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Browse > Theme > Heroism – real and perceived

27 articles

Burma Rifles: A Story of Merrill's Marauders (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Historical Fiction, Children's
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice, Vulnerability of the strong, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Limited availability

Book for young readers by Frank Bonham centering on a Nisei intelligence soldier in Burma during World War II. Published in 1960, it is among the first children's books to depict the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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Fred Korematsu Speaks Up (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Children's, History
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Widely available

Book for middle school audiences on Fred Korematsu, who challenged the forced removal of Japanese Americans during World War II.

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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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An American Hero: Shiro Kashino (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, Animation
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Widely available

Short documentary film that uses animation and archival footage to tell the story of Shiro Kashino, a Nisei from Seattle who becomes a war hero as a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, but who loses his rank for his role in a fight in France.

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Looking Like the Enemy (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Evils of racism, Role of men, Heroism – real and perceived
  • Widely available

Documentary film on the unique experiences of Japanese American soldiers in Asian wars: World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The 52-minute film was made by Karen L. Ishizuka and Robert A. Nakamura in conjunction with the exhibition Fighting for Tomorrow: Japanese Americans in America's Wars at the Japanese American National Museum and screened in the exhibition gallery.

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Valor with Honor (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, War
  • War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Heroism – real and perceived, Evils of racism
  • Available

Documentary film by Burt Takeuchi that tells the story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Eschewing a narrator, the film is built around the thirty-five interviews with veterans Takeuchi conducted and also includes brief reenactments of battle scenes that were shot at Sequoia Paintball Park in Santa Cruz, California. Valor With Honor tells the story in largely chronological fashion, starting with prewar life, the impact of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the roundup of Japanese Americans on the West Coast before getting to induction and basic training, combat in Italy, the rescue of the Lost Battalion, the liberation of Dachau sub camps, and the return to postwar society. Much of the running time focuses on the Rescue of the Lost Battalion and includes interviews with members of the 141st, the men who were rescued. The 86-minute film was completed in 2010 and has been screened widely across the country ...

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Woman With a Blue Pencil (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Mystery, Historical Fiction
  • Character – destruction, building up, Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Disillusionment and dreams, Evils of racism, Heroism – real and perceived, Manipulation
  • Widely available

Novel about a pulp mystery novel written by a young Nisei as World War II breaks out, his interactions with a sometimes overzealous editor, and his protest in the form of an unpublished manuscript centering on the Nisei private detective he was forced to remove from the novel.

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No-No Boy (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Convention and rebellion, Family – blessing or curse, Heroism – real and perceived, Individual versus society, Role of men
  • No availability

2010 play by Ken Narasaki based on John Okada's classic 1957 novel. While the play largely followed the plot of the novel, the decision to change the ending to a "happy" one proved controversial.

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Act of Faith: The Rev. Emery Andrews Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Circle of life, Family – blessing or curse, Heroism – real and perceived, Love and sacrifice
  • Widely available

Documentary film on Rev. Emery Andrews, a Baptist priest who went beyond the call of duty to aid Japanese Americans from Seattle incarcerated at the Minidoka, Idaho, concentration camp.

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A Tradition of Honor (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Role of men, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Feature length documentary telling the stories of Japanese American soldiers in the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Military Intelligence Service, produced in 2002 by the Go For Broke National Education Foundation.

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Kash: The Legend and Legacy of Shiro Kashino (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Available

Feature length documentary film by Vince Matsudaira that tells the story of Shiro "Kash" Kashino (1922–97), a decorated combat veteran of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, whose legacy had been tarnished by a court-martial stemming from a fight while in France.

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Lucky Ears: The True Story of Ben Kuroki, World War II Hero (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Biography
  • Patriotism – positive side or complications, Role of men, Heroism – real and perceived, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Biography of Nisei war hero Ben Kuroki, written for a fourth grade audience.

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No-No Boy (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Convention and rebellion, Family – blessing or curse, Heroism – real and perceived, Individual versus society, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Widely available

In 1956, Nisei writer John Okada wrote No-No Boy, a novel that explored the predicament of a Japanese American World War II conscientious objector, having served time in prison for refusing to serve in the military, who returns home only to face the consequences of his decision. Upon arriving in his former neighborhood, he is met with hostility and despair. He discovers that his mother delusionally believes that Japan has won the war, and his younger brother—ashamed of Ichiro's decision to refuse the draft—abruptly quits high school to join the army himself. In the course of the novel, Ichiro's inner conflict grows to reflect the racial tension and residual anguish following the war and his individual guilt represents the conflict of the country at large.

