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Browse > Theme > Importance of community

58 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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Chrysanthemums and Salt (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Immigrant experience, Importance of community, Self-reliance
  • Available

Documentary film by Dianne Fukami on the Japanese American community in San Mateo, California, from its late 1800s origins to the outbreak of World War II. As hinted at by the film's title, Chrysanthemums and Salt largely focuses on two of the major industries that employed Japanese Americans before the war, growing and marketing chrysanthemums and salt companies that took advantage of the region's natural suitability for salt evaporation ponds. The film also covers Japanese American community life, the role of the churches and the outbreak of World War II and the reaction to the subsequent forced removal. Chrysanthemums and Salt is notable for including interviews with several Issei, conducted in Japanese with translated voiceovers. "Host" Jane Yanehiro narrates the film and also appears on camera.

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Chicago Goes to War, 1941-1945 (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Importance of community
  • No availability

1992–93 exhibition at the Chicago Historical Society on the impact of World War II on Chicago. Among the topics covered in the exhibition is the resettlement in the Chicago area of Japanese Americans from wartime concentration camps. It was one of several major local exhibitions that appeared around the 50th anniversary of World War II and that included aspects of the local Japanese American story.

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The Empty Chair (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Power of the past, Importance of community
  • Available

Feature length documentary film by Greg Chaney that recounts the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans from Juneau, Alaska, 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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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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Leap of Faith: How Enmanji Temple Was Saved (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Evils of racism, Importance of community, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • Available

Documentary short film by Lina Hoshino about a group of white Christian teenagers who guard a California Buddhist temple during World War II in an effort to deter vandalism.

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Memories of Place: Clarksburg's Japanese Language School (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Importance of community, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Short documentary film on the Holland Union Gakuen (Japanese language school) in Clarksburg, California.

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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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Uncle Yozo (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Importance of community, Optimism – power or folly
  • No availability

Comical story by Ted Tajima about an Issei man at an unspecified concentration camp who enlivens the first Christmas in camp by elaborately playing Santa. A regular contributor of stories to the Rafu Shimpo holiday edition, Tajima taught at Alhambra High for 35 years and led their acclaimed journalism program.

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The Sakai Family of Bainbridge Island (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Family – blessing or curse, Importance of community, Necessity of work, Reunion, Role of women
  • Limited availability

Documentary film on the Sakai family, longtime residents of Bainbridge Island, Washington, based primarily on an interview with Kazuko "Kay" Sakei Nakao.

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Reluctant Samurai: Memoirs of an Urban Planner (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Family – blessing or curse, Fulfillment, Importance of community, Progress – real or illusion
  • Limited availability

Memoir by a Nisei man that recounts his agricultural upbringing, his time in American concentration camps, and his postwar career as an urban planner who was a key figure in the redevelopment of downtown Los Angeles.

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21st Century Manzanar (book)

  • Books
  • Adult
  • Fiction
  • Evils of racism, Importance of community, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Will to survive
  • Available

Novel by Perry Miyake that imagines an early 21st century roundup of Japanese Americans and how Sansei and Yonsei would react to it.

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An Abandoned Pot of Rice (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Displacement, Immigrant experience, Importance of community, Progress – real or illusion
  • No availability

Short essay by Hisaye Yamamoto DeSoto about the Kumamoto-mura community near Oceanside, California, where her family lived just prior to World War II. The pleasant reminiscences of life there are tempered by recollections of the chaos after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the events leading up to the forced removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast. The title of the story comes from the narrator's recollection of making a pot of rice intending to make rice balls on the day of their forced departure, but forgetting about it, leaving the full pot behind. Years later, she returns to the site of the community, which subsequently became a large military base which for a time housed tens of thousands of Southeast Asian refugees. Noting the similarities with the concentration camps she and her family were in, she observes that this group was the third group of Asians to ...

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Birth of an Activist: The Sox Kitashima Story (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Death - inevitable or tragedy, Empowerment, Importance of community
  • Available

A renowned redress activist shares her life story, including how the humiliating experience of wartime incarceration helped shape her later involvement in political activism.

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Honoring Alameda's Japanese American History (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Importance of community, Immigrant experience, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • Limited availability

Conventional documentary on the history of the Japanese American community in Alameda, California, that is more or less equally divided between the prewar years and wartime incarceration/aftermath. Perhaps due to sponsorship by the Buddhist Temple of Alameda and the Buena Vista United Methodist Church, there is a focus on the history and activities of those two institutions throughout. While the first half is specifically on the Japanese American community in Alameda and is thus somewhat unique, the section on the wartime removal and incarceration is more general and thus repeats information that can be found elsewhere.

