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Browse > Theme > Individual versus society

27 articles

Barbed Wire Baseball (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Empowerment, Individual versus society, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Children's picture book by Marissa Moss with illustrations by Yuko Shimizu that focuses on the true story of Kenichi Zenimura, an Issei baseball pioneer who builds a baseball field in the Gila River concentration camp.

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Korematsu v. United States: Japanese-American Internment Camps (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult, History
  • Convention and rebellion, Evils of racism, Individual versus society, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Available

Overview of the Korematsu Supreme Court case as part of Enslow Publishers' Landmark Supreme Court Cases series.

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Seed: The Life of the Rice King and His Kin (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Circle of life, Immigrant experience, Individual versus society, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Wisdom of experience
  • Widely available

Japanese produced documentary film on Issei rice farming pioneer Keisaburo Koda and the family business he founded in Dos Palos, California.

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When National Security Trumps Individual Rights (curricula)

  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Individual versus society, Injustice, Patriotism - positive side or complications, Power of the past, Rights - individual or societal, War - glory, necessity, pain tragedy
  • Widely available

This lesson prompts students to think about the balance of civil liberties and national security during times of national crisis by considering the Supreme Court case of Korematsu v. United States (1944). Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu fought against the mass removal of Japanese Americans during World War II by refusing to report to the Tanforan Assembly Center in 1942. He challenged his felony conviction on constitutional grounds, and the case was appealed to the Supreme Court where he lost in a 6-3 decision. In 1983, this conviction was vacated after information surfaced proving that the government had originally withheld critical evidence.

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Home in the West (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Evils of racism, Individual versus society, Injustice, Loss of innocence, Totalitarianism
  • Widely available

Short story recounting the return to California by Hirosho Yugi and his wife after their incarceration at Heart Mountain. His initial happiness is dulled when a group of neighbors try to force him out, first by burning down a shed and throwing rocks through windows, then by the burning down of their house. The day after their house is torched, they receive a telegram informing them of the death of their son in combat in Italy.

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Drops of Water (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Capitalism – effect on the individual, Immigrant experience, Individual versus society, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Short story by Ferris Takahashi. A presumably young Sansei social worker and a colleague discuss the case of an elderly Issei homeless man who seems to want to remain homeless. Sections written from the perspective of the Issei man reveal his life as a laborer first on Hawai'i sugar plantations, then in the continental U.S. and the impact of his wartime incarceration and the razing of the residential hotel he once lived in.

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The Legend of Miss Sasagawara (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Female roles, Hazards of passing judgment, Individual versus society, Losing hope
  • Widely available

Short story by Hisaye Yamamoto that takes place in an Arizona concentration camp during World War II and centers on the odd activities of one woman in the camp, as described by a college age female fellow inmate. Mari Sasagawara, a former ballet dancer, arrives with her Buddhist priest father upon transfer from another camp and soon becomes the subject of much gossip by other camp inmates for her regal bearing and aloofness. After being absent from the camp for a few months—taken to an institution in Phoenix—she returns a changed woman, friendly and sociable, even organizing and teaching a dance troupe of young girls. But after the narrator leaves the camp to attend school in Philadelphia, her friend tells her that Miss Sasagawara's malaise had returned and that she was taken out of the camp again. The story ends with the narrator finding a poem by Miss Sasagawara published ...

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Take What You Can Carry (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Individual versus society, Vulnerability of the strong, Wisdom of experience
  • Widely available

The lives of two older teen boys, Kyle and Ken, alternate stories in the graphic novel Take What You Can Carry (2012) by Kevin C. Pyle. Although experienced a generation apart, the stories of these two teens merge into a complete story of healing and redemption.

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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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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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The Service Flags (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Evils of racism, Heroism—real and perceived, Individual versus society, Loss of innocence, Self-reliance
  • Widely available

Short story by Bill Hosokawa about the first days of resettlement of a young mother and her nine-year-old son. Helen Yamano and her son Jamie arrive in an unspecified city, and she hangs two flags, one for her brother who had been killed, presumably as an Military Intelligence Service linguist, and one for her husband, who is serving in Europe in the 442nd. Her first days on the job are difficult, as one of her co-workers makes trouble for her. Jamie is called a "Jap" by one of the boys on his first day of school. Helen tells him that like his father, he needs to fight to be accepted, and the next day he does.

