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Browse > Theme > Power of the past

111 articles

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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Why She Left Us (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Family – blessing or curse, Motherhood, Power of the past, Role of women
  • Widely available

A 1999 novel by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto that follows the Okada family from the 1920s to the 1990s and includes their incarceration at the Santa Anita Assembly Center and Amache as well as the experiences of two Nisei who serve in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The novel is structured as a series of vignettes told from the points of view of four characters. Why She Left Us was honored with an American Book Award in 2000.

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Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire (book)

  • Books
  • Adult
  • Fiction
  • Coming of age, Dangers of ignorance, Power of silence, Power of the past
  • Widely available

First novel by acclaimed poet and memoirist David Mura that explores the impact of wartime incarceration—and the silences about it—on a Japanese American family in Chicago after World War II.

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And There Are Stories, There Are Stories (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Coming of age, Power of the past, Self – inner and outer
  • Available

Prose poem memoir by Momoko Iko that traces her family's journey out of the concentration camps and her subsequent upbringing away from Japanese American communities on the West Coast. She begins with her birth in 1940 to Issei parents, her fleeting recollections of her family's incarceration, and life after the war, first in Philadelphia, then Chicago. Various stories centering on racism, racial identity, interracial relations, and the legacy of the camps in the 1950s and 1960s follow, tracing the narrator's journey to becoming a writer.

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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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Honor Bound: A Personal Journey (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism - real or perceived, Power of the past
  • Available

Documentary film that tells the story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team through the story of one soldier, Haruo Howard "Howe" Hanamura, and his daughter, television reporter Wendy Hanamura, who travel to Europe in October 1944 for 50th anniversary ceremonies of the liberation of Bruyeres and Biffontaine by the 442nd. The film was produced by the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) and KPIX, San Francisco, where Wendy Hanamura was a news reporter. After debuting on KPIX on March 5, 1995, it went on to be shown on over 100 PBS stations.

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Resistance at Tule Lake (film)

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

Documentary film that tells the story of the Tule Lake concentration camp, with a focus on the post-segregation period, through interviews with former inmates, archival images, and scenes from contemporary pilgrimages.

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We'll Meet Again: Children of WWII (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Growing up – pain or pleasure, Power of the past, Reunion
  • Widely available

Debut episode of television series hosted by Ann Curry that tells stories about the reuniting of people tied together by a key historical event many years later. The first of six episodes in the show's first season focuses a pair of stories about children of World War II seeking out people who had a big impact on their lives during difficult times.

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When Justice Failed: The Fred Korematsu Story (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Biography
  • Convention and rebellion, Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Power of the past
  • Available

Biography for children of activist and exclusion challenger Fred Korematsu by journalist Steven A. Chin.

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Gila River and Mama: The Ruth Mix Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Loss of innocence, Power of the past
  • Available

Documentary film that tells the story of the mass removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans through the eyes of Ruth Mix, who as a fifteen year old, accompanied her mother Frida, a teacher, to Gila River and lived among the inmates. Filmmaker Claire Mix is the daughter of Ruth.

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Snakeskin Shamisen (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction, Mystery
  • Lost honor, Power of the past
  • Widely available

The third novel in Naomi Hirahara's "Mas Arai Mysteries" series finds the gardener/detective back in Southern California in 2002 where he tackles a murder case in the Okinawan American community.

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Manzanar (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past, Quest for discovery, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Limited availability

Experimental documentary film by Bob Nakamura made in 1971 that was one of the first films to explore the legacy of the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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Invisible Citizens: Japanese Americans (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past, Wisdom of experience
  • Limited availability

Early documentary film that highlights the experiences of Japanese Americans during and after World War II through profiles of six Japanese Americans from around the country.

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The Broken Lines of Age (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Desire to escape, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Short story by Jimmy Tokeshi about an Issei grandfather who takes his nineteen-year-old granddaughter on an impromptu pilgrimage to Manzanar on Christmas Eve decades after his wartime incarceration there.

