Mr. Tanimoto's Journey (film)
Documentary film about Gridley, California, farmer and former Tule Lake inmate Jim Tanimoto that focuses on his wartime incarceration and on the postwar memory of that time. The film is built around interviews with Tanimoto and footage of him at his farm and at a Tule Lake Pilgrimage, along with interviews with his daughter and granddaughter. Tanimoto and his family went to Tule Lake directly in July 1942 and were placed in Block 42. He was among the many inmates in that block who resisted filling out the loyalty questionnaire and were subsequently imprisoned and held for a time at Camp Tulelake , a former CCC camp. He was eventually allowed to return to Tule Lake and then returned to Gridley in 1945, where he nonetheless faced a great deal of discrimination from locals. Tanimoto and his family also talk about the postwar silence about the incarceration, redress , and the importance of telling the story. Filmmaker Jessie Dizard used period country blues music as a soundtrack to the historical images.
The story leaves out the important detail that Tanimoto and his family lived outside of Military Area 1 , which is the reason they didn't go first to an " assembly center ," going directly to Tule Lake in July after the army decided to remove Japanese Americans from the eastern part of California as well. Tanimoto also claims to have returned to Gridley with his family in February 1944, months before the exclusion order had been lifted; the Tule Lake Final Accountability Record indicates that they returned in February 1945 after the West Coast had been opened up to Japanese Americans in January.
|Starring||Jim Tanimoto (interviewee), Michael Magliari (interviewee), Sarah Pike (interviewee), Jamie Gilmore-Wilson (interviewee), Judy Tanimoto (interviewee)|
|Studio||Advanced Laboratory for Visual Anthropology, Cal State University, Chico|
For More Information
Jim M. Tanimoto interview by Tom Ikeda (primary) and Barbara Takei (secondary), Gridley, California, Dec. 10, 2009. Densho Visual History Collection, Densho Digital Archive.