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Browse > Theme > Power of the past

111 articles

Day of Remembrance: The First National Ceremony (film)

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

Documentary film of the first national Day of Remembrance commemoration, held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. in 1998. The national ceremony was hosted by George Takei and Tamlyn Tomita and included guest speakers Gordon Hirabayashi, Fred Korematsu, Norman Mineta, Joan Bernstein, Mitsuye Yamada, Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, and Robert Matsui.

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Farewell to Manzanar (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama, History
  • Evils of racism, Family – blessing or curse, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Power of the past
  • Available

Made-for-television movie about a Japanese American family in Manzanar during World War II. Based on the book of the same name by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston, Farewell to Manzanar aired nationally on NBC stations on March 11, 1976, and remains one of the few mainstream dramatic films centered on the Japanese American concentration camp experience.

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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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A Fence Away From Freedom: Japanese-Americans and World War II (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult, History
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Book for young adults that tells the story of the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans through the oral history voices of those who were children and young adults at the time.

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Garden of Stones (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Role of women, Motherhood, Temporary nature of physical beauty, Power of the past, Facing darkness
  • Widely available

Popular novel by Sophie Littlefield centering on three generations of Japanese American women whose lives are dramatically shaped by the wartime incarceration of the elder two at Manzanar.

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Here, in America? (film)

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

Short documentary film that presents highlights from the Assembly on Wartime Relocation & Internment of Civilians, held in San Francisco in April 2005. The event included the public testimony of persons of Japanese, German, and Italian ancestry about the World War II era internment/incarceration and persons of Arab, Muslim or South Asian descent about post-9/11 detentions. In addition to excepts of the testimonies, the film includes historical background on the World War II detentions along with historical photographs and footage. Testimonies highlighted include Buddy Fujii (statement read by Bill Sato); Victor Kimura; Libia Yamamoto; Art Shibayama; Angelica Higashide (statement read by Naomi Quinones); Doris Berg Nye (statement read by Carole Eiserloh); Ted Eckardt (statement read by Bruce Donald); Constanza Ilacqua Foran; Al Bronzini; John Christgau; Lawrence DiStasi; Yaman Hamdan; and Xavier Becerra.

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Home of the Brave (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Children's
  • Injustice, Knowledge versus ignorance, Power of the past, Progress – real or illusion
  • Widely available

Children's picture book by Allen Say inspired by the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

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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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The Music Man of Manzanar (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Optimism – power or folly, Power of the past
  • Widely available

A short documentary film by Brian Tadashi Maeda about Lou Frizzell, who came to the World War II American concentration camp at Manzanar to teach drama and music to the Japanese American high school students who were imprisoned there. The film includes interviews with his former students, who were inspired by Frizell's ability to help the students temporarily forget their circumstances and lose themselves to the beauty and power of music and the joy of being young. The film also includes re-enactments of Manzanar High students performing parts of Frizzell's operetta Loud and Clear. The second half of the film turns its attention to Arnold Maeda, the filmmaker's older brother and a student of Frizzell's who performed in Loud and Clear; we attend a 2002 ceremony at Santa Monica High School in which Maeda and other Japanese American students receive the diplomas they were denied by the mass incarceration and ...

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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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Sayonara Slam (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction, Mystery
  • Power of silence, Power of the past, Family – blessing or curse
  • Widely available

The sixth book in Naomi Hirahara's Mas Arai Mysteries series finds the Kibei gardener caught up in unraveling the mysterious death of a Japanese journalist covering the World Baseball Classic in Los Angeles. As in the other books in the series, Mas's Hiroshima hibakusha past and the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans play key roles in the plot.

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Starting from Loomis and Other Stories (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Evils of racism, Immigrant experience, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Memoir by playwright, poet, actor, and librarian Hiroshi Kashiwagi in the form of twenty-five stories, most of them first-person vignettes from various periods of his life. Edited by Tim Yamamura, Starting from Loomis was published by the University of Colorado Press in 2013 as part of the George and Sakaye Aratani Nikkei in the Americas Series.

