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Browse > Media Type > Films and Video

261 articles

From a Silk Cocoon (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Individual versus society, Injustice, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Documentary film recounting the wartime story of a Kibei couple, Itaru and Shizuko Ina and their two young children as reconstructed by their daughter Satsuki Ina. Ina and co-directors Emery Clay III and Stephen Holsapple tell the story largely through the couple's own words in the form of Shizuko's diary and letters to each other when they become separated in the course of their incarceration.

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Ohakamairi: A Visit to the Graves (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Isolation, Power of tradition, Reunion
  • No availability

Short documentary student film by Janice D. Tanaka that focuses on the annual pilgrimages to Manzanar made by Buddhist Rev. Sentoku Maeda. Shot in 16mm black and white while a student at the University of Southern California (USC), Tanaka's film lets Maeda tell his story in his own voice, accompanied by historical photos and footage of Maeda at the Manzanar site. Incarcerated at Manzanar as a young man, he recalls the Buddhist services held there despite administrative opposition. He talks about the "I-re-to" memorial and his promise to visit the graves at Manzanar once the war is over. For the next twenty plus years, he came back to perform memorial services, sometimes alone. The film ends with his recognition of the "young people" who have turned his lonely pilgrimage into a community event starting in 1969.

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Uncommon Courage (film)

  • Films and Video

Uncommon Courage: Patriotism and Civil Liberties is a 2001 documentary film that tells the story of Nisei in the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during World War II. The 86 minute documentary was produced, directed, and written by gayle k. yamada of Bridge Media for KVIE, a public television station in Sacramento, California. The film debuted on KVIE and other public television stations in California on May 31, 2001, and was shown on many other stations later that year. In addition to the full version, there is also an hour long version. Primary funders for the film included the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program , The Freeman Foundation, Jack and Kiyo Hirose, George T. and Sakaye Aratani , and The Henry and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation.

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Enemy Alien (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Dangers of ignorance, Fear of other
  • Widely available

Documentary film by Konrad Aderer on the post-9/11 arrest of Farouk Abel-Muhti, a New York based human right activist, and his two year odyssey of imprisonment, protest, and mistreatment. The case inspires Aderer, a Yonsei , to explore his family's World War II incarceration for the first time, journeying to Cleveland to interview his grandmother, Toyo Takayama, who had gotten married in Tanforan and bore his mother in Topaz . The making of the film as well as Aderer's personal transformation in becoming active in Abel-Muhti's case become part of the story told in the film.

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Honor and Sacrifice: The Roy Matsumoto Story (film)

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

A 2013 documentary film about Japanese American Kibei war hero Roy Matsumoto and his family during World War II, as told through the eyes of his daughter Karen. A decorated linguist with the Military Intelligence Service who was a part of Merrill's Marauders, an American guerrilla unit in Burma, Matsumoto served even though his parents and sisters were living in Hiroshima and three of his Nisei brothers were ultimately conscripted into the Japanese army.

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Camp Amache: The Story of an American Tragedy (film)

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

A 2006 documentary film by Don Dexter about the American concentration camp located in southwest Colorado, where more than 7,000 Japanese Americans were held during World War II. Amache was one of ten camps established in 1942 to incarcerate over 120,000 Japanese Americans who were forced from their West Coast homes. The film mixes interviews and personal stories with historic and contemporary photos and footage of the camp and surrounding area. Some of the featured stories include journalist Bill Hosokawa , author Gil Asakawa, and John Hopper, a teacher at Granada High School, who has incorporated the story of Amache into his curriculum and started the Amache Preservation Society with his students.

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Biography Hawai'i: Koji Ariyoshi (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, Biography
  • Working class struggles, Change versus tradition, Convention and rebellion
  • Widely available

Documentary film that profiles journalist, labor leader, and former Manzanar inmate Koji Ariyoshi . Produced as part of the Biography Hawai'i series, it aired on public television stations in Hawai'i in May 2005.

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Stories from America's Concentration Camps (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Displacement, Evils of racism, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications
  • Limited availability

Filmed presentation by members of Nisei VFW Post 8985, based in Sacramento, on the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans. According to leader Kiyo Sato-Viacrucis , the group had been making such presentations for fourteen years to schools. Joining Sato-Viacrucis are members Kaoru "Kirk" Shibata, Robert Kashiwagi, H. Gary Shiota, Kinya Noguchi, Jim Tanaka, Yoshiro William Matsuhara. The group talk through the core story— Executive Order 9066 and the roundup of Japanese Americans, life in the concentration camps, volunteering for the army from the camps, and the aftermath of the war, ending with the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 —taking turns and often using photographs or other objects to tell the story. The group also tells the story of the formation of their group: how as Nisei veterans, they were not allowed to join existing Veterans of Foreign Affairs groups and thus had to form their own. The roughly …

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The Magic of Ordinary Days (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama, Romance
  • Beauty of simplicity, Love and sacrifice, Role of women
  • Available

Made-for-television movie under the Hallmark Hall of Fame banner about the arranged marriage of an educated urban woman carrying an illegitimate child and a kindly farmer. The film includes a subplot about a friendship between the woman and two Japanese American sisters from Amache who are among the farmworkers.

