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Browse > Theme > Desire to escape

18 articles

The Broken Lines of Age (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Desire to escape, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Short story by Jimmy Tokeshi about an Issei grandfather who takes his nineteen-year-old granddaughter on an impromptu pilgrimage to Manzanar on Christmas Eve decades after his wartime incarceration there.

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Time of Decay (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Desire to escape, Family—blessing or curse, Loneliness as destructive force, Losing hope
  • Widely available

Short story by Ferris Takahashi of an Issei woman whose family puts her in a cold nursing home against her will at the end of her life. Told from the perspective of the woman, she recalls her forced removal and incarceration in unspecified concentration camps and other episodes in her life.

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Pleasure of Plain Rice (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Desire to escape, Self-awareness, Working class struggles
  • Limited availability

Essay/story by Hisaye Yamamoto on racial identity that focuses on her month-long stint as a domestic in Springfield, Massachusetts, during World War II. She begins the piece by noting various white Americans she knows who have changed their ethnic-sounding last names to less ethnic sounding ones, noting the futility of her doing such a thing as a Japanese American, citing the mass incarceration during World War II. Anxious to leave Poston, where she and her family ended up, she and two of her younger brothers are allowed to leave for Massachusetts in the summer of 1944. While her fifteen-year-old brother Yuke is placed in a summer camp in the Berkshires, the War Relocation Authority office in Boston assigns her and her seventeen-year-old brother Jemo to become domestic servants for a wealthy widow in Springfield. Both initially dislike the stern and formal family and the job duties that had to be ...

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Tsuru (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Desire to escape, Evils of racism, Individual versus society, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Short dramatic film about an elderly Issei couple whose attempt to avoid the mass roundup of Japanese Americans during World War II is aided by a white nurse. Tsuru was a senior year project at Chapman University by Chris K. T. Bright.

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Manzanar Daze and Cold Nights (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Desire to escape, Importance of community, Reunion
  • Available

Posthumously published memoir by a Nisei man about his years at Manzanar during World War II.

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Alice and the Bear (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Companionship as salvation, Desire to escape, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Short story by Kiyoshi Parker about an old woman whose trip to a Little Tokyo store with her great-granddaughter brings back memories of her camp experience. Alice Miyamoto visits Little Tokyo in Los Angeles for the first time in thirty years with her family. After lunch, her daughter suggests they go visit the Go For Broke Monument. But on the way, her four-year-old great-granddaughter drags her into a store and picks up a stuffed Totoro toy. Alice is immediately reminded of a stuffed bear she had as a child of about the same age that was her constant companion when she was in an unspecified concentration camp.

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Dear Miye: Letters Home from Japan, 1939-1946 (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir, Historical nonfiction
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Desire to escape, Displacement, Family - blessing or curse, Female roles, Identity crisis, Immigrant experience, Isolation, Loss of innocence, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Self-preservation, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Will to survive
  • Available

A collection of letters written by a young Nisei woman in Japan who becomes stuck there during World War II to her best friend who is still in California.

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Manzanar Fishing Club (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Desire to escape
  • Available

Feature length documentary film on Manzanar inmates who temporarily escaped from the confines of the camp to fish in the nearby streams and mountains. In addition to interviews with former inmate fishermen (and women) and archival images, The Manzanar Fishing Club also tells its story using animation and recreated scenes with actors. The film had a limited theatrical release in April 2012 and was released on DVD on October 30, 2012. It was funded in part by grants from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program and the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant program.

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Rosebud (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Desire to escape, Names – power and significance, Role of women, Social mobility
  • Available

Short story by Wakako Yamauchi that traces the friendship and rivalry between the narrator and another Japanese American girl/woman from childhood in the 1930s through the incarceration period to old age. In the section that takes place at Poston, the narrator works for the Poston Chronicle while Marion is prohibited from working by her overprotective mother until she suffers a nervous breakdown. Later, Marion marries a prominent non-Japanese American economist and largely lives her life outside the ethnic community.