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Words, Weavings and Songs (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Role of women, Expression through art, Power of the past
  • Widely available

2002 documentary film profiling three Nisei women who drew on their experiences as teenagers in American concentration camps to pursue different types of creative expression both in camp and afterwards. The three artists featured are writer, playwright, and painter Wakako Yamauchi, weaver Momo Nagano, and singer Mary Nomura. A project of the Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center at the Japanese American National Museum, Words, Weavings & Songs was produced and directed by John Esaki and was funded in part by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program.

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Piecing Memories (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past
  • Available

Short film about Japanese American senior citizen women in a Japanese American Services of the East Bay (JASEB) quilting class who make a quilt inspired by their World War II experiences. The seventeen minute film was made by Bridge Media for the JASEB and was funded in part by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program.

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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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Only the Brave (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • War, Drama
  • Death – inevitable or tragedy, Power of the past, Role of men, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Feature film that dramatizes the rescue of the "Lost Battalion" by the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in France and its aftermath.

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Personal Justice Denied: An Issue for All Americans (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Convention and rebellion, Evils of racism, Injustice, Power of the past
  • Limited availability

Video of a February 19, 1998, panel discussion at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History on the topic of the coram nobis cases, featuring presentations by principals Fred Korematsu and Gordon Hirabayashi and lead attorneys Dale Minami, Peggy Nagae, and Rod Kawakami.

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Old Man River (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Family – blessing or curse, Power of the past, Power of silence, Quest for discovery
  • Available

One-woman play about the playwright's search for the truth about her actor father's life story. Jerry Fujikawa was a successful Nisei actor after World War II who worked steadily in character roles in movies and television and who did well enough to own a home and put three children through college. But after his death in 1983, playwright and performer Cynthia Gates Fujikawa found a picture of her father with a woman who is not her mother and a little girl who looks like her, but is not. Old Man River documents her search for her father's history, in which his wartime incarceration at Manzanar and stint in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team play a key role.

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Relocation, Arkansas: Aftermath of Incarceration (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Circle of life, Evils of racism, Power of the past, Reunion, Rights - individual or societal
  • Limited availability

Documentary film by Vivienne Schiffer about the legacy of the Rohwer, Arkansas, concentration camp that focuses on the incarceration's impact on the Sansei and the role of a local mayor in preserving Rohwer's history.

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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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Memories of the Camps (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Circle of life, Power of the past, Injustice
  • Limited availability

Locally produced documentary by Los Angeles TV station KABC that provides an overview of the concentration camps and community efforts to remember them on their fiftieth anniversary. Hosted by KABC news anchor Joanne Ishimine, the program begins at Heart Mountain where former inmate and camp historian Bacon Sakatani gives a tour of the camp and talks about his experience and the larger impact of incarceration. The next segment is on Manzanar, focusing on Toyo Miyatake and his photographs, featuring an interview with his son Archie. The last segments focus on the commemoration of the camps: a visit to a UCLA class that Sakatani speaks to and interviews with the students; some of those same students at the 50th anniversary Manzanar Pilgrimage; and visits to the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center and Japanese American National Museum in the Little Tokyo area of Los Angeles. A copy of the program can ...

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Who's Going to Pay for These Donuts, Anyway? (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Family – blessing or curse, Power of the past, Wisdom of experience
  • Available

Experimental documentary film by Janice Tanaka that centers on her finding and reuniting with a father and an uncle—one diagnosed as mentally ill and the other conventionally successful—neither of whom she had seen since childhood.

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Justice Now! Reparations Now! (film)

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

Documentary film on the Redress Movement focusing on the contributions of the National Coalition for Redress/Reparations (NCRR), which produced it. The film provides a brief overview of the wartime incarceration, with a focus on resistance by Japanese Americans in and out of confinement. It then traces the roots of NCRR to 1960s social movements and the rise of redress as an issue in Japanese American communities in the 1970s, outlining NCRR's "grass roots" orientation. Footage from the Los Angeles hearings of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians—which NCRR helped to organize—and well as excerpts of speeches by Norman Mineta and Robert Matsui in support of redress legislation are also included. The film culminates with footage of NCRR's July 1987 trip to Washington, DC, to lobby for redress legislation and with the passage and signing what would become the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Alan Kondo produced and ...

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