in American concentration camps and eventually renouncing his U.S. citizenship. Originally published as a Japanese language autobiographical novel in 1990, it was translated and reworked into an English language memoir published in 1997 by the University of Hawai'i Press.

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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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Issei and Nisei: The Internment Years (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Displacement, Importance of community, Role of religion - value or hypocrisy
  • Available

Memoir of a young Issei Methodist clergyman based in Washington state during the trying years of World War II. Published in the fall of 1967, Daisuke Kitagawa's account was among the first book-length first-person accounts of the Japanese American incarceration.

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Dandelion Through the Crack/Kiyo's Story (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Evils of racism, Family – blessing or curse, Female roles, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Wisdom of experience
  • Widely available

Memoir by a Nisei woman of farm life in Sacramento, her family's wartime incarceration, and their struggles to reestablish their lives after the war.

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