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Rebel with a Cause: The Life of Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga (film)

Biographical documentary of activist and redress researcher Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga by Janice D. Tanaka. Tanaka's mother, Grace Tanaka, was a close childhood friend of Herzig Yoshinaga's, and she juxtaposes her mother's more conventional Nisei life with Herzig's more rebellious path. Includes candid interviews with Herzig Yoshinaga's three children, husband Jack Herzig and many friends and others who knew her, in reviewing her life in a more-or-less chronological fashion from childhood, to wartime incarceration at Manzanar and Jerome , two early marriages—and divorces—that left her a single mother with three children, her life and work in New York after the war and her turn to activism, and her key role in the Redress Movement and coram nobis cases in partnership with husband Jack Herzig. In addition to the interviews with key figures in her life, Tanaka also did group interviews with friends and family members and had Herzig Yoshinaga revisit locations from her New York life with her children.

After completion of Right of Passage , her film on the redress movement, Tanaka wanted to do a documentary on Herzig Yoshinaga, since she "found her to be such a compelling personality" and since there had already been documentary films on two other New York based Nisei activists, Yuri Kochiyama ( Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice ) and Michi Weglyn ( Out of Infamy: Michi Nishiura Weglyn ). Able to secure funding from Nitto Tire (which also funded Right of Passage ) she pursued the idea with Herzig Yoshinaga, who was initially reluctant to take part. However Tanaka's connection through her mother proved key, and Herzig Yoshinaga eventually consented.

Rebel with a Cause premiered on April 24, 2016 at Visual Communications ' Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. It was also featured in the 2021 Film of Remembrance program, organized by the Nichi Bei Weekly .

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like Right of Passage (2015); Out of Infamy (2010); Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice (1993)

Media Details
Release Date 2016
Runtime 82 minutes
Director Janice D. Tanaka
Producer Thuy Phan
Writer Janice D. Tanaka
Narrator Janice D. Tanaka
Starring Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga (interviewee), Nobuko Miyamoto (interviewee), Warren Furutani (interviewee), Theodora Yoshikami (interviewee), Stanley Kanzaki (interviewee), Lisa Furutani (interviewee), Thomas Fujita-Rony (interviewee), Jonny Yoshinaga (interviewee), Gerri Miyazaki (interviewee), David Abe (interviewee), Dave Bailey (interviewee), Donald T. Hata (interviewee), Bob Miyamoto (interviewee), Bun Yoshikami (interviewee), Martha Nakagawa (interviewee), Jack Herzig (interviewee), Joan Bernstein (interviewee), Rose Ochi (interviewee), Angus MacBeth (interviewee), Peter Irons (interviewee), Michael Ishii (interviewee), Kimberley Abe (interviewee)
Cinematography Akira Boch
Editing Janice D. Tanaka
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