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Browse > Genre > Documentary

207 articles

Shinkichi Tajiri: A Friendship Knot for Bruyeres (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Desire to escape, Expression through art, Self-awareness
  • Limited availability

Short video on sculptor Shinkichi Tajiri by A. T. Roberts, made to document Tajiri's gift of a sculpture honoring the 442nd Regimental Combat Team to the French city of Bruyeres, which had been liberated by the 442nd during World War II. Footage of Tajiri making the sculpture and footage of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the liberation in 1994 begin and end the video, with Tajiri's own first person account of his life and career starting from the attack on Pearl Harbor in between. Tajiri recalls his and his family's forced removal and incarceration at Santa Anita and Poston , joining the 442nd, and deciding to move to Europe after the war to pursue an art career and to escape from discrimination in the U.S. Tajiri's autobiographical narrative is accompanied by photographs of him and his family and of his many works of art.

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Forced Out: Internment and the Enduring Damage to California Cities and Towns (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Importance of community, Power of the past
  • Limited availability

A 2003 documentary film that explores the subject of the Japanese American forced removal and mass incarceration during World War II and its economic impact on California's Japantowns through the stories of merchants and community institutions. Among the stories highlighted are Honnami Taedo, a ceramics shop in San Francisco Japantown; the Rafu Shimpo newspaper, Fugetsudo sweet shop, and the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo; a San Francisco-based quilt project by Japanese American women that documents the wartime events; and the Asahi Market in Oxnard, which was run for the Japanese American proprietors by a Mexican American family during the war.

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Heart Mountain: Three Years in an Internment Camp (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Will to survive
  • Available

A short documentary film from 1997 that documents the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans at the American concentration camp in Heart Mountain , Wyoming. The film also documents daily life for the Japanese American incarcerees, who endured living in rough barracks, surrounded by barbed wire in sub-zero temperatures and dust storms, as well as the political and personal conflicts that arose with the government-issued " loyalty questionnaire " and draft resistance . In addition to interviews with former inmates and local residents, the film uses previously unseen footage from the camp. The film was produced by KCSM, a San Mateo, California, public television station as part of The New Americans series and was directed by Dianne Fukami, with David Hosley serving as executive producer. It was originally titled Heart Mountain: Three Years in a Relocation Center . Funders for the documentary included the Chevron Corporation, the Henri and …

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Prejudice and Patriotism: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in the Military Intelligence Service of WWII (film)

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

Documentary video that tells the story of Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service during World War II, juxtaposing that story against the backdrop of the Japanese American wartime incarceration, highlighting the difficulties brought on by the loyalty questionnaire and its aftermath. Colin Powell introduces and closes the video, which is narrated by Ken Kashiwahara. The story is told using archival footage and photographs and interviews with many MIS veterans and others. No director is identified. The film was produced and funded by the Military Intelligence Service Association of Northern California and the National Japanese American Historical Society.

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Conscience and the Constitution (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Convention and rebellion, Illusion of power, Injustice, Power of the past, Rights - individual or societal
  • Widely available

Influential documentary film that tells the story of the draft resistance movement at Heart Mountain . Journalist Frank Abe produced, directed, and wrote the hour-long film, which was released in 2000.

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A Personal Matter: Gordon Hirabayashi vs. the United States (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Character - destruction, building up, Rights - individual or societal
  • Limited availability

Documentary film on Gordon Hirabayashi and his legal challenge to the World War II-era measures against Japanese Americans during the war and the revival of that challenge forty years later. John de Graaf directed the 28-minute documentary, which tells his story in a largely chronological manner, ending with the 1980s coram nobis case verdict. In addition to Hirabayashi's own words and contemporary footage of him visiting such key locales as the Federal Court House in Seattle, where he was first tried; the King County Jail, where he was incarcerated; and his alma mater, Auburn High School, the filmmakers tell the story through interviews with two of his brothers, friends, and some of his lawyers (including Arthur Barnett , his friend and lawyer in the 1940s cases). A Personal Matter aired nationally on Public Broadcasting Service stations in 1992. Among the funders of the film are the National Commission on the …

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Act of Faith: The Rev. Emery Andrews Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Circle of life, Family – blessing or curse, Heroism – real and perceived, Love and sacrifice
  • Widely available

Documentary film on Rev. Emery Andrews , a Baptist priest who went beyond the call of duty to aid Japanese Americans from Seattle incarcerated at the Minidoka , Idaho, concentration camp.