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Korematsu v. The United States: World War II Japanese-American Internment Camps (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 9-12
  • Young Adult, History
  • Convention and rebellion, Evils of racism, Individual versus society, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Available

Book for young adult readers on the Korematsu v. U.S. Supreme Court case by Karen Latchana Kenney. The 160 page volume is part of ABDO Publishing Company's "Landmark Supreme Court Cases" series of eight books.

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From a Silk Cocoon (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Individual versus society, Injustice, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Documentary film recounting the wartime story of a Kibei couple, Itaru and Shizuko Ina and their two young children as reconstructed by their daughter Satsuki Ina. Ina and co-directors Emery Clay III and Stephen Holsapple tell the story largely through the couple's own words in the form of Shizuko's diary and letters to each other when they become separated in the course of their incarceration.

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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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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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Civil Rights and Japanese-American Internment (curricula)

  • High school, college
  • Expression through art, Immigrant experience, Individual versus society, Injustice, Overcoming, Patriotism, Rights, War

Developed in 2000 by the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) and the Institute for International Studies (IIS) at Stanford University, this high school/college curriculum module presents civil rights in the context of the Japanese-American experience from immigration in the early 20th century to World War II, and on through more contemporary issues of redress, reparations and memorializing the incarceration. Organized into six lessons, this curriculum can provide up to three weeks of stand-alone instruction or select lessons can be used to augment U.S. history textbook coverage.

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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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Korematsu v. United States: Japanese-American Internment (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12
  • Grades 9-12
  • Young Adult, History
  • Convention and rebellion, Evils of racism, Individual versus society, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Available

Overview of the Korematsu Supreme Court case—as well as the related Hirabayashi, Yasui, and Endo cases—as part of Marshall Cavendish Benchmark's "Supreme Court Milestones" series.

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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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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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Beyond Loyalty: The Story of a Kibei (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Memoir
  • Evils of racism, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Individual versus society, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy, Self – inner and outer
  • Widely available

Memoir of Kibei scholar Minoru Kiyota (1923–2013) that focuses on the difficult World War II years that saw him incarcerated in American concentration camps and eventually renouncing his U.S. citizenship. Originally published as a Japanese language autobiographical novel in 1990, it was translated and reworked into an English language memoir published in 1997 by the University of Hawai'i Press.

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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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Chikara!: A Sweeping Novel of Japan and America From 1907 to 1983 (book)

  • Books
  • Historical Fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Coming of age, Death - inevitable or tragedy, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Emptiness of attaining a false dream, Evils of racism, Facing reality, Family - blessing or curse, Forgiveness, Greed as downfall, Fate and free will, Heartbreak of betrayal, Heroism - real and perceived, Immigrant experience, Individual versus society, Inner versus outer strength, Lost honor, Lost love, Nationalism - complications, Patriotism - positive side or complications, Power of the past, Will to survive
  • Available

This work of historical fiction traces the tumultuous rise and fall of the Hoshi family, whose scion, Sataro, takes his wife Itoko and eldest son Noboru to California in 1907 to seek his fortune and restore his family's honor. He leaves his second son Hiroshi behind with family, a decision that marks the inauspicious first step of the tragic transpacific drama that unfolds over the course of the novel.

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Good Luck Soup (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Coming of age, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Importance of community, Individual versus society, Power of tradition
  • Widely available

Autobiographical documentary film by Matthew Hashiguchi that explores his and his family's experience growing up as mixed-race Japanese Americans in Cleveland, Ohio. Hashiguchi draws inspiration from his Nisei grandmother and family matriarch Eva Hashiguchi, who settled in Cleveland after leaving the Jerome, Arkansas, concentration camp during World War II and chose to remain there. In addition to the feature length film, the Good Luck Soup project also includes an interactive website that serves as an "participatory storytelling" platform.

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The Summer of '43 (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Evils of racism, Individual versus society, Working class struggles
  • Limited availability

Short story centering on Akira Koyama, a Nisei man who has left an unspecified concentration camp to attend college in Utah. There, he stubbornly tries to find a summer job in the face of rampant discrimination. After being turned down for a draftsman position because of his ancestry, he visits a laundry owned by an acquaintance's family in search of other leads. Meanwhile, Dale, a white navy veteran and one of his college roommates, suffers from stomach pains that resemble appendicitis. Akira accompanies him to the hospital and waits as Dale has successful surgery. After a conversation with the doctor, Akira is offered a job at the hospital.

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