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Browse > Theme > Facing darkness

25 articles

From Hawaii to the Holocaust: A Shared Moment in History (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Evils of racism, Facing darkness, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Documentary film on the men of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion and their encounter with Jewish victims of the Nazi death camps at the end of World War II. The 1993 film was a production of the Hawaii Holocaust Project.

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Hunt for the Bamboo Rat (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 6-8
  • Children's
  • Facing darkness, Forgiveness, Heroism – real and perceived, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Young adult novel by Graham Salisbury based on the wartime exploits of Richard Sakakida, a Nisei intelligence agent in the Counter Intelligence Corps who was captured by the Japanese in the Philippines.

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Mission in Manila: The Sakakida Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Facing darkness, Forgiveness, Heroism – real and perceived, Will to survive
  • Limited availability

Documentary film that tells the story of Richard Sakakida, a Nisei intelligence agent in the Philippines who is captured and tortured by the Japanese during World War II and who confronts—and forgives—his torturers after the war. The film is based almost entirely on an interview with Sakakida, augmented by narrator Jerry Kay, archival footage and family photographs, and illustrations by Roberta Twidwell. The 28-minute film was produced by the Military Intelligence Service and the National Japanese American Historical Society for the Military Intelligence Service Fellowship Program.

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My Friend Suki (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Facing darkness
  • Widely available

Short story by Vera Arvey about a Nisei woman whose wartime incarceration along with a run of familial tragedies lead to a breakdown and residence in a mental hospital. The narrator of the story begins by sending a Christmas present to Suki, but doesn't hear back for several weeks, when she gets a notice that Suki has been sent to a mental hospital. Through correspondence with various friends and her own recollections, she pieces together the story starting with Suki's Issei parents' immigration, the impact of exclusion and incarceration, the string of events leading to her current state, and Suki's most recent, hopeful, letter.

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Day of Remembrance (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Dangers of ignorance, Facing darkness, Hazards of passing judgment, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Limited availability

Documentary film by Cynthia Gates Fujikawa consisting of highlights from 2003 Day of Remembrance (DoR) commemorations in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Honolulu, all of which highlight the parallels between what happened to Japanese Americans in 1942 and what was then happening to Arab and Muslim Americans in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The film also includes brief interviews with some of the event organizers and excerpts from press conferences organized in reaction to remarks defending the roundup and imprisonment of Japanese Americans by North Carolina Congressman Howard Coble two weeks prior to the DoRs. Highlighted speakers include Hakim Oaunsafi, Muslim Association of Hawai'i; Nadine Hamoui, whose family in the Seattle area were imprisoned by the INS in 2002; Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council; legal scholar Chris Iijima; Congressman Mike Honda; and civil rights attorney Dale Minami. Day of Remembrance is ...

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Garden of Stones (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Role of women, Motherhood, Temporary nature of physical beauty, Power of the past, Facing darkness
  • Widely available

Popular novel by Sophie Littlefield centering on three generations of Japanese American women whose lives are dramatically shaped by the wartime incarceration of the elder two at Manzanar.

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Nisei Stories of Wartime Japan (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Displacement, Facing darkness, Nationalism – complications, Self-preservation
  • Widely available

Documentary film by Mary McDonald and Thomas McDonald Mazawa that tells the story of Nisei who were trapped in Japan during World War II based on interviews with ten such Nisei.

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Right from Wrong: Learning the Lessons of Honouliuli (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Facing darkness, Rights - individual or societal
  • Limited availability

Wayside exhibition produced by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i (JCCH) that debuted in 2011. The sixteen panel exhibition focuses on the Honouliuli detention camp and JCCH's efforts to preserve the site and tell the story of Hawai'i's World War II Japanese American internees. Funding for the exhibition came from a grant from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program and from the Island Insurance Foundation. JCCH contracted Mo'ili'ili Blind Fish Tank (MBFT) Media to produce the exhibition. Arnold Hiura wrote the exhibition script and Stephen Doi designed and built it.

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Summer of the Big Bachi (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction, Mystery
  • Facing darkness, Greed as downfall, Power of silence, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Mystery novel by Naomi Hirahara that was the first to feature her Kibei hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor) gardener protagonist Mas Arai.

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Family Torn Apart: The Internment Story of the Otokichi Muin Ozaki Family (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Facing darkness, Immigrant experience, Injustice, Power of words
  • Widely available

Family Torn Apart is the story of the wartime experiences of Otokichi Muin Ozaki, an Issei who was a Japanese language school teacher, tanka poet, and a leader within the Japanese community in Hilo, Hawai'i. While most incarceration accounts focus on the mainland experience of the English-speaking Nisei who comprised nearly two-thirds of the incarcerated population, Ozaki's story provides insight into the incarceration experience of Hawai'i island Japanese, many of whom authorities detained at mainland incarceration sites. While this book includes radio scripts of Ozaki's incarceration experience and his own accounts of camp news, it is also comprised of letters that family and friends wrote responding to his correspondence. The variety and frequency of these letters and other sources provide intimate details of Ozaki's incarceration that lasted nearly four years. This story highlights the uniqueness of the Hawai'i experience from the perspective of an Issei observer and the impact of ...

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The Invisible Thread (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Memoir, Children's
  • Immigrant experience, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Expression through art, Facing darkness, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Memoir for young adult readers by the acclaimed children's book author that covers her charmed childhood in Berkeley, California, and her wartime incarceration during World War II.