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Caught in Between: What to Call Home in Times of War (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Fear of other, Hazards of passing judgment, Importance of community, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Available

Documentary film by Lina Hoshino that looks at parallels between Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Arab and Muslim Americans after 9/11 and at joint activism between the two groups in the months after 9/11.

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Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Circle of life, Family – blessing or curse, Man against nature, Wisdom of experience
  • Limited availability

Documentary film that follows a Japanese American farm family over the course of a year at their Central California farm.

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Leap of Faith: How Enmanji Temple Was Saved (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Evils of racism, Importance of community, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • Available

Documentary short film by Lina Hoshino about a group of white Christian teenagers who guard a California Buddhist temple during World War II in an effort to deter vandalism.

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Starting Over: Japanese Americans After the War (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Rebirth, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Documentary film centering on the return of Japanese Americans to their homes after their exclusion and incarceration in concentration camps.

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Ruth Asawa: Of Forms and Growth (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Nature as beauty, Role of women
  • Available

Documentary profile of Nisei artist Ruth Asawa produced and directed by Robert Snyder. Of Forms and Growth includes footage of Asawa at home, in her garden and at work, and features the artist talking about her artistic influences and techniques. In particular, she highlights the influence of artists Joseph Albers and Buckminster Fuller, and the film includes footage of Asawa and Fuller. She goes on to talk about the various media she has worked with, including ink and oil paintings, wire and paper sculptures, and sculptures made from baker's clay. The film also explores Asawa's community work, particularly in establishing art programs in schools as well as a community arts festival. Photographer Imogen Cunningham talks about photographing Asawa and her family and about Asawa's marriage to Albert Lanier. Asawa's early life—including her wartime incarceration—is covered only briefly, and her later work that is influenced by Japanese American history is not …

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Redress: The JACL Campaign for Justice (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Limited availability

Documentary film produced by Visual Communications for the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in 1991 documenting the JACL's role in the Redress Movement , which had recently culminated in the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 . Written and directed by John Esaki, the film was shown at Days of Remembrances and other events. William Hohri , a frequent critic of the JACL, wrote a letter to Japanese American vernacular papers that compared the video to "how history was manipulated in the old Soviet Union" noting the omission of the corm nobis cases and non-JACL contributors to the movement. In response, Cherry Kinoshita, the JACL's national redress chair, noted the video's goal "to document JACL's role in the redress effort," and not to tell a comprehensive story of redress. [1]

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An American Contradiction (film)

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

Filmmaker Vanessa Yuille goes to visit the Heart Mountain site, where her mother was born, to learn more about its history. Through interviews with former inmates—particularly Bacon Sakatani—and local residents and experts, she provides an overview of the mass removal and incarceration and of life at Heart Mountain. We also see LaDonna Zall, acting curator at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center , lead tour of the site as it is today. The film concludes with Sakatani leading what looks like a local community meeting in a discussion about whether the camp should be called a "concentration camp."

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Resettlement to Redress: Rebirth of the Japanese-American Community (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Rebirth
  • Widely available

Resettlement to Redress was commissioned by KVIE, with station General Manager David Hosley wanting to focus on a part of the Japanese American wartime story that had not been told before. KVIE also produced a viewer's guide to the program that includes lessons to be used with middle school and high school students. Funding for the program was provided by grants from the Henry and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation, Adrian and Monica Yeung Arima, and members of KVIE.

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Diamonds in the Rough (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past, Role of men
  • Widely available

Documentary film on Japanese American baseball that focuses on Kenichi Zenimura (1900–68), a pioneering Issei baseball player and coach in Hawai'i and in Fresno, California. The film includes four main sections. The first looks at Zenimura's prewar baseball exploits, and by extension, Japanese American baseball in general, featuring interviews with those who played with or against him. The next focuses on the World War II incarceration that saw Zenimura and his family sent to the Gila River, Arizona, concentration camp, where he famously built a baseball field. Next, the film looks at the postwar phenomenon of Nisei players going to Japan and becoming stars in the Japanese major leagues, focusing on the most prominent such player, Wally Yonamine. The final segment sees Zenimura's son Howard returning to the site of the Gila River camp and visiting the location of the former barracks and of the baseball field. Actor Noriyuki "Pat" …

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Proof of Loyalty: Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawaii (film)

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

Documentary film on a Nisei war hero from Hawai'i who served with the Military Intelligence Service during World War II.

