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Browse > Point-of-View > Japanese American incarcerees

12 articles

An American Story: World War II Stories of the Tragedy and Triumph of Our Japanese-American Community During Wartime (film)

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

Video on the World War II odyssey of Japanese Americans from the Watsonville area based on interviews with survivors of that time. The video was part of a larger project that also included a curriculum guide/lesson plan kit for teachers and an interactive video kiosk available for display by community organizations. The project was sponsored by the Watsonville Public Library and Watsonville-Santa Cruz chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and funded by a $14,000 grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program. The film's premiere screening took place on August 27, 2011.[1]

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Forced Out: Internment and the Enduring Damage to California Cities and Towns (film)

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

A 2003 documentary film that explores the subject of the Japanese American forced removal and mass incarceration during World War II and its economic impact on California's Japantowns through the stories of merchants and community institutions. Among the stories highlighted are Honnami Taedo, a ceramics shop in San Francisco Japantown; the Rafu Shimpo newspaper, Fugetsudo sweet shop, and the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo; a San Francisco-based quilt project by Japanese American women that documents the wartime events; and the Asahi Market in Oxnard, which was run for the Japanese American proprietors by a Mexican American family during the war.

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California's Gold with Huell Howser: Manzanar (film)

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

Episode 4012 of the California public television series features a visit to the Manzanar site with a group of former inmates. Host Huell Howser interviews activist Sue Kunitomi Embrey, who provides some background on Manzanar's history and points out the administration and inmate areas. Archie Miyatake talks about the photographs his father Toyo Miyatake took at Manzanar and displays the camera Toyo had made at Manzanar with a lens he had smuggled into the camp. The rest of the episode focuses on names carved into cement by inmate laborers, with three such laborers—Goro Kurihara, Jiro Matsuyama, and Gimp Izumi—brought back to the camp to see their handiwork for the first time in nearly sixty years.

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Discoveries... America National Parks: Japanese American Incarceration, 1942-1945 (film)

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

Installment of the popular video series America National Parks produced by Bennett-Watt HD Productions that provides an overview of the Japanese American wartime incarceration and looks at contemporary efforts by the National Park Service and state and local organizations to preserve the former camp sites. In his review in Video Librarian, T. Keogh wrote, "Full of personal testimonies, this eye-opening travelogue is highly recommended."[1]

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Encounter with the Past: American Japanese Internment in World War II (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice
  • No availability

A 1980 documentary film on the history of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans at Manzanar, produced and directed by Tak Shindo, a Nisei musician and composer, best known for his albums from the jazz exotica music era and television soundtrack work. The film is built around color footage of the camp taken by Aksel Nielson, the director of recreation at Manzanar. Narrated by Shindo, the film includes his own experiences at Manzanar, military service, and subsequent musical career. Though he had passed away prior to the making of the film, Nielson's voice can be heard describing scenes of sporting events and gardens at Manzanar, and his wife, Melva Nielson, a music teacher at Manzanar, is interviewed at length on camera. Among those appearing in the film are Military Intelligence Service veteran Yukio Tamura, artist Estelle Ishigo, photographer Toyo Miyatake, nursery owner Shinobu Mashiko, Tamotsu Tsuchida, and actor ...

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Heart Mountain: Three Years in an Internment Camp (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Will to survive
  • Available

A short documentary film from 1997 that documents the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans at the American concentration camp in Heart Mountain, Wyoming. The film also documents daily life for the Japanese American incarcerees, who endured living in rough barracks, surrounded by barbed wire in sub-zero temperatures and dust storms, as well as the political and personal conflicts that arose with the government-issued "loyalty questionnaire" and draft resistance. In addition to interviews with former inmates and local residents, the film uses previously unseen footage from the camp. The film was produced by KCSM, a San Mateo, California, public television station as part of The New Americans series and was directed by Dianne Fukami, with David Hosley serving as executive producer. It was originally titled Heart Mountain: Three Years in a Relocation Center. Funders for the documentary included the Chevron Corporation, the Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation, and ...

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California's Gold with Huell Howser: Songbird of Manzanar (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Reunion, Expression through art
  • Available

Episode 7003 of the long running California public television television series, California's Gold with Huell Howser. Filmed at the 2004 Manzanar Pilgrimage, this episode profiles two Nisei artists, painter Henry Fukuhara and singer Mary Nomura. Fukuhara is introduced by colleague Al Setton, and two of his paintings from the collection of the Japanese American National Museum are also highlighted. Fukuhara, who was just short of his ninety-first birthday at the time, is interviewed and is shown working on a painting. Nomura, the "Songbird of Manzanar," is interviewed about her singing exploits at Manzanar and is shown performing "The Manzanar Song" at the grand opening of the Manzanar Visitors Center.

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Something Strong Within (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Displacement, Will to survive
  • Available

Documentary film by pioneering director Robert A. Nakamura crafted out of amateur home movie footage shot in American concentration camps. Nakamura and producer/writer Karen L. Ishizuka produced Something Strong Within for the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) as a companion piece to the exhibition America's Concentration Camps, curated by Ishizuka, which opened on November 11, 1994.

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Camp Amache: The Story of an American Tragedy (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Will to survive
  • Available

A 2006 documentary film by Don Dexter about the American concentration camp located in southwest Colorado, where more than 7,000 Japanese Americans were held during World War II. Amache was one of ten camps established in 1942 to incarcerate over 120,000 Japanese Americans who were forced from their West Coast homes. The film mixes interviews and personal stories with historic and contemporary photos and footage of the camp and surrounding area. Some of the featured stories include journalist Bill Hosokawa, author Gil Asakawa, and John Hopper, a teacher at Granada High School, who has incorporated the story of Amache into his curriculum and started the Amache Preservation Society with his students.

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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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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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