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Forsaken Fields (film)

Documentary film on the impact of wartime incarceration on Japanese American farming in California.

Narrated by on-camera host Jan Yanehiro, Forsaken Fields begins by outlining the extent and significance of Japanese American agriculture before the war in spite of alien land laws and other discrimination. As with other Japanese Americans on the West Coast, farming families were forcibly removed from their homes during World War II, with farmers in many cases having to leave their farms with crops in the fields unharvested. While some were able to leave their homes and properties in the care of sympathetic non-Japanese American friends, most were not able to. Many with agricultural background took seeds with them to the concentration camps where they planted gardens in all of the camps. Others were recruited to do agricultural labor outside of the camps. Forsaken Fields goes on to cover the difficult return home after the war and the terroristic receptions many faced. The film argues that the incarceration hastened the demise of Japanese American agriculture, while also noting the impact of new technology and the greater opportunities for Nisei and Sansei in other fields. The experience of the Sato family of Sacramento is highlighted, with Nisei family members Kiyo Sato and David Sato interviewed. In addition to contemporary interviews and historical photographs, the film features home movie footage of the Sakauye and Sato families.

Forsaken Fields was produced by KVIE Sacramento and was televised locally and in some national markets. The Henry and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation and Union Bank of California were its chief underwriters.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm (2015); Our American Family: The Furutas (2015); Starting Over: Japanese Americans After the War (1996)

Media Details
Release Date 2000
Runtime 27 minutes
Producer Midori Sperandeo
Narrator Jan Yanehiro
Starring Kiyo Sato (interviewee), Georgiana White (interviewee), Wayne Maeda (interviewee), Eiichi Sakauye (interviewee), Hito Nishi (interviewee), Bernice Endow (interviewee), Francis Kirihara (interviewee), David Sato (interviewee), Ted Kobata (interviewee)
Cinematography Martin Christian
Editing Jim Calahan
Studio KVIE Sacramento
Distributor Center for Asian American Media
For More Information

For More Information

Center for Asian American Media website: .