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Arnold Knows Me: The Tommy Kono Story (film)

DVD cover. Courtesy of Ryan Yamamoto and Suzanne Phan
View in the Densho Encyclopedia

Documentary film that charts Nisei Tommy Kono 's unlikely rise from a World War II concentration camp to becoming one of America's greatest Olympic style weightlifters.

Arnold Knows Me is told in largely chronological fashion and is based largely on Kono's own recollections of his life and career. The filmmakers visit Kono in his home in Hawai'i where he displays memorabilia from his career. They also follow him to his hometown of Sacramento where he visits the site of the home gym he built in his brother's house after the family returned from Tule Lake in 1945 and the contemporary weightlifting competition named after him. They also interview some of Kono's friends from Tule Lake as well as contemporary weightlifters and coaches. In addition to archival photographs, the filmmakers use much newsreel footage covering Kono's exploits. The title comes from Kono's stock answer when asked about bodybuilder turned actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, who idolized Kono as a teenager. Television news reporters Suzanne Phan and Ryan Yamamoto produced and directed the film respectively.

Arnold Knows Me: The Tommy Kono Story premiered in July 2016 and first aired on television on July 30, 2016 on KVIE, a public television station that serves Sacramento and California's Central Valley. KVIE also made the film available on its website. It was subsequently shown on PBS stations around the country starting in August 2016.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story (2008); You Don't Know Jack: The Jack Soo Story (2009); Top of Their Game (2000)

Media Details
Release Date 2016
Runtime 27 minutes
Director Ryan Yamamoto
Producer Suzanne Phan
Starring Tommy Kono, Ben Hara (interviewee), Kinya Noguchi (interviewee), Tad Fujioka (interviewee), Harry Noguchi (interviewee), Sarah Robles (interviewee), Zygmunt Smalcerz (interviewee), Cindy Stinger (interviewee), Paul Doherty (interviewee), Donovan Ford (interviewee)
Editing Chris Canote
For More Information

For More Information

Official website: .

Streaming film on KVIE website: .

Asakawa, Gil. " Nikkei Voice: The Olympics Are a Celebration of National, Personal—and Ethnic—Pride. " Pacific Citizen , Aug. 12–25, 2016, 8.