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Browse > Interest Level > Grades 9-12

531 articles

When Military Necessity Overrides Constitutional Guarantees: The Treatment of Japanese Americans During World War II (curricula)

  • Curricula
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Evils of racism, Immigrant experience, Injustice, Rights - individual or societal, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

This curriculum guide examines the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans through the lens of its constitutional merit. It should be noted that it was published in 1982, and it contains terminology that in 2017 is considered inappropriate and/or offensive in the use of "Oriental" versus Asian or Asian American. In addition, many of the suggested classroom materials are outmoded (filmstrips) or out of print and may be difficult to access. The guide refers to a "media kit" which may have been available when the guide was first published.

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Aleut Evacuation: The Untold War Story (film)

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

Documentary film that tells the story of the forced removal and incarceration of the Aleut people from their ancestral Alaskan homes to detention camps in southwest Alaska during World War II. Based on interviews with surviving inmates and their descendants and on historical photographs and documents, Aleut Evacuation proceeds in largely chronological fashion, starting with a brief portrait of the Aleut community prior to the war, then covering their forcible removal by the U.S. government—ostensibly for their own protection in the face of possible Japanese attack—and their subsequent incarceration in several different camps. Focusing first on the largest camp, Funter Bay, which held those from the Pribilof Islands, it also considers a camp on Killisnoo Island where those from Atka were held, along with Ward Lake, where those from smaller villages were incarcerated. Former inmates remember the poor and harsh conditions in the camps and the rampant health problems they …

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A Lesson in American History: The Japanese American Experience, Curriculum and Resource Guide, 5th Edition (curricula)

  • Curricula
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fear of other, Injustice, Rights, War

Created by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), this 150-page guide for teachers is a comprehensive resource focused on the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans. It provides historical information, a timeline, an annotated listing of K-12 resource materials (books, audio and visual works, websites, museum exhibits, agencies and organizations), K-6 and 7-12 lesson plans, and an appendix of various primary source materials. The content also covers other historic events when the government restricted the rights of individual citizens in favor of national security, including the story of Arab and Muslim Americans in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

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From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Heroism - real and perceived, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Displacement, Evils of racism
  • Available

Exhibition on the Japanese American incarceration and on Japanese Americans in the U.S. armed forces during World War II at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana. Barbed Wire to Battlefields opened in the Joe W. and D. D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery on March 15, 2014, and ran through October 12, 2014. The exhibition featured the photographs of Dorothea Lange , Ansel Adams , and Bill Mambo along with objects and video interviews. In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum put on a slate of public programs including book events, lectures, and film screenings, and incorporated curricular material and a webinar aimed at school children. The exhibition was funded in part by the the Annenberg Foundation and the Eugenie and Joseph Jones Family Foundation. The National World War II Museum opened in New Orleans in 2000 at the National D-Day Museum.

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Interactions (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past
  • No availability

A 2000 film that chronicles the experiences of four high school students, who are given four days to find out about Japanese American teenagers in U.S. concentration camps during World War II. Equipped with a phone and a computer, Kiet, Christina, Miguel and Lluvia interview former inmates and visit the site of one of the camps, while contemplating the meaning of the wartime incarceration and its relevance to the present.

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Encounter with the Past: American Japanese Internment in World War II (film)

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

A 1980 documentary film on the history of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans at Manzanar , produced and directed by Tak Shindo , a Nisei musician and composer, best known for his albums from the jazz exotica music era and television soundtrack work. The film is built around color footage of the camp taken by Aksel Nielson, the director of recreation at Manzanar. Narrated by Shindo, the film includes his own experiences at Manzanar, military service, and subsequent musical career. Though he had passed away prior to the making of the film, Nielson's voice can be heard describing scenes of sporting events and gardens at Manzanar, and his wife, Melva Nielson, a music teacher at Manzanar, is interviewed at length on camera. Among those appearing in the film are Military Intelligence Service veteran Yukio Tamura, artist Estelle Ishigo , photographer Toyo Miyatake , nursery owner Shinobu Mashiko, …

