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Browse > Genre > Documentary

207 articles

Honoring Alameda's Japanese American History (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Importance of community, Immigrant experience, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • Limited availability

Conventional documentary on the history of the Japanese American community in Alameda, California, that is more or less equally divided between the prewar years and wartime incarceration/aftermath. Perhaps due to sponsorship by the Buddhist Temple of Alameda and the Buena Vista United Methodist Church, there is a focus on the history and activities of those two institutions throughout. While the first half is specifically on the Japanese American community in Alameda and is thus somewhat unique, the section on the wartime removal and incarceration is more general and thus repeats information that can be found elsewhere.

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Streams of Light: Shin Buddhism in America (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Adult
  • Documentary
  • Change versus tradition, Power of tradition, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • Widely available

Documentary film on shin Buddhism in the United States focuses on the Japanese American temples of the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) from 1898 to the present. The sixty-four minute film was directed by Brazil-based Buddhist priest Rev. Kentaro Sugao with the cooperation of the BCA and the Institute of Buddhist Studies.

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Mission in Manila: The Sakakida Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Facing darkness, Forgiveness, Heroism – real and perceived, Will to survive
  • Limited availability

Documentary film that tells the story of Richard Sakakida , a Nisei intelligence agent in the Philippines who is captured and tortured by the Japanese during World War II and who confronts—and forgives—his torturers after the war. The film is based almost entirely on an interview with Sakakida, augmented by narrator Jerry Kay, archival footage and family photographs, and illustrations by Roberta Twidwell. The 28-minute film was produced by the Military Intelligence Service and the National Japanese American Historical Society for the Military Intelligence Service Fellowship Program.

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Tanforan: From Race Track to Assembly Center (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Displacement
  • Available

Documentary film on Tanforan , a former horse racing track that became the site of a wartime " assembly center " for incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II. The film includes interviews with many former inmates of Tanforan, some of whom lived in what were once horse stalls, including Maya Nagata Aikawa, George and Michiko Uchida, Tomoye Takahashi, Hid Kashima, Sox Kitashima, Dave Tatsuno , Yoneo Kawakita, Hiro Katayama, Sachi Kajiwara, Sugar Hirabayashi, Hiro Fujii, Yo Kasai, Chizu Togasaki, Tomoko Kashiwagi, Toru Saito, and Jan Matsuoka. Tanforan was produced by KCSM, a San Mateo, California based public television station as part of The New Americans series and was directed by Dianne Fukami. Funders for the film included the Chevron Corporation and the Ray and Peggy Daba Fund.

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The Color of Honor: The Japanese American Soldier in WWII (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Patriotism - positive side or complications
  • Available

A 1987 documentary film by Loni Ding that largely focuses on Japanese Americans who served in the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during World War II. A sequel to Ding's 1983 film Nisei Soldier: Standard Bearer for an Exiled People , the two films were among the first and most influential films on the Nisei soldiers and both were critically acclaimed and widely viewed.

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Ruth Asawa: A Community Artist (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Short documentary film on artist Ruth Asawa by Dianne Fukami. Produced as part of a follow-up project to the creation of the "Garden of Remembrance" at San Francisco State University, the documentary highlights Asawa's role in the garden and documents some of her other public art in San Francisco.

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Guilty by Reason of Race (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Evils of racism, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Documentary film produced by NBC and shown nationally on September 19, 1972, as part of the NBC Reports series. It was the second major network documentary on the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans after The Nisei: The Pride and the Shame , which aired on CBS in 1965.

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Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Convention and rebellion, Heroism – real and perceived, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Available

Feature length documentary film that traces the basketball exploits of Wat Misaka, a Nisei from Utah who starred on two college basketball national championship teams and played briefly for the New York Knicks in the 1940s.

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Ralph Story's Los Angeles: Little Tokyo (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Importance of community, Optimism – power or folly, Self-reliance, Social mobility
  • No availability

Episode of the popular 1960s weekly television show featuring the Little Tokyo area of Los Angeles. Filmed largely in Little Tokyo, the program covers both the history of the neighborhood and its then current status and includes a discussion of the wartime incarceration of its population.

