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Browse > Media Type > Films and Video

264 articles

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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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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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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Witness: American Heroes (film)

  • Films and Video

Documentary film on the exploits of Nisei soldiers in World War II produced to commemorate their being awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2011. Produced by Content Media Group for KABC, a Los Angeles television station, the film premiered on KABC in November 2011.

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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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Colorado Experience: Amache (film)

  • Films and Video

Documentary film on the Amache , Colorado, concentration camp produced by Rocky Mountain PBS and History Colorado in 2013. The film tells the story of the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans from the West Coast and their subsequent incarceration at Amache in straightforward fashion, using interviews with former inmates May Murakami and Robert Fuchigami and scholars William J. Convery and Bonnie Clark to tell much of story over historic still photographs and moving images largely taken from War Relocation Authority produced films , in particular Japanese Relocation . There is no narrator. The film also includes contemporary footage of the Amache site as well as reflections on the importance of keeping the story of the mass incarceration alive. Though the military service of Japanese Americans from Amache is mentioned, there is no mention of the loyalty questionnaire or of resistance in the camp.

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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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