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Browse > Genre > Documentary

207 articles

Heart Mountain: An All American Town (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Growing up – pain or pleasure, Injustice, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Documentary film on the Heart Mountain , Wyoming, concentration camp written, produced and directed by Raechel Donahue that focuses on the experiences of the children in the camp.

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Crossroads in Nihonmachi (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Displacement, Importance of community, Rebirth
  • Limited availability

A 2006 documentary film by Adrianne Anderson and Tony Sondag about the redevelopment struggle in San Francisco's Japantown. As in other cities on the West Coast, plans for urban renewal disproportionately affected ethnic minorities including Japanese Americans, destroying or diminishing historical Japantowns after World War II. The film traces the history of San Francisco's Nihonmachi, focusing on the eviction of Japanese American residents of San Francisco's Nihonmachi starting in the 1960s—drawing parallels with the 1942 eviction of Japanese Americans under Executive Order 9066 —and 1970s efforts by community members to halt evictions and preserve and reclaim the community and its history. The film covers the 100th anniversary celebration of the community in 2006, while also noting the continuing threats it faces.

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The Untold Story of Ralph Carr and the Japanese: The Fate of 3 Japanese-Americans and the Internment (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Individual versus society, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal
  • Available

Japanese-produced documentary film on Colorado Governor Ralph Carr and his embrace of Japanese Americans during World War II, along with the experiences of three Japanese Americans affected in different ways by his stance.

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Great Grandfather's Drum (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Importance of community, Power of the past, Power of tradition
  • Available

Documentary film that tells the story of Japanese Americans in Maui through the story of Maui Taiko and its founder, Kay Fukumoto.

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Children of the Camps (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Power of words, Self-awareness, Wisdom of experience
  • Widely available

Documentary film that explores the long term impact of the wartime incarceration on those who were children at the time. Much of the film documents a three-day workshop that brings together former child inmates for co-counseling sessions in which they discuss often repressed memories of the incarceration and its aftermath.

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Out of Infamy: Michi Nishiura Weglyn (film)

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

Documentary film profile of Michi Nishiura Weglyn , a Nisei former costume designer and Gila River inmate who wrote the landmark history of the Japanese American exclusion and incarceration, Years of Infamy . The seventeen-minute film, written, produced and directed by Nancy Kapitanoff and Sharon Yamato, includes footage of The Perry Como Show , which Weglyn designed for and also served as a recurring on camera character on, as well as interviews with Weglyn and those who knew her. The film and an associated website were funded in part by grants from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program . Out of Infamy was screened at several film festivals and community events and won a special jury mention at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.

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The Sakai Family of Bainbridge Island (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Family – blessing or curse, Importance of community, Necessity of work, Reunion, Role of women
  • Limited availability

Documentary film on the Sakai family, longtime residents of Bainbridge Island, Washington , based primarily on an interview with Kazuko "Kay" Sakei Nakao.

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Something Strong Within (film)

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

Documentary film by pioneering director Robert A. Nakamura crafted out of amateur home movie footage shot in American concentration camps. Nakamura and producer/writer Karen L. Ishizuka produced Something Strong Within for the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) as a companion piece to the exhibition America's Concentration Camps , curated by Ishizuka, which opened on November 11, 1994.

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The Art of Gaman: The Story Behind the Objects (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Will to survive
  • Widely available

A short documentary film created by Rick Quan in 2010 to accompany the traveling exhibition, The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946 which features arts and crafts created by Japanese American internees while living in World War II concentration camps. The film includes stories about the inmates who created the objects included in the exhibition, as told by their children and grandchildren. It also includes an interview with the exhibition's curator, Delphine Hirasuna, who describes The Art of Gaman' s purpose of celebrating the unique talents of these camp artists and helping people understand the larger story of the Japanese American mass confinement. The DVD release also includes Voices Long Silent , a 1980 short film by Bob Matsumoto, that was also shown in conjunction with The Art of Gaman exhibition.

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Days of Waiting (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, love and sacrifice, injustice
  • Limited availability

An award-winning 1990 documentary film by Steven Okazaki about the life and work of artist Estelle Peck Ishigo , a Caucasian woman who voluntarily entered the Heart Mountain concentration camp in Wyoming during World War II with her Japanese American husband. The film won an Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject in 1991 and The George Foster Peabody Award.

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California's Gold with Huell Howser: Manzanar (film)

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

Episode 4012 of the California public television series features a visit to the Manzanar site with a group of former inmates. Host Huell Howser interviews activist Sue Kunitomi Embrey , who provides some background on Manzanar's history and points out the administration and inmate areas. Archie Miyatake talks about the photographs his father Toyo Miyatake took at Manzanar and displays the camera Toyo had made at Manzanar with a lens he had smuggled into the camp. The rest of the episode focuses on names carved into cement by inmate laborers, with three such laborers—Goro Kurihara, Jiro Matsuyama, and Gimp Izumi—brought back to the camp to see their handiwork for the first time in nearly sixty years.