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Hidden Internment: The Art Shibayama Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice
  • Available

A 2004 documentary film about the life of Art Shibayama, a Japanese Peruvian who was forcibly taken from his home in Peru in 1944 when he was thirteen years old, and interned in a Department of Justice camp in Crystal City , Texas, for the duration of World War II. This film explores the lesser-known history of the Japanese Latin American detention, where over 2,000 Latin Americans were essentially kidnapped from their countries and interned in American government camps, to be used as political pawns between countries. Using first-person narrative and archival footage, the film shows how despite their traumatic experiences and wrongful treatment, Shibayama and other Latin Americans have been denied redress that was awarded to Japanese Americans in 1988 for their loss of civil liberties and forced wartime incarceration. Directed by Casey Peek and produced by Irum Shiekh.

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Harsh Canvas: The Art and Life of Henry Sugimoto (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Immigrant experience, Injustice
  • No availability

A 2001 biographical documentary film on the life and work of Issei artist Henry Sugimoto , based on the artist's memoirs and testimony before the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians . The film highlights Sugimoto's art through archival and contemporary footage and follows his life's journey from immigration to his incarceration with his family during World War II in Arkansas, and postwar relocation to New York. Actor Mako narrates the film in the voice of Sugimoto. Interviews with his daughter Madeleine Sugimoto and sister-in-law Naomi Tagawa provide additional information on his life, while fellow artist George Mukai and curators Kristine Kim and Stephanie Barron discuss the significance of his work.

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The Idaho Homefront: Of Camps and Combat (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Patriotism - positive side or complications
  • Widely available

Documentary video written and produced by Jim Peck for Idaho Public Television that tells the story of the Minidoka camp in Idaho and of Japanese Americans who served in World War II from Idaho, both those in Minidoka and those born and raised in Idaho. The show was a follow up to an earlier documentary by Peck titled The Idaho Homefront: World War II that had included a mention of Minidoka and of the 442nd . Narrated by Sue Galligan, and featuring interviews with Hero Shiosaki, Roy Gikui, Robert Sims, Bethine Church, Fumiko Hayashida, and Toshi Ito. Funding for the show came in part from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, WETA Public Broadcasting, and from Wal-Mart. The half-hour show premiered on Idaho public television stations on September 20, 2007.

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Kash: The Legend and Legacy of Shiro Kashino (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Available

Feature length documentary film by Vince Matsudaira that tells the story of Shiro "Kash" Kashino (1922–97), a decorated combat veteran of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team , whose legacy had been tarnished by a court-martial stemming from a fight while in France.

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Ganbare Don't Give Up! (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Immigrant experience, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Rights - individual or societal, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • No availability

Documentary film that provides an overview of what happened to Japanese Americans in Hawai'i during World War II, focusing on the limited internment of Issei community leaders and the exploits of Japanese American men in the armed forces. Ganbare Don't Give Up! was produced as a part of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i's core exhibition, Okage Sama De: I am what I am because of you , which remains the only place where it can be viewed.

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Justice Betrayed (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice
  • No availability

Documentary film on the internment of Japanese Americans from Hawai'i produced in 1992 by the Honolulu Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). Justice Betrayed includes interviews with two Japanese Americans whose fathers were interned (Sandra Takahata, the daughter of artist George Hoshida , and Akira Otani, son of businessman Matsujiro Otani ); Tokushige and Mitsue Nakahara, boat builder brothers who were themselves interned; and Violet Ishii Hayashi, a woman from originally from Hawai'i who was on the West Coast at time of the mass expulsion and incarceration and ended up at Poston ; and legal scholar Eric Yamamoto and historian Franklin Odo. In addition to outlining the Hawai'i story, the film also covers Executive Order 9066 and the West Coast story as well as the issues with John DeWitt's Final Report that led to the corm nobis cases in the 1980s.

