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When Rabbit Left the Moon (film)

Video essay by Emiko Omori on the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 that traces the story of the wartime forced removal and incarceration through moving and still images and spare original music by Janice Giteck and Todd Boekelheide. The film begins with images of the Issei period, moving on to images of the incarceration, and to various aspect of life in the concentration camps beginning with happier scenes before turning to harsher ones, including images of post-segregation Tule Lake and documents describing shooting victims at Manzanar and draft resistance . The film moves on to images connected to Nisei soldiers in camp and on the battlefield before ending with camp cemeteries and images of the sites today. The title refers to a Japanese proverb and also to Omori's 1999 documentary, Rabbit in the Moon .

Born in 1940 and incarcerated as a toddler at Poston , filmmaker Emiko Omori was a film student at the University of California at Berkeley in the 1960s before graduating from San Francisco State College and becoming an editor and cinematographer for KQED in 1968 before becoming a freelance cinematographer and filmmaker. Describing When Rabbit Left the Moon as "an experiment" and as a "video poem," she opted to make the film without using words, given inadequacy of words to tell the story. In addition to using excerpts from Rabbit in the Moon , she also used footage from Moving Memories (1993) and Something Strong Within (1994), both produced by Robert A. Nakamura and Karen L. Ishizuka for the Japanese American National Museum . [1]

Authored by Brian Niiya

Might also like Manzanar (1971); Something Strong Within (1994); History and Memory (1992)


  1. Roger Garcia, "Tattoos, Rabbits and Cinematography: Interview with Emiko Omori," In Out of the Shadows: Asians in American Cinema , ed. Roger Garcia (Milano, Italy, Fres srl – Edizioni Olivares, 2001), 173; Free Screening of 'When Rabbit Left the Moon' at Occidental College," Rafu Shimpo , Feb. 7, 2017, 1, 4.
Media Details
Release Date 2017
Runtime 15 minutes
Director Emiko Omori
Music Janice Giteck
Cinematography Witt Monts
Editing Jamie LeJeune (online editor)