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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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The Journey (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 3-5
  • Picture Book, Children's
  • Evils of racism, Expression through art, Power of the past
  • Widely available

A children's book by Sansei author and artist Sheila Hamanaka, published by Orchard Books in 1990. The Journey: Japanese Americans, Racism and Renewal is based on a 25-foot mural painted by Hamanaka that mixes the history of Japanese Americans with an emphasis on the American concentration camps of World War II with her own family's experience using a mixture of Japanese iconography, realism and caricature. The book features both close-ups of the mural as well as a panoramic view of all five panels, which are accompanied by the author's text, giving her perspective on history, tradition, and hope. It also includes a preface and afterword reflecting on these themes.

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Uncle Gunjiro's Girlfriend (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Evils of racism, Power of the past, Reunion, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • Limited availability

Performance piece that incorporates storytelling, music, dance, and multimedia elements to expose the secret of Brenda Wong Aoki's family: her great-uncle's marriage to a white woman and the subsequent split in the family.

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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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Honouliuli: Hawai'i's Hidden Internment Camp (film)

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

Documentary short film on the Honouliuli Internment Camp in central Ō'ahu produced by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i. Interviews and other footage from this film were later incorporated into a broader documentary film, The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i. Ryan Kawamoto wrote, directed, and edited both films.

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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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Aleut Evacuation: The Untold War Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Injustice, Power of the past

Documentary film that tells the story of the forced removal and incarceration of the Aleut people from their ancestral Alaskan homes to detention camps in southwest Alaska during World War II. Based on interviews with surviving inmates and their descendants and on historical photographs and documents, Aleut Evacuation proceeds in largely chronological fashion, starting with a brief portrait of the Aleut community prior to the war, then covering their forcible removal by the U.S. government—ostensibly for their own protection in the face of possible Japanese attack—and their subsequent incarceration in several different camps. Focusing first on the largest camp, Funter Bay, which held those from the Pribilof Islands, it also considers a camp on Killisnoo Island where those from Atka were held, along with Ward Lake, where those from smaller villages were incarcerated. Former inmates remember the poor and harsh conditions in the camps and the rampant health problems they ...

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Alice and the Bear (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Companionship as salvation, Desire to escape, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Short story by Kiyoshi Parker about an old woman whose trip to a Little Tokyo store with her great-granddaughter brings back memories of her camp experience. Alice Miyamoto visits Little Tokyo in Los Angeles for the first time in thirty years with her family. After lunch, her daughter suggests they go visit the Go For Broke Monument. But on the way, her four-year-old great-granddaughter drags her into a store and picks up a stuffed Totoro toy. Alice is immediately reminded of a stuffed bear she had as a child of about the same age that was her constant companion when she was in an unspecified concentration camp.

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Family Gathering (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Family – blessing or curse, Power of the past, Quest for discovery, Self-awareness
  • Available

Documentary film by Lise Yasui that chronicles her exploration of her family's hidden history—especially that of her paternal grandfather, Masuo Yasui—through interviews and family home movies and photographs. One of the most acclaimed films about the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans, Family Gathering was nominated for an Academy Award in 1988.

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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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Guilty by Reason of Race (film)

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

Documentary film produced by NBC and shown nationally on September 19, 1972, as part of the NBC Reports series. It was the second major network documentary on the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans after The Nisei: The Pride and the Shame, which aired on CBS in 1965.

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Heiji (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Female roles, Injustice, Power of the past
  • No availability

Short story by Jeff Tsuyoshi Matsuda about a disheveled elderly Nisei widower who goes to a empty field in his Westchester, California, neighborhood every day for reasons that no one can figure out. In slowly revealing the reason for his quest, Heiji Taguma's wartime family history is revealed. His family had farmed twenty acres in the area before the war, but lost their crops and their farm in the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Heiji's father Masu was among the Issei arrested by the FBI and was taken to the Bismarck, North Dakota internment camp, eventually rejoining his family at Manzanar. But he returned a broken man: while Heiji resettled in Chicago, he refused to leave Manzanar and died there just after the end of the war. Heiji's odd ritual seemed to have been triggered by the death of his wife Keiko, who had once cooked ...

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Ho'onani Makuakane (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Power of the past, Injustice, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Quest for discovery
  • Widely available

Episode of the Hawaii Five-0 TV series from 2013 that featured a Japanese American internment-related storyline.

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