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The 442nd: Duty, Honor and Loyalty (film)

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

Documentary film on the 442nd Regimental Combat Team . The 442nd: Duty, Honor & Loyalty is a English language version of a 1996 Japanese language documentary produced by Bungei Shunju, Ltd. titled Amerika Dai-442 Hohei Rentai: Nikkei Niseitachi no Dainijin Seikai Taisen . The English language script was by John Dobovan, who also narrated.

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Remembering Manzanar (film)

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

Introductory video at the Manzanar National Historic Site's Visitor Center. Commissioned by the National Park Service and produced by Signature Communications of Huntingtown, Maryland, in 2004, Remembering Manzanar provides a broad overview of the Japanese American wartime forced removal and incarceration based on interviews with a dozen former inmates, along with residents of the area around Manzanar and a teacher at Manzanar. None of the narrators are identified as they talk and none are pictured onscreen. Visuals consists entirely of archival still and moving images, including clips from newsreels and War Relocation Authority films along with home movies shot by inmates; period cartoons and caricatures; period artifacts; and contemporary footage of the Manzanar site. The 22-minute video is shown every half-hour at the Manzanar Visitor Center. No director, editor, or cinematographer is credited.

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Going for Honor, Going for Broke (film)

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

Short 2006 documentary film that gives an overview of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team . Produced, written, directed, narrated & edited by George Toshio Johnston, he film was funded by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program .

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The Bracelet (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 3-5, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Coming of age, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Limited availability

Short educational film that demonstrates the use of a popular children's book in an elementary school classroom. Patty Nagano, a teacher at Bret Harte Elementary School in the Alhambra, California, School District, begins by asking the class—which appears to consist of second or third graders—if they have experienced someone close to them moving away and listens as several children talk about their memories of such an experience. She then briefly explains what happened to Japanese Americans during World War II and reads the Yoshiko Uchida book The Bracelet to the class. As she reads, images of the class and Joanna Yardley's illustrations are augmented by archival photographs of the mass removal and incarceration, along with sound effects. After finishing the book, Nagano engages the class in a series of activities: asking them for their initial reactions to the book and answering questions about her and her family's experience; showing the …

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Most Honorable Son (film)

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

Documentary film that profiles Nisei war hero Ben Kuroki , tracing his life from his Nebraska childhood, his fight to be allowed to serve in the military after the attack on Pearl Harbor, his bombing missions over Europe and Japan, and his visits to American concentration camps in which Japanese Americans were held. Kuroki tells much of the story in his own words, which are augmented by many interviews with crew members who flew with him in both Europe and Japan. In addition to archival footage and photographs, the filmmakers also film reenactments of a few key episodes. Among the incidents highlighted are the dramatic raid on the Ploesti oilfields in what is now Romania, one of Kuroki's last missions in Europe; his speech before the Commonweath Club in San Francisco upon his return; and his visit to the Heart Mountain concentration camp of which inmates Eiichi Sakauye, Jack Tono, …

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Arnold Knows Me: The Tommy Kono Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Role of men
  • Widely available

Documentary film that charts Nisei Tommy Kono 's unlikely rise from a World War II concentration camp to becoming one of America's greatest Olympic style weightlifters.

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442: Live with Honor, Die with Dignity (film)

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

A 2010 documentary film directed by Japanese filmmaker Junichiro Suzuki that tells the story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and other Japanese Americans in the U.S. armed forces during World War II. It is the second film in Suzuki's trilogy of films on the Japanese American World War II experience.

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Day of Remembrance: The First National Ceremony (film)

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

Documentary film of the first national Day of Remembrance commemoration, held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. in 1998. The national ceremony was hosted by George Takei and Tamlyn Tomita and included guest speakers Gordon Hirabayashi , Fred Korematsu , Norman Mineta , Joan Bernstein , Mitsuye Yamada , Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga , and Robert Matsui .

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