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The Travelers (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Desire to escape, Optimism – power or folly, Power of silence
  • Widely available

Short story by Toshio Mori centering on two groups of inmates as they leave Topaz. One group of nine are those leaving the camp permanently to "resettle" in areas outside the restricted area of the West Coast; the other group consists of those who are visiting town briefly to shop or to see off relatives before returning to the camp. Those leaving for good includes a soldier leaving for the battlefront and being seen off by his mother, as well as those leaving for jobs in cities such as New York and Chicago. As the resettlers exchange information about their destinations, the soldier is drawn to an attractive young woman heading to Chicago, but does not speak to her. After the train leaves, a white family offers a ride to town to the mother of the soldier. "The Travelers" originally appeared in the Topaz literary publication All Aboard in 1944 ...

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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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Snow Falling on Cedars (book)

  • Books
  • Historical fiction
  • Coming of age, Convention and rebellion, Desire to escape, Displacement, Facing reality, Family - blessing or curse, Fear of other, Immigrant experience, Importance of community, individual versus society, Power of the past
  • Available

A World War II veteran reporting for his small town newspaper covers the trial of a local Japanese American man charged with murder while he struggles with his complicated feelings for the defendant's wife, his first love.

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Little Women (A Multicultural Transposition) (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Coming of age, Desire to escape, Family – blessing or curse, Female roles, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • No availability

Play by Velina Hasu Houston that reimagines Louis May Alcott's 19th century novel Little Women, setting it in early postwar Los Angeles with four Japanese American sisters at its center.

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Arts and Crafts from the Camps: The Arkansas Camp Experience (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Beauty of simplicity, Desire to escape
  • Limited availability

Exhibition of art and craft objects created by Japanese American inmates at the Arkansas concentration camps. Curated by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Public History Program in 2004, the exhibition included objects from the collection of Rosalie Gould, a former mayor of McGehee, Arkansas, who had amassed a substantial private collection.[1] Arts and Crafts from the Camps was one of the eight exhibitions mounted in the Little Rock area that were part of the Life Interrupted project, a collaboration between the Japanese American National Museum and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

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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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Crafting History: Arts and Crafts from America's Concentration Camps (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art, Desire to escape
  • Limited availability

2002 exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM). Crafting History highlighted some 400 objects from JANM's collection made by Japanese Americans held in American concentration camps during World War II, ranging from a five foot tall Buddhist altar carved in Heart Mountain to bird pins, clothing and other textiles, and furniture. Curated by Kristine Kim, the exhibition opened on November 16, 2002. A full slate of public programs took place during the six-month run of the exhibition, including many crafting workshops. Craft items from the camps were also the subject of The Art of Gaman, a lavishly illustrated book published in 2005 and an exhibition that traveled around the country and in Japan starting in 2010.

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Crossings: 10 Views of America's Concentration Camps (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art, Desire to escape
  • No availability

2009 exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum featuring the work of ten artists, juxtaposing work created by Issei and Nisei artists in the concentration camps and works by contemporary artists that draw on that experience. The "crossings" in the title refers to the "crossing point between generations" that the exhibition strives to provide. Featured artists included Sesshu Foster, Masumi Hayashi, Hisako Hibi, Toyo Miyatake, Tadashi Nakamura, Benji Okubo, Mine Okubo, Shizu Saldamando, Renee Tajima-Peña, and Sadayuki Uno. Crossings opened on April 2, 2009.

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Sleeping on Potatoes: A Lumpy Adventure from Manzanar to the Corporate Tower (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Desire to escape, Displacement, Facing reality, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Social mobility
  • Limited availability

Memoir of a Nisei, from his early childhood as the son of a violent father and a loving mother, his experience incarcerated at Manzanar, his career as a successful physicist at Honeywell, and his years after retiring.

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