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Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Convention and rebellion, Heroism – real and perceived, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Available

Feature length documentary film that traces the basketball exploits of Wat Misaka, a Nisei from Utah who starred on two college basketball national championship teams and played briefly for the New York Knicks in the 1940s.

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The Untold Story of Ralph Carr and the Japanese: The Fate of 3 Japanese-Americans and the Internment (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Individual versus society, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Available

Japanese-produced documentary film on Colorado Governor Ralph Carr and his embrace of Japanese Americans during World War II, along with the experiences of three Japanese Americans affected in different ways by his stance.

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My Friends Behind Barbed Wire (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Individual versus society
  • Widely available

Short film that tells the story of the Rev. Emery Andrews, pastor of the Japanese Baptist Church in Seattle, and his family and their support of Japanese Americans during their World War II ordeal. The story is largely told through an interview with Brooks Andrews, Emery's son, and through historical photographs, including images from the Andrews family. Brooks provides an overview of the forced removal and incarceration and his childhood recollections of his Nisei friends being taken away. He also recounts the Andrews' family's move to Twin Falls, Idaho, so as to continue to serve the congregation that had been incarcerated at the nearby Minidoka concentration camp and the discrimination they faced from the local community. He also cites parallels to the contemporary treatment of Muslim Americans.

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Blood Hina (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction, Mystery
  • Family – blessing or curse, Hazards of passing judgment, Heroism – real and perceived, Love and sacrifice
  • Widely available

The fourth book in the Mas Arai Mysteries series by Naomi Hirahara finds the Kibei gardener coming to the aid of his best friend, Haruo Mukai, whose impending wedding is interrupted by accusations of theft and by his sudden disappearance.

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Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice
  • Widely available

Book for young adult readers by Joanne Oppenheim that tells the story of the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans through the wartime correspondence between a San Diego librarian and the incarcerated young people whom she had befriended at the library.

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The Hawai'i Nisei Story (website)

  • Websites
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Virtual Exhibit
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Role of men, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Website developed in the mid-2000s by the University of Hawai'i built around oral histories of Nisei veterans from Hawai'i.

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MIS: Human Secret Weapon (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Role of men, Vulnerability of the strong, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Feature length documentary film on the history of Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during World War II. Written and directed by Japanese filmmaker Junichiro Suzuki, MIS: Human Secret Weapon is the third film in Suzuki's trilogy of documentaries on Japanese Americans during World War II.

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Okage Sama De (I Am What I Am Because of You) (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Vulnerability of the strong, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Filmed version of storyteller Alton Takiyama-Chung performing a one-person show mostly centering on the stories of Japanese American soldiers during World War II.

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Two Homelands (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Death – inevitable or tragedy, Emptiness of attaining a false dream, Evils of racism, Family – blessing or curse, Heroism – real and perceived, Individual versus society, Nationalism – complications, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Vulnerability of the strong
  • Widely available

Epic three volume novel by best-selling Japanese novelist Toyoko Yamasaki that centers on the identity dilemmas of a Kibei man during and immediately after World War II. Published in Japan in 1983, it was adapted into a popular Japanese television drama the following year. Alarmed by reports that the novel/TV show portrayed Japanese Americans as having split loyalties, Japanese American leaders succeeded in preventing the TV drama from being shown in the continental U.S. In 2007, the University of Hawai'i Press published an English language translation by V. Dixon Morris under the title Two Homelands.

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Bridge of Scarlet Leaves (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Romance, Historical Fiction
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Everlasting love, Family – blessing or curse, Heroism – real and perceived, Love and sacrifice
  • Widely available

Novel by Kristina McMorris that centers on an interracial romance between a white woman and a Nisei man during World War II.

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Fred Korematsu: All American Hero (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8
  • Comics
  • Convention and rebellion, Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Comic book by two University of California at Davis law professors that tells the story of exclusion challenger Fred Korematsu through the eyes of a young Muslim American girl in post-9/11 America.

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