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Discoveries... America National Parks: Japanese American Incarceration, 1942-1945 (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, power of the past
  • Available

Installment of the popular video series America National Parks produced by Bennett-Watt HD Productions that provides an overview of the Japanese American wartime incarceration and looks at contemporary efforts by the National Park Service and state and local organizations to preserve the former camp sites. In his review in Video Librarian , T. Keogh wrote, "Full of personal testimonies, this eye-opening travelogue is highly recommended." [1]

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Meeting at Tule Lake (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past, Evils of racism, Injustice
  • Limited availability

Documentary film produced and directed by Scott T. Tsuchitani that features interviews with seven former Tule Lake inmates talking about life in the camp, the "loyalty questionnaire" and segregation, and the importance of remembering, intercut with footage of poet Hiroshi Kashiwagi reading the title poem and of a Tule Lake Pilgrimage. Meeting at Tule Lake was produced by the Tule Lake Committee for the 1994 Tule Lake Pilgrimage.

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Calling Tokyo: Japanese American Radio Broadcasters During World War II (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Documentary
  • Patriotism - complications, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Limited availability

Documentary film directed by Gary T. Ono that tells the story of a small group of Japanese Americans recruited out of the concentration camps to work for the British Political Warfare Mission (BPWM) and Office of War Information (OWI) as translators and broadcasters of propaganda aimed at Japan. The small group—eight who worked for the OWI and four for the BPWM—were mostly Kibei and worked out of a Denver studio. Both groups translated American news reports that were made into radio scripts and broadcasts transmitted by shortwave radio. The operation later moved to San Francisco in February 1945, when Japanese Americans were allowed to return to the West Coast.

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Fifty Years of Silence: The Untold Story of Japanese American Soldiers in the Pacific Theater, 1941-1952 (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism - real or perceived, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Limited availability

Documentary film that tells the story of Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during World War II and during the occupation of Japan through archival footage and interviews. Produced by the Military Intelligence Service Association of Northern California and the National Japanese American Historical Society, the 60-minute documentary was directed by Sheryl K. Narahara and released in 1992. In addition to providing an overview of the MIS story from training to the battlefield and occupation of Japan, Fifty Years of Silence also includes a section on Richard Sakakida , a Nisei who did intelligence work in the Philippines as part of the Counter Intelligence Corps.

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Passing Poston (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past
  • Available

Documentary film that tells the story of Poston through the lives of four former inmates, Mary Higashi, Ruth Okimoto, Kiyo Sato, and Leon Uyeda. The four—who ranged in age from young adulthood to young childhood at the time of their incarceration—talk about their wartime experiences and also the continuing postwar impacts over footage of government propaganda films and archival and personal photographs.

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Through the Lens of Russell Lee: Mathias Uchiyama's Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past, Working class struggles, Displacement
  • Widely available

Short documentary film about a Japanese American family that left the Portland Assembly Center to engage in farm labor in eastern Oregon, produced to accompany the traveling exhibition Uprooted: Japanese American Farm Labor Camps during World War II .

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Issei: The First Generation (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Role of women, Wisdom of experience
  • Available

Documentary film featuring interviews with Issei who speak in Japanese about their lives. Filmed in 1983 and shown on television in the San Francisco Bay area in 1984, the film remained largely unseen for the next thirty years until it was restored and reissued in 2013. It remains one of the only films to feature Issei voices on the wartime removal and incarceration and on Japanese American history in general.

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Matsumi Kanemitsu: A Japanese American Artist (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art
  • Limited availability

Short profile of artist Matsumi "Mike" Kanemitsu that includes his own thoughts about his techniques and goals as an artist. Narrator Amy Hill provides a brief outline of his life and work accompanied by many photographs and the music of Miles Davis. His World War II experience as a Kibei in the U.S. Army is largely passed over to focus on his postwar art career.

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Who's Going to Pay for These Donuts, Anyway? (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Family – blessing or curse, Power of the past, Wisdom of experience
  • Available

Experimental documentary film by Janice Tanaka that centers on her finding and reuniting with a father and an uncle—one diagnosed as mentally ill and the other conventionally successful—neither of whom she had seen since childhood.

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An American Story: The History of California's Nisei Veterans (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism - real and perceived, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • No availability

Short documentary on California's Nisei veterans produced by photographer Tom Graves. The video was funded by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program .

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