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Browse > Theme > Importance of community

58 articles

A Jive Bomber's Christmas (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Musical
  • Importance of community, Optimism - power or folly
  • Widely available

Musical play set in a World War II concentration camp by Saachiko and Dom Magwili. First produced for the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in 1994, A Jive Bomber's Christmas became a holiday tradition in Los Angeles, enjoying a nine-year run and subsequent revivals in Los Angeles and in Hawai'i. The play was based in part on Saachiko Magwili's childhood memories of Heart Mountain and shares a structural similarity with Dom Magwili's earlier Christmas in Camp, first produced at East West Players in 1981.

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Journey Home (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Young Adult
  • Evils of racism, Family - blessing or curse, Importance of community
  • Available

Novel for young adults about a Japanese American family leaving the concentration camps and eventually returning to their home by prolific author Yoshiko Uchida, written as a sequel her 1971 book Journey to Topaz.

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Nebraska's Nisei (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Importance of community
  • Available

Documentary film produced by the University of Nebraska that tells the story of three Nisei from Heart Mountain who left camp to attend the University of Nebraska through the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council during World War II. The three are Pat Sano, Marie Yamashita Snell, and Tom Shiokari. The story is told through interviews, historical photographs, and unidentified home movie type footage of Heart Mountain. No credits are listed for the production of the film. A nine minute version is available on the University of Nebraska's YouTube channel.

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Nurse of Manzanar: A Japanese American's World War II Journey

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Non Fiction, Memoir
  • Displacement, Facing reality, Importance of community, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Role of women
  • Available

Edited diary of Toshiko Eto Nakamura (1910–94), a nurse who volunteered to work at the hospital in Manzanar during World War II.

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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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Ralph Story's Los Angeles: Little Tokyo (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Importance of community, Optimism – power or folly, Self-reliance, Social mobility
  • No availability

Episode of the popular 1960s weekly television show featuring the Little Tokyo area of Los Angeles. Filmed largely in Little Tokyo, the program covers both the history of the neighborhood and its then current status and includes a discussion of the wartime incarceration of its population.

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Right of Passage (film)

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

Documentary film by Janice D. Tanaka that chronicles the convoluted twenty-year history of the Redress Movement.

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The Bracelet (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Growing up – pain or pleasure, Importance of community, Self-awareness, Will to survive
  • Widely available

A children's picture book by Nisei author Yoshiko Uchida, with illustrations by Joanne Yardley, originally published in 1993. The Bracelet is a story derived from the author's own childhood experiences in an American concentration camp during World War II. The book opens as seven-year-old Emi, her mother and sister prepare to leave their home in Berkeley, California, for Tanforan, a racetrack that has been converted into a temporary camp for Japanese Americans. Emi's best friend, Laurie Madison, brings her a gold bracelet as a farewell gift, and as a reminder of the value of their friendship. Emi vows that she will never take it off, but as she helps clean out the filthy horse stable that will serve has her family's "apartment," the gold chain slips off her wrist and is lost. At first, she is desolate, but Emi eventually realizes that she does not need the bracelet to remember ...

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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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Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Convention and rebellion, Evils of racism, Empowerment, Importance of community, Working class struggles
  • Available

Documentary film profiling Nisei political activist Yuri Kochiyama co-produced and co-directed by Patricia Saunders and Rea Tajiri.

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Nurse of Manzanar: A Japanese American's World War II Journey (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Non Fiction, Memoir
  • Displacement, Facing reality, Importance of community, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Role of women
  • Available

Edited diary of Toshiko Eto Nakamura (1910–94), a nurse who volunteered to work at the hospital in Manzanar during World War II.

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A Session at Tak's Place (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Adult
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Companionship as salvation, Importance of community, Optimism – power or folly
  • Widely available

Short story by Manzen (Tom Arima) about four old Nisei men discussing the future of the Japanese American community and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). Tak, a 65-year-old retiree, wakes up one morning with an uneasy feeling after a late night JACL meeting the previous evening. His close friend Nobe, a JACL lifer, drops by to talk about the meeting, and they are soon joined by two more friends, Joe and Mits. The four talk about the role they and the JACL should take in the implementation of the recently passed Civil Liberties Act of 1988, what to make of a recent JACL resolution to investigate the organization's actions regarding the so-called "No-No Boys," and the role of the JACL. After a spirited discussion, Tak feels much better and is grateful for the men's friendship.

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Crossroads: Boyle Heights (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Importance of community, Immigrant experience, Working class struggles, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Widely available

A documentary film compiled from life histories of past and present residents of Boyle Heights, a working-class neighborhood east of downtown Los Angeles. From the 1920s-1950s, Boyle Heights was a racially and ethnically diverse home to immigrants from Mexico, Japan, England, Germany, Russia and Armenia as well as people from the east, the south and the southwest portions of the United States who lived, worked and worshiped in the area. The film also explores how the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans and their postwar return affected businesses and friendships. While many Japanese Americans faced hostility in other parts of Los Angeles, residents of Boyle Heights share stories of a deeper empathy with the plight of those incarcerated. Crossroads: Boyle Heights was originally produced to accompany the exhibition Boyle Heights: The Power of Place (2002) at the Japanese American National Museum.