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Daniel K. Inouye – An American Story (film)

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

Documentary film that covers the life and career of Daniel K. Inouye , Nisei war hero from Hawai'i and nine term U.S. Senator.

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In Time of War (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Circle of life, Displacement, Injustice, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Documentary film on the Japanese American experience in the Pacific Northwest including " voluntary evacuation ," forced removal and confinement, and the debate over military service. Produced by North By Northwest Entertainment for Whitworth College, the project was funded by a grant from the Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program .

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MIS: Human Secret Weapon (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Role of men, Vulnerability of the strong, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Feature length documentary film on the history of Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during World War II. Written and directed by Japanese filmmaker Junichiro Suzuki, MIS: Human Secret Weapon is the third film in Suzuki's trilogy of documentaries on Japanese Americans during World War II.

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Rabbit in the Moon (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Convention and rebellion, Injustice, Power of the past, Role of women
  • Widely available

Documentary film written and directed by Emiko Omori and produced by Omori with her sister Chizuko on Japanese Americans in American concentration camps during World War II that highlights resistance and other lesser told stories. Winner of many awards and screened nationally on public television in 1999, Rabbit in Moon has become one of the most acclaimed and widely viewed feature length documentaries on this topic.

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Main Street, Wyoming: Heart Mountain (film)

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

Episode of the local PBS program Main Street, Wyoming that focuses on Heart Mountain . Originally produced and aired in 1994, it was repackaged with a brief new opening as part of the Main Street, Wyoming Classics series in 2006. Featuring on-camera host Deborah Hammons, the episode includes three segments: : an extended interview with Paul Tsuneishi on his incarceration experience and subsequent military service; a profile of Kaz Uriu, one of the only Heart Mountain inmates to later settle in Wyoming as a farmer, based on an interview with his daughter; and local efforts to build a memorial at the site—which was dedicated in July 1978—featuring interviews with local residents. Produced by Wyoming Public Television, it was funded by the Wyoming Council for the Humanities ad Kennecott Energy. It has been made available online as part of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.

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9066 to 9/11: America’s Concentration Camps Then… and Now? (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Dangers of ignorance, Evils of racism, Wisdom of experience
  • Limited availability

A 2004 documentary film directed by Akira Boch that looks at the World War II expulsion of Japanese Americans into American concentration camps through the contemporary lens of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Immediately following the attacks, there was an instant public backlash against Arab Americans and Muslims. As the United States government fought a "war on terrorism" with no end in sight, its tactics and policies were noticeably reminiscent of the rhetoric and immediate steps taken that led to the mass incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II. The film draws comparisons between the Japanese and Muslim American experiences, provoking questions about immigration, patriotism, equality and the civil rights and liberties of all American citizens, especially during times of national emergency.

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Searchlight Serenade (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art
  • Available

A 2012 documentary film on Japanese American swing dance bands in the World War II concentration camps. Produced by Claire Reynolds for KEET, a Eureka, California, based public television station serving California's northern coast, the hour long documentary debuted on October 30, 2012. The film was funded by grants from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant program, the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program , and the Humboldt Area Foundation (Victor Jacoby Artist Grant).

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Family Gathering (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Family – blessing or curse, Power of the past, Quest for discovery, Self-awareness
  • Available

Documentary film by Lise Yasui that chronicles her exploration of her family's hidden history—especially that of her paternal grandfather, Masuo Yasui —through interviews and family home movies and photographs. One of the most acclaimed films about the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans, Family Gathering was nominated for an Academy Award in 1988.

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Gila River and Mama: The Ruth Mix Story (film)

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

Documentary film that tells the story of the mass removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans through the eyes of Ruth Mix, who as a fifteen year old, accompanied her mother Frida, a teacher, to Gila River and lived among the inmates. Filmmaker Claire Mix is the daughter of Ruth.

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The Ito Sisters (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Evils of racism, Family – blessing or curse, Immigrant experience, Role of women
  • No availability

Documentary on three Nisei sisters from Central California who lived to see their beiju (88th birthday) celebration, exploring their lives to the end of World War II.

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Resistance at Tule Lake (film)

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

Documentary film that tells the story of the Tule Lake concentration camp, with a focus on the post-segregation period, through interviews with former inmates, archival images, and scenes from contemporary pilgrimages .

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Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of O'ahu (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Power of the past, Injustice, Quest for discovery, Immigrant experience
  • Widely available

Short film that tells the story of Japanese Americans on O'ahu who were interned during World War II using a combination of contemporary interviews, historical photographs and footage, and historical reenactments. It is one of a series of four films produced by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i about the internment experience in each of the four counties of Hawai'i as a follow up to the 2012 film The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i .

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Emi (film)

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

Documentary film about a Nisei woman returning to Manzanar and to her prewar community on Bainbridge Island , Washington, for the first time some thirty-five years after being forcibly removed.

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From Hawaii to the Holocaust: A Shared Moment in History (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Evils of racism, Facing darkness, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Documentary film on the men of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion and their encounter with Jewish victims of the Nazi death camps at the end of World War II. The 1993 film was a production of the Hawaii Holocaust Project.

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