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The Brighter Side of Dark: Toyo Miyatake, 1895-1979 (film)

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

A 1996 short documentary film by Robert Nakamura about the life and career of Los Angeles photographer Toyo Miyatake . Through Miyatake's personal and artistic life (he was very much engaged with other modernists of the 1920s and '30s), the film reveals the vibrant artistic and intellectual milieu of Los Angeles's Little Tokyo district prior to World War II as well as the impact Executive Order 9066 and Miyatake's wartime incarceration had on his artistic career. Using a camera lens that he smuggled into the camp at Manzanar where he was incarcerated, Miyatake reconstructed a camera and eventually became the official camp photographer, producing iconic images of camp life and the landscape of the Eastern Sierras. After the war, Miyatake was able to reconstruct his photography business and resume work at his studio in Little Tokyo. For generations, he was the community's most trusted portrait photographer, enlisted for weddings, graduations, …

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Justice Now! Reparations Now! (film)

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

Documentary film on the Redress Movement focusing on the contributions of the National Coalition for Redress/Reparations (NCRR), which produced it. The film provides a brief overview of the wartime incarceration, with a focus on resistance by Japanese Americans in and out of confinement. It then traces the roots of NCRR to 1960s social movements and the rise of redress as an issue in Japanese American communities in the 1970s, outlining NCRR's "grass roots" orientation. Footage from the Los Angeles hearings of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians—which NCRR helped to organize—and well as excerpts of speeches by Norman Mineta and Robert Matsui in support of redress legislation are also included. The film culminates with footage of NCRR's July 1987 trip to Washington, DC, to lobby for redress legislation and with the passage and signing what would become the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 . Alan Kondo produced …

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Double Solitaire (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Literary Fiction
  • Limited availability

A 1997 documentary film that uses the motif of games to examine how the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans affected the lives of two "ordinary" people, the filmmaker's Sansei uncles Norm and Stan. Described as "all American" guys who lived in the Amache concentration camp as children, they don't believe that the experience affected them much. However, subsequent conversations and reflections reveal otherwise. Winner of the SECA Award in the Media Arts and King Hu Award, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film & Video Festival in 1998. Directed, produced and written by Corey Ohama.

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Valor with Honor (film)

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

Documentary film by Burt Takeuchi that tells the story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team . Eschewing a narrator, the film is built around the thirty-five interviews with veterans Takeuchi conducted and also includes brief reenactments of battle scenes that were shot at Sequoia Paintball Park in Santa Cruz, California. Valor With Honor tells the story in largely chronological fashion, starting with prewar life, the impact of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the roundup of Japanese Americans on the West Coast before getting to induction and basic training, combat in Italy, the rescue of the Lost Battalion , the liberation of Dachau sub camps, and the return to postwar society. Much of the running time focuses on the Rescue of the Lost Battalion and includes interviews with members of the 141st, the men who were rescued. The 86-minute film was completed in 2010 and has been screened widely across …

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A Song for Ourselves (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, Short
  • Limited availability

2009 documentary film by writer/director Tadashi Nakamura on the life and work of activist, singer/songwriter, and legal scholar Chris Iijima . The 35 minute film profiles Iijima, starting with footage from his memorial services in Los Angeles, New York and Honolulu, then traces his life from his birth and upbringing in New York, the son of Nisei parents who had resettled there from the concentration camps; his politicization and activism there; the evolution of his singing, songwriting, and musical partnership with Nobuko Miyamoto and "Charlie" Chin; his work as a schoolteacher in New York and meeting his future wife Jean; his decision to go to law school and become a legal scholar, which necessitated moving his family to Hawai'i and teaching at the Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai'i; and his premature death of a rare disease at age 57 in 2005. The documentary is built around …

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Return to the Valley: Japanese American Experience After WWII (film)

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

Documentary film that tells the story of Japanese Americans returning to the Santa Clara, Salinas and Pajaro Valleys and the Central Coast after World War II. Produced by KTEH, a San Jose public television station, Return to the Valley was the first episode of an anthology series titled Voices of the Valley and debuted in 2003. It received a region Emmy Award in 2004 for "Outstanding Community Program."

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Jimmy Murakami-Non Alien (film)

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

Documentary film about the expatriate Nisei artist and animator Jimmy T. Murakami, focusing on his and his family's wartime incarceration at Tule Lake and his return to Tule Lake as part of the 2009 pilgrimage . The film mixes live action footage set in the film's present with animated segments recalling the eight-year-old Jimmy's experiences in camp and also notes his formative years, his Hollywood career, and his life as an expatriate in Ireland. The film was produced in Ireland by Loop Line Film and directed by Sé Merry Doyle. It has screened in numerous film festivals in both Europe and the United States.

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Prisoners and Patriots (film)

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

Feature length documentary film on the Santa Fe detention camp. Produced, directed, and written by Neil H. Simon, Prisoners and Patriots is built around interviews of five former Sante Fe inmates, along with inmate family members, others who remember the camp, and those who have studied it. A former broadcast journalist, Simon began the film in 2005 after discovering the camp while working as a reporter in New Mexico. The film premiered in April of 2011 at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in Portland and was featured in Day of Remembrance related events in 2012 in Sacramento and San Francisco.

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To Be Takei (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Empowerment, Everlasting love, Injustice, Optimism – power or folly, Rights - individual or societal
  • Widely available

Documentary film that profiles actor George Takei and his husband and manager Brad Takei, capturing both their pasts and their daily lives today.

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After Silence: Civil Rights and the Japanese American Experience (film)

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

Documentary film that focuses on the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans from Bainbridge Island, Washington , as recounted through the perspective of Dr. Frank Kitamoto, who was a child during World War II. The story is told through interaction between Kitamoto and a small group of high school students from Bainbridge High School as they develop archival photographs from the incarceration and discuss its relevance to post 9/11 America. The film ends with the 2002 dedication of a memorial and plaque marking the site of the Bainbridge Islanders' departure. After Silence was produced by the Bainbridge Island Historical Society as part of an exhibition on the community's World War II experience, with funding from the Washington State Civil Liberties Public Education Program and the Charles W. Gaugl Foundation.

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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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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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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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