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Manzanar and Beyond (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Importance of community, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Available

Prominent Nisei attorney recounts his life, including his experiences as the administrator of the hospital at Manzanar concentration camp and his role in landmark legal battles advocating for redressing injustices experienced by Japanese Americans.

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Manzanar: Never Again (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Importance of community, Injustice, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Short film shot at a Manzanar Pilgrimage. Attendees—including former inmates and their descendants—talk about Manzanar, the aftermath of camp, and the evolution of the pilgrimages and the Manzanar National Historic Site as we see scenes of the pilgrimage and the preparations for it. The role of activist Sue Kunitomi Embrey is highlighted in reminiscences of those who knew her; her own words are read by an actress.

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A Piece of Cake (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Female roles, Importance of community, Role of women
  • Limited availability

Short story by Yachiyo Uehara that recalls friendships made while in a concentration camp. In the 1980s, a Nisei woman named Fumi is making a roast when she notices a story about a Heart Mountain reunion in the newspaper. The article triggers memories of her two years at Heart Mountain forty years prior, in particular her work as a waitress in the Block 17 mess hall. A city girl from San Francisco, she is at first treated as an outsider by fellow workers who mostly hailed from rural areas. But through her hard work and skill in the Japanese language, she wins them over, in particular the group's de facto leader, Mrs. Shirota. The story climaxes with a visit to the Shirotas' family barrack, where Mrs. Shirota has secured the rare treat of a manju (rice and sweet bean pastry) that the chefs had managed to concoct. Fumi is particularly ...

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"Wase Time!": A Teen's Memoir of Gila River Internment Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Family – blessing or curse, Importance of community, Role of men
  • Limited availability

First person memoir by Kenneth A. Tashiro of his and his family's forced removal and incarceration at the Gila River, Arizona, concentration camp. After a brief introduction that introduces Tashiro's family, the story begins on Pearl Harbor day when Kenneth—nicknamed "Iggy"—hears about the start of the war after exiting an Abbott and Costello movie. He and his family move from Los Angeles to Del Rey in an attempt to avoid incarceration, but they are eventually removed from Sanger to Gila in August of 1942. His father, Kenji Tashiro, is a journalist, who becomes the editor of the camp newspaper, before leaving to join the army at age 37. His mother, eight months pregnant at the time of the removal, stays behind for a time, rejoining the family later with the baby girl. Twelve when he entered the camp, Tashiro's perspective is purely that of an active teenager, so there is ...

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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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A Circle of Freedom: Lost and Restored (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Evils of racism, Importance of community
  • Limited availability

Exhibition at the History Museum of Hood River County on the Japanese American experience in Hood River, Oregon. Instigated by Museum Coordinator Connie Nice once she learned of the of the wartime incarceration of local Japanese Americans and the particularly virulent opposition to their postwar return, the exhibition has the support of the local community. The small exhibition included four sections: "Our Lives Before," "Our Lives Removed," " Our Lives in Camp," and "Our Lives in Service." Included in the exhibition are documents from the local American Legion chapter, which made national headlines in 1944 when it removed the names of Nisei soldiers from a local "roll of honor." The exhibition subsequently became a semi-permanent part of the museum.

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Caught in Between: What to Call Home in Times of War (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Fear of other, Hazards of passing judgment, Importance of community, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Available

Documentary film by Lina Hoshino that looks at parallels between Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Arab and Muslim Americans after 9/11 and at joint activism between the two groups in the months after 9/11.

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Comforting the Afflicted (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Importance of community, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • No availability

Moderated panel discussion led by Phil Shigekuni with four prominent Japanese American Protestant ministers with ties to Los Angeles who were incarcerated during World War II. Three—Rev. Paul Nagano, Rev. John Miyabe, and Bishop Roy Sano—were at the Poston, Arizona, concentration camp, while Rev. Sam Tonomura was a boy in British Columbia caught up in the forced removal of Japanese Canadians during the war. The discussion covers the men's experiences during the war and the role of the church during the incarceration, particularly with regard to issues of "loyalty" and resistance. The men talk about the role of the church in the Redress Movement, in bridging divides in the Japanese American community today, and in the anti-Muslim/Arab climate following the 9/11 attacks. The format of the film largely follows that of a "talking heads" type television program, with the insertion of still historical photographs.

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House of the Red Fish (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8
  • Historical Fiction, Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Empowerment, Good versus bad, Importance of community
  • Widely available

Young adult novel by Graham Salisbury about a Nisei teenager in wartime Honolulu who struggles to bring up the sunken fishing boat of his interned father. It is a sequel to the popular 1994 novel Under the Blood-Red Sun.

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