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Seki-nin (Duty Bound) (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Convention and rebellion, Displacement, Facing darkness, Family – blessing or curse, Power of tradition
  • Available

Novel by George Nakagawa about a Nisei stranded in Japan during World War II.

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What the Scarecrow Said (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Importance of community
  • Facing darkness, Importance of community, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Novel set in the last months of World War II whose protagonist is a middle-aged Nisei widower who resettles in a small New England town.

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Letters to Eve (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Expression through art, Facing darkness, Love and sacrifice, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • No availability

Musical play that juxtaposes the experiences of a Japanese American family in Manzanar with that of an African American musician and his Jewish girlfriend held in captivity in a Nazi prison camp.

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The Loom (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Facing darkness, Loneliness as destructive force, Motherhood, Power of silence
  • Widely available

Short story by R. A. Sasaki that portrays the life of a Nisei woman looking both backwards and forwards after the death of one of her daughters. Born and raised in San Francisco where her family ran a boarding house, the unnamed woman graduated from the University of California before being incarcerated with her family in Tanforan and Topaz during World War II. Returning to San Francisco after the war having married a Kibei man she had known from before the war, she has four daughters while her husband works in the flower industry. Devoted to her daughters, she is at a loss as they leave the house to pursue their own lives and after one dies in a mountain climbing accident. Her daughters' efforts to bring her out of her torpor are largely unsuccessful until one gives her a loom, through which she is able to express the feelings ...

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Allegiance (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction, Mystery
  • Emptiness of attaining a false dream, Facing darkness, Injustice, Loss of innocence, Power and corruption
  • Widely available

Historical mystery novel by Kermit Roosevelt set during World War II against the backdrop of the Supreme Court and the Japanese American cases.

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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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One with the Angels (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Death – inevitable or tragedy, Facing darkness, Loss of innocence, Power of the past
  • Limited availability

Short story by Yachiyo Uehara about a young woman's death shortly after leaving the concentration camps. The story begins in the present when Saye sees an editorial cartoon in a Japanese American newspaper that laments the fact that the $20,000 reparations payments advocated by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) would be too late for many former inmates. She then recalls her younger sister Yoko's story and how even a fraction of that money might have changed its course. Imprisoned in Heart Mountain with her family, Yoko leaves for New York City in 1944 and soon finds a good job and a nice apartment. The widowed Saye and her young son soon join Yoko and have a joyous reunion and initially enjoy their new life. But a demanding job and active social life—including an ill-fated lover affair—drain Yoko, and she is soon diagnosed with tuberculosis, which ...

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The Cat Who Chose to Dream (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Facing darkness, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Children's picture book about a cat who accompanies his Japanese American family to an American concentration camp during World War II.

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Security, Civil Liberties, and Terrorism (curricula)

  • 11th grade+
  • Chaos and order, Individual versus society, Rights - individual or societal, Facing darkness

Since the September 11, 2001, attacks on The World Trade Center and Pentagon, terrorism has emerged as one of the most prominent security concerns for the United States. Multiple sectors of society—military, judicial, public health, diplomatic and so on—have been impacted in the effort to address the threats of terrorism. The Security, Civil Liberties, and Terrorism curriculum prompts students to examine the complex issues surrounding terrorism including how to define it, how to analyze it, and how a liberal democratic government can react to it while realizing the consequences and tradeoffs involved.

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Eyewitness: Stan Honda: Reflections of a Photojournalist (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, Biography
  • Expression through art, Facing darkness
  • Widely available

Short documentary film about photojournalist Stan Honda, who gained fame for the photographs he took of the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

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Imprisoned Apart: The World War II Correspondence of an Issei Couple (book)

  • Books
  • Non Fiction
  • Displacement, Facing darkness, Facing reality, Immigrant experience, Isolation, Will to survive
  • Available

An intimate history of one Issei couple's experience of World War II, including transcriptions of the letters they sent each other when they were incarcerated apart.

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A Letter (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Facing darkness, Isolation, Power of words
  • Limited availability

Short story by Sasabune Sasaki about a group of Issei internees at an unspecified internment camp in the first days of their detention. Though the men write letters to their families, few have received any letters in return, due to, they believe, delays caused by censorship of the letters and their being moved from camp to camp. One day, the narrator sees a letter in its envelope tacked on a bulletin board at the camp post office and copies it down. It is an anonymously authored letter by a Nisei in English that expresses concern and support for the internees. When the narrator reads it to a group of internees, they are greatly moved.

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Slant-Eyed Americans (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Facing darkness, Losing hope
  • Available

Short story by Toshio Mori set in the days after the Pearl Harbor attack. A young Nisei man's plans to take his mother to town that day are dashed by the outbreak of war. The next day, business at the flower market is slow, and the Japanese American merchants wonder about their future. Tom, a Nisei gardener friend, doesn't report to work out of despair over the war; the narrator and his family cheer him up. Later, the narrator's brother Kazuo, who is in the army, arrives home for a five-day furlough. At the end of his visit, the family sees him off, pondering the uncertainty of what is to come.

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Tokyo Rose: Victim of Propaganda (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Facing darkness, Individual versus society
  • Available

Television documentary for A&E network's "Biography" series that sympathetically tells the story of Iva Toguri d'Aquino and the myth of "Tokyo Rose."

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