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Browse > Theme > Change versus tradition

18 articles

East of Occidental: The History of Seattle's Chinatown (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Change versus tradition, Rebirth
  • Widely available

Documentary film on Seattle's Chinatown/International District that outlines the history of the area and argues that pan-Asian Americanism makes it unique among American ethnic enclaves. The film includes the story of the mass removal of Japanese Americans from the area and their subsequent incarceration during World War II.

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From a Different Shore: An American Identity (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Change versus tradition, Importance of community, Power of the past, Reunion
  • Limited availability

Documentary film produced by Great Britain's The Open University that examines the Japanese American community by focusing on three families in Los Angeles.

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For the Sake of the Children (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documetary
  • Change versus tradition, Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Female roles, Power of silence
  • Limited availability

Documentary film on the impact of the World War II incarceration on the generation of Japanese Americans who grew up after the war. Filmmaker Marlene Shigekawa profiles several Japanese American families, interviewing both surviving Nisei and their children and grandchildren, exploring the questions of why the Nisei generally didn't tell their children about their wartime incarceration and the impact of that silence on the later generations. Much of the focus is on the varying experiences of mothers and daughters. The film uses both historical images and contemporary footage shot at Poston and other camps as well and contemporary camp pilgrimages.

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Mendez v. Westminster: For All the Children (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Limited availability

Children's picture book that tells in simplified form the story of the landmark Mendez case that ultimately ended segregated schools in California. The story is told through the perspective of Sylvia Mendez who is eight years old in 1943. Having rented the farm of Munemitsu family, who had been forcibly removed to concentration camps, they were new to Westminster, California. When she and her brothers are prohibited from attending the same school as her cousins (who can pass as "white") and must attend the inferior school for those of Mexican, African or Asian ancestry, her family decides to sue. With the help of lawyer David C. Marcus—and support from various organizations including the Japanese American Citizens League—the suit proves successful, ending segregation in the state. A brief epilogue notes the long-term impact of the case and the fate of Sylvia and others involved in it.

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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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Tallgrass (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Coming of age, Dangers of ignorance, Female roles, Loss of innocence
  • Widely available

Coming-of-age novel by Sandra Dallas set in rural Colorado during World War II when the life of adolescent girl is transformed by the arrival of Japanese Americans from the West Coast in a nearby concentration camp.

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Island Roots (film)

  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Change versus tradition, Rebirth
  • Widely available

Short documentary film on the Filipino American community on Bainbridge Island, Washington from the migration of the first immigrants in the late 1920s to the present day. Many came to Bainbridge to serve as farm laborers on strawberry farms run by Japanese Americans. During World War II, when Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from Bainbridge and the entire West Coast, many turned their farms over to their Filipino American farmhands to mange in their absence. As a result, many Japanese American farmers were able to return to intact farms after the war. Some Filipino Americans were able to use this as a jumping off point to owning their own farms after the war. The film concludes with the restoration of the Filipino American community hall on Bainbridge and the return of the Strawberry Festival that serve as the center of the community in the present.

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Biography Hawai'i: Koji Ariyoshi (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, Biography
  • Working class struggles, Change versus tradition, Convention and rebellion
  • Widely available

Documentary film that profiles journalist, labor leader, and former Manzanar inmate Koji Ariyoshi. Produced as part of the Biography Hawai'i series, it aired on public television stations in Hawai'i in May 2005.

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Looking After Minidoka: An American Memoir (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Change versus tradition, Coming of age, Displacement, Female roles, Growing up - pain or pleasure, Immigrant experience, Love and sacrifice, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Power of tradition, Will to survive
  • Available

A third-generation Japanese American shares the multi-generational story of both sides of his family, from immigration to the aftermath of Pearl Harbor and wartime incarceration, to resettlement and his own childhood.

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Picture Bride (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Historical fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Facing reality, Female roles, Immigrant experience, Importance of community, Will to survive
  • Available

The fictional account of a picture bride, from her arrival in the U.S. to the life she and her husband create for themselves with their daughter, to her experience of incarceration during World War II.

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Streams of Light: Shin Buddhism in America (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Adult
  • Documentary
  • Change versus tradition, Power of tradition, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • Widely available

Documentary film on shin Buddhism in the United States focuses on the Japanese American temples of the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) from 1898 to the present. The sixty-four minute film was directed by Brazil-based Buddhist priest Rev. Kentaro Sugao with the cooperation of the BCA and the Institute of Buddhist Studies.

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So Far from the Sea (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Change versus tradition, Death – inevitable or tragedy, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Injustice, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Children's picture book by Eve Bunting about a Japanese American family's pilgrimage to Manzanar in 1972.

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Valley of the Heart (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama, History
  • Change versus tradition, Everlasting love, Family – blessing or curse, Love and sacrifice, Patriotism – positive side or complications

Play by Luis Valdez centered on two farm families—one Japanese American and one Mexican American—in Cupertino, California, during World War II.

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A Stone Cried Out: The True Story of Simple Faith in Difficult Days

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Change versus tradition, Faith versus doubt, Forgiveness, Identity crisis, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice
  • Available

A Christian minister reflects on his life, including the difficult years he and his family spent in wartime concentration camps.

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A Brother Is a Stranger (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Change versus tradition, Desire to escape, Family – blessing or curse, Immigrant experience, Individual versus society, Nationalism – complications, Power of tradition
  • Available

Memoir of a young Japanese immigrant/refugee Christian about his upbringing and travails in Japan, his journey to the U.S. and his wartime internment, and his postwar observations in Japan. Published in 1946 by the John Day Company, it was among the first books by a Japanese American to appear after the war.

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Chikara!: A Sweeping Novel of Japan and America From 1907 to 1983 (book)

  • Books
  • Historical Fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Coming of age, Death - inevitable or tragedy, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Emptiness of attaining a false dream, Evils of racism, Facing reality, Family - blessing or curse, Forgiveness, Greed as downfall, Fate and free will, Heartbreak of betrayal, Heroism - real and perceived, Immigrant experience, Individual versus society, Inner versus outer strength, Lost honor, Lost love, Nationalism - complications, Patriotism - positive side or complications, Power of the past, Will to survive
  • Available

This work of historical fiction traces the tumultuous rise and fall of the Hoshi family, whose scion, Sataro, takes his wife Itoko and eldest son Noboru to California in 1907 to seek his fortune and restore his family's honor. He leaves his second son Hiroshi behind with family, a decision that marks the inauspicious first step of the tragic transpacific drama that unfolds over the course of the novel.

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Changes (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Change versus tradition, Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Lost honor, Role of men
  • Available

Short story by Marnie Mueller set in an unspecified Japanese American concentration camp. As the story begins, Toru Horokawa, an Issei man, sits outside his barrack thinking about returning to Japan. He flashes back to the time of the exclusion, two years prior, as he and his wife disagree about the selling of their possessions to bargain seekers. He then recalls his recent clashes with his Nisei son, his only child, who has announced that he will be joining the army.

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Kibei (book)

  • Books
  • Historical Fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Facing reality, Identity crisis
  • Available

The saga of a Kibei Nisei confronting prejudice and his own conflicted identity as his and his family’s lives are irreparably transformed by the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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