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An American Story: Norman Mineta and His Legacy (film)

Documentary film that profiles Nisei politician Norman Mineta with a particular focus on his childhood years in an American concentration camp and his role forty years later in the Redress movement .

An American Story traces Mineta's life in a straightforward chronological fashion beginning with his father's migration to the U.S. in 1902; his childhood in San Jose, California; his incarceration at Heart Mountain as a ten-year-old in 1942; his military service in the Korean War; and his long political career that saw him go from the San Jose City Council to Congress and then to two separate Presidential Cabinet posts. Much of the section of the film about his time in Congress focuses on his role in what would become the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 . Made with the cooperation of Mineta and his family, the film incorporates family photographs and interviews with Mineta, his first and second wives, and his children, along with many friends and colleagues from various points of his life. Among those interviewed are Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush; Senator Alan Simpson; and Mineta's first and second wives and two sons.

According to filmmakers Dianne Fukami and Debra Nakatomi, they had been trying to convince Mineta to do the film for many years. He finally agreed in 2013 and the duo began working on the project in 2014. The filmmakers raised a substantial amount of money from the Japanese American community, including at $500,000 gift from the Terasaki Family Foundation. On the occasion of the film's world premiere in San Francisco as part of the Center for Asian American Media's annual CAAMFest on May 10, 2018, Mineta told writer Takeshi Nakayama that he was "honored and very flattered to be the subject of this documentary. In terms of my own accomplishments, I've been able to do these things because I stand on the shoulders of giants, people like (U.S. Sens.) Dan Inouye and Spark Matsunaga and Congresswomen Patsy Mink , who were in office a long time before I came to Congress." The film premiered in Los Angeles three months later and had a national PBS showing in the spring of 2019.

In addition to the film, the Mineta Legacy Project also produced related curriculum in collaboration with the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) at Stanford University.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like Daniel K. Inouye – An American Story (2003); Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority (2008); Right of Passage (2015)

Media Details
Release Date 2018
Runtime 60 minutes
Director Dianne Fukami
Producer Dianne Fukami
Writer Ken Chowder
Narrator Wendy Tokuda
Music Derek Nakamoto
Cinematography Robin Mortarotti
Editing Hailey Yang
Studio Media Bridges, Inc.
For More Information

For More Information

Official website: .

Nakayama, Takeshi. "Mineta Legacy: Film on Japanese American Icon Makes Its Debut." Nichi Bei Weekly , May 10, 2018, 8.