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Beyond Barbed Wire (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Role of men, Disillusionment and dreams
  • Available

A 1997 documentary film on the Japanese American soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion , the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service who fought for the United States during World War II while some of their families were held in concentration camps. The film is based on interviews with numerous veterans as well as with their wives and adult children. Among topics touched on in Beyond Barbed Wire are friction between men from Hawai'i and the continental U.S. during basic training; the unusual story of Korean American Colonel Young O. Kim; the rescue of the Lost Battalion , and the continuing legacy of the veterans for their families. One unique aspect of the film is its treatment of the controversy over the role of Major General John Dahlquist , whom some veterans feel used the Nisei as "cannon fodder." In telling the story of the mass incarceration, …

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If Tomorrow Comes (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Love and sacrifice, Evils of racism
  • Available

Made for television movie that tells the story of a Romeo and Juliet type romance between a Nisei man and a white woman against the backdrop of World War II. Produced by Aaron Spelling Productions, "If Tomorrow Comes" debuted on CBS on December 7, 1971. It was directed by George McCowan from a teleplay by Lew Hunter and starred former child star Patty Duke opposite newcomer Frank Liu. The movie was originally titled "My Husband, the Enemy," with protests by the Asian American community leading to a name change.

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Stone, Bow, Prayer (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Poetry
  • Available

Sansei poet Amy Uyematsu's fourth book of poetry, organized in twelve sections, each representing a month in the ancient Chinese lunar calendar that Japan adopted in the seventh century A.D.

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Nikkei Style (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Change versus tradition, Importance of community, Power of tradition, Quest for discovery
  • Limited availability

Personal essay on being Japanese American by Sansei filmmaker Steven Okazaki , narrated in his first person voice. Beginning his journey at a family mochizuki event in Oxnard, California, he explores his family history, taking us to the house he grew up in in Venice, California, and telling us what he knows of his mother's and father's families, including their World War II incarceration (his mother went to Santa Anita , then Amache , his father to Heart Mountain ) and featuring a brief interview with his mother. In search of more information about his father's side, he goes to Japan to visit a distant cousin and to Hawai'i to visit one of his father's old army buddies, from whom he learns much. The film ends with footage from various bon dances in Hawai'i and the continental U.S, which Okazaki cites as a living symbol of being Japanese American. Along …

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Snapshot, 1944 (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Power of silence, Power of the past, Wisdom of experience
  • Limited availability

Short story by David Mas Masumoto told in the first person voice of a Sansei young adult reflecting on the meaning of an old snapshot of his father's family taken at Gila River in 1944. The occasion is the funeral of his Uncle George, killed as an American soldier in the war . In the photo, the narrator's grandfather holds a flag and his grandmother holds a picture of George, while his father and aunts and uncles stand uneasily to the side. The narrator writes in turn about the postwar fates of his grandfather, who died before he was born; his grandmother, who lives with the family, but suffers from dementia; and his father, who struggled to buy a farm after the war and now grows raisins and other crops on eighty acres. Each in his her own way remains as silent to the narrator as in the photograph.

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The Service Flags (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Evils of racism, Heroism—real and perceived, Individual versus society, Loss of innocence, Self-reliance
  • Widely available

Short story by Bill Hosokawa about the first days of resettlement of a young mother and her nine-year-old son. Helen Yamano and her son Jamie arrive in an unspecified city, and she hangs two flags, one for her brother who had been killed, presumably as an Military Intelligence Service linguist, and one for her husband, who is serving in Europe in the 442nd . Her first days on the job are difficult, as one of her co-workers makes trouble for her. Jamie is called a "Jap" by one of the boys on his first day of school. Helen tells him that like his father, he needs to fight to be accepted, and the next day he does.