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Crossroads in Nihonmachi (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Displacement, Importance of community, Rebirth
  • Limited availability

A 2006 documentary film by Adrianne Anderson and Tony Sondag about the redevelopment struggle in San Francisco's Japantown. As in other cities on the West Coast, plans for urban renewal disproportionately affected ethnic minorities including Japanese Americans, destroying or diminishing historical Japantowns after World War II. The film traces the history of San Francisco's Nihonmachi, focusing on the eviction of Japanese American residents of San Francisco's Nihonmachi starting in the 1960s—drawing parallels with the 1942 eviction of Japanese Americans under Executive Order 9066—and 1970s efforts by community members to halt evictions and preserve and reclaim the community and its history. The film covers the 100th anniversary celebration of the community in 2006, while also noting the continuing threats it faces.

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Dear Miss Breed: Letters from Camp (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Importance of community, Power of words
  • Available

Exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) based on the letters sent to librarian Clara Breed by Japanese American students forcibly removed to concentration camps. Dear Miss Breed opened in JANM's Legacy Center gallery on January 14, 1997, and closed on April 13, 1997. A short film of the same name was also featured in the exhibition. Though it did not travel subsequently, an online version of the exhibition was created and is available at the JANM website.

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Emi (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past, Injustice, Importance of community
  • Limited availability

Documentary film about a Nisei woman returning to Manzanar and to her prewar community on Bainbridge Island, Washington, for the first time some thirty-five years after being forcibly removed.

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The Merced Assembly Center: Injustice Immortalized (film)

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

Documentary film on Japanese Americans from Central California who were incarcerated at the Merced Assembly Center and the effort nearly sixty years later to build a memorial at the site. Produced by the Merced Assembly Center Commemorative Committee, the film was funded in large part by a grant from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program.

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Our American Family: The Furutas (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Injustice, Importance of community
  • Available

Episode of the television series Our American Family that focuses on a Japanese American family from Southern California. The episode premiered in February 2015.

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A Place Where Sunflowers Grow (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Darkness and light, Empowerment, Expression through art, Importance of community, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Children's picture book by Amy Lee-Tai and illustrated by Felicia Hoshino about Mari, a young Japanese American girl in Topaz, an American concentration camp during World War II. As the book begins, she plants sunflower seeds in the desert soil, hoping they will grow like the sunflowers in their old backyard. She recalls their prewar home, where she lived with her older brother and artist parents. At Topaz, she goes with her father to the art school he started. Initially unable to draw anything in the children's class, she slowly starts to find things to draw with the help of a supportive teacher, her father, and her new friend Aiko. After drawing a picture of her barrack with the sunflowers growing tall in front, she returns home to find little sunflower seedlings, giving her hope for the future. A final page provides biographies of the author and illustrator and some ...

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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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A Time Remembered: The Terminal Island Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past, Importance of community, Immigrant experience, Injustice
  • Limited availability

Documentary film on the Japanese American community on Terminal Island, a fishing village of the Southern California coast that was the first such community to excluded en masse in February 1942.

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We the People: A Story of Internment in America (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Evils of racism, Importance of community, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Role of women
  • Available

Memoir of Florin, California-based Nisei educator and activist Mary Tsukamoto co-authored by Elizabeth Pinkerton and published in 1987 when Tsukamoto was seventy-two. Though the book covers her entire life, well over half of it focuses on her and her family's wartime confinement, their resettlement in the Midwest, and eventual return to California.

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A Girl Like You (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Evils of racism, Family – blessing or curse, Importance of community, Motherhood, Quest for discovery, Role of women
  • Available

Coming-of-age novel by Maureen Lindley that takes place largely in Manzanar and whose protagonist is a mixed-race Sansei girl.

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39 Months at Tule Lake (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Empowerment, Importance of community, Injustice
  • Available

The diary of a white staff member at Tule Lake offers his take on the tumultuous events there after it was made a segregation center.

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Doka B-100 (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Character – destruction, building up, Family – blessing or curse, Importance of community, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Short story by Ernest Nagamatsu on the difficult adjustment to civilian life of a group of World War II veterans. Written in the first person voice of an ex-GI named Hamamoto in 1954, "Doka B-100" coveys both Hamamoto's alienation and the welcoming embrace of Little Tokyo Los Angeles. Estranged from his domineering father because of the way he left the service (despite serving heroically in the 442nd, he quit before his time was up) and his choice of social work as an occupation, Hamamoto's wife had decided to go back to her family in Chicago with their daughter to get away from the arguments. Finding a small apartment in Little Tokyo and a part time job in a diner, he finds a niche in starting to counsel the veterans who would gather in a Little Tokyo pool hall. That work eventually leads to a paying job with the Veterans Administration. ...

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