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The Legacy of a Cemetery (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Reunion, Wisdom of experience
  • Limited availability

First person reflections on a trip back to his hometown of Los Angeles by a man who had settled in New Jersey after leaving the Jerome , Arkansas, concentration camps some thirty years earlier. A visit to Evergreen Cemetery east of downtown Los Angeles brings back memories of his forced removal in 1942, remembrances of Nisei soldiers he knew who are buried there, and memories of his deceased family members.

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Uncle Gunjiro's Girlfriend (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Evils of racism, Power of the past, Reunion, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • Limited availability

Performance piece that incorporates storytelling, music, dance, and multimedia elements to expose the secret of Brenda Wong Aoki's family: her great-uncle's marriage to a white woman and the subsequent split in the family.

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Beacon Hill Boys (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Convention and rebellion, Family – blessing or curse, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Identity crisis, Power of tradition
  • Available

Novel for young adults by Ken Mochizuki about a Sansei teenager's quest for identity and meaning in 1972 Seattle.

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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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A Stone Cried Out: The True Story of Simple Faith in Difficult Days

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Change versus tradition, Faith versus doubt, Forgiveness, Identity crisis, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice
  • Available

A Christian minister reflects on his life, including the difficult years he and his family spent in wartime concentration camps.

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Take What You Can Carry (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Young Adult
  • Coming of age, Individual versus society, Vulnerability of the strong, Wisdom of experience
  • Widely available

The lives of two older teen boys, Kyle and Ken, alternate stories in the graphic novel Take What You Can Carry (2012) by Kevin C. Pyle. Although experienced a generation apart, the stories of these two teens merge into a complete story of healing and redemption.

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Thin Wood Walls (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Evils of racism, Loss of innocence, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Children's book by David Patneaude that follows a Japanese American boy and his family as they are forcibly removed from their Washington state home and sent to the Tule Lake concentration camp during World War II.

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My Name Is Yoshiko (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Names – power and significance, Optimism – power or folly, Role of women, Working class struggles
  • Available

Memoir of an ordinary Nisei woman that includes her wartime incarceration in American concentration camps. Yoshiko Kawaguchi (born in 1921) was the eldest daughter in a farm family in Downey, California. After attending sewing school, World War II hits and the family ends up in the horse stalls of Santa Anita , then in the Rohwer , Arkansas, concentration camp. Resettling in Michigan, she eventually gets a job at a fancy restaurant. She meets and marries a Nisei from Kaua'i and settles in Chicago, where her sisters and parents also eventually settle. Her husband becomes a mail carrier, and they adopt a girl. Later, they move to back to Downey and retire in Kaua'i.

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Kubota (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Power of silence, Wisdom of experience
  • Available

Short story/essay centering on the author's maternal grandfather, whom everyone called by his last name, Kubota. A Kibei from Hawai'i, Kubota had graduated high school in Hiroshima before returning to become a successful shopkeeper and community leader—as well as an avid fisherman—on Ō'ahu's North Shore prior to the war. Arrested by the FBI on the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Kubota was one of the relatively fortunate ones, having been taken to Honolulu for questioning, but released after just a few days. Years later, Kubota lives with the author's family in Gardena, California, and repeatedly tells the teenager his World War II story, urging him not to forget it and to be his chronicler. The author is puzzled to find that other Japanese Americans not only didn't care to hear this story but were very reluctant to talk about their wartime exclusion and incarceration. After his grandfather's death, …

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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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A Boy No More (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Young Adult, History
  • Coming of age, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Widely available

A 2004 young adult novel by Harry Mazer about Adam Pelko, who is torn between grieving his father, who died on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 , and his feelings of loyalty towards his Japanese American best friend, Devi, whose own father has been arrested and taken to the War Relocation Authority camp in Manzanar, California. When Devi asks Adam to help him find his father, Adam is faced with a moral conflict: should he risk both his own safety and his friendship in order to do what is right? He is also still deeply affected by the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the urge to scapegoat the Japanese Americans, despite his urge to help and defend his friend.

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