Join us in celebrating Densho's 25th anniversary by attending our free virtual gala on October 23rd and by considering a tribute gift. Learn more at www.densho.org/25gala
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar

Browse > Media Type > Films and Video

264 articles

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, …

View

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.

View

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.

View

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 .

View

Snow Falling on Cedars (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Fear of other, Lost love, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Film based on the popular novel by David Guterson set in a small island village in Washington state about a young white newspaper publisher covering the postwar murder trial of a Japanese American fisherman. Flashback scenes depict the forced removal of Japanese Americans and their wartime incarceration. Directed by Scott Hicks from a screenplay by Hicks and Ronald Bass, Snow Falling on Cedars garnered an academy award nomination for its cinematographer, Robert Richardson.

View

Pilgrimage (film)

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

Documentary film that traces the origins of the first Manzanar pilgrimage in 1969 and links it to the 2005 pilgrimage and to efforts to uphold the rights of Arab and Muslim Americans after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The film includes interviews with many of the organizers of the 1969 pilgrimage and archival footage and photographs of that event and of related events from that time. Directed and edited by Tadashi Nakamura, the film was a production of the Center for EthnoCommunications of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center in 2008. The film is dedicated to the memory of Sue Kunitomi Embrey , who passed away in 2006. It was funded in part by grants from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Fund, the UCLA in LA Center for Community Partnerships, the California Wellness Foundation, and the Center for Asian American Media.

View

Our American Family: The Furutas (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Injustice, Importance of community
  • Available

Episode of the television series Our American Family that focuses on a Japanese American family from Southern California. The episode premiered in February 2015.

View

One-Two-One-Seven (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Family – blessing or curse, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Documentary film by Brett Kodama about the experiences of his grandmother, Sharon Shizuko Okazaki Kodama, at Manzanar . Just three years old when she and her family were forcibly removed from their Southern California home and sent to Manzanar, Okazaki Kodama's Issei father killed her Kibei mother in September 1942. She and her older sister spent the rest of the war at the Manzanar Children's Village , the camp orphanage. They were raised after the war by an aunt and uncle in Washington state. Okazaki Kodama recalls her memories of the camp and the orphanage, talks about her parents' deaths and reflects on the impact on the incarceration over visuals that include archival photographs and footage, photographs from her own family album, and images of the Manzanar National Historic Site today. The title refers to the Okazaki's family number at Manzanar.

View

On the Go: Little Tokyo (film)

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

Segment of Jack Linkletter's On the Go television show set in Little Tokyo that focuses on the wartime incarceration and its aftermath. Linkletter interviews three Japanese Americans on the sidewalks of Little Tokyo: Eiji Tanabe (referred to only as "Mr. Tanabe"), a Nisei businessman who had been active in the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) before and after the war; Mr. Shimizu, the Issei owner of Asahi Shoe Store; and John Aiso , then a municipal court judge. In Tanabe's segment, the longest, he describes his work for the JACL (which is not referred to by name), the loss of his hotel businesses—for which he received token compensation through the Evacuation Claims Act —and his " voluntary evacuation " to his hometown of Spokane, before returning to Los Angeles and starting a travel business. Shimizu describes in halting English his arrest on the night of December 7 and subsequent internment …

View

Seed: The Life of the Rice King and His Kin (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Circle of life, Immigrant experience, Individual versus society, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Wisdom of experience
  • Widely available

Japanese produced documentary film on Issei rice farming pioneer Keisaburo Koda and the family business he founded in Dos Palos, California.

View

The Bitter Memory: America's Concentration Camps (film)

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

Early film that provides an overview of the wartime forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans on the West Coast produced by the University of California, Berkeley in 1975. Bitter Memory tells the story through narration and interviews with former inmates accompanied by archival footage from Office of War Information/War Relocation Authority (WRA) films and WRA still photos. All footage—even contemporary interview footage and footage shot at Tule Lake —is in black and white. Identified inmate narrators include poet and playwright Hiroshi Kashiwagi , Mary Otani, Michi Mukai, and Kumito Ishida. The bulk of the film deals with living conditions in the concentration camps—the lack of privacy, the breaking up of the family unit, employment, food and so forth—along with the loyalty questionnaire and segregation . The film is also known as Bitter Memories: Tule Lake , even though only the last few minutes of the film focus on Tule …

View

From Bullets to Ballots (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Quest for power, Role of men, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Documentary film on Japanese Americans from Hawai'i as part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and their role in the political realignment of Hawai'i after the war. From Bullets to Ballots was one of three short films directed by Robert A. Nakamura and produced by Karen L. Ishizuka in conjunction with From Bento to Mixed Plate: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in Multicultural Hawai'i, an exhibition produced by the Japanese American National Museum in 1997.

View

You Don't Know Jack: The Jack Soo Story (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Available

Feature-length documentary film on singer and actor Jack Soo . Based on interviews with friends and colleagues along with many clips from his film and television appearances, You Don't Know Jack also covers his time at Tanforan and Topaz during World War II.

View

Winter in My Soul (film)

  • Films and Video

Documentary film about Heart Mountain produced by KTWO, a commercial TV station based in Casper, Wyoming. Produced in 1986, it was one of the first to focus on a specific camp and was notable for including the story of the draft resistance movement at Heart Mountain. The title comes from a poem written by Heart Mountain inmate Miyuki Aoyama and published in the camp newspaper, the Heart Mountain Sentinel .

View

Dear Miss Breed (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, importance of community
  • Limited availability

A 2000 short documentary film by Veronica Ko about San Diego children's librarian Clara Breed , whose wartime correspondence with Japanese American youth she had befriended before the war became an unlikely source of hope and courage when the children were sent to American concentration camps. The film, which is hosted by actor Marcus Toji, includes excerpts from some of the 250 letters Miss Breed received from the Japanese American children. The film was created and produced in conjunction with an exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum of the same title. The film was recognized with numerous awards including the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film & Digital Media, Council on Foundations, 2002; the 34th Annual Worldfest Houston, Grand Prize nomination, Special Gold Jury Award, Historical, 2001; and the Columbus International Film & Video Festival, Honorable Mention, 2000.

View

An American History: Resettlement of Japanese Americans in Greater Cleveland (film)

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

Oral history-based documentary centering on Japanese Americans who resettled in Cleveland after leaving the concentration camps. Directed by Greg Petusky and Johnny Wu, the film was funded in part by a grant from the Japanese American Citizen's League's National Endowment Fund. It debuted at a screening at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on April 8, 2000.

View

Yankee Samurai (film)

  • Films and Video

Israeli produced film on the exploits of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team told through archival footage, interviews, and contemporary footage of battle locations, including scenes of veterans returning to the Vosges Mountains in France for the unveiling of a monument. The 50-minute film was written and directed by Katriel Schory. Film historian Glen M. Mimura refers to it as one of "the two most prominent internment documentaries of the 1980s," along with Loni Ding's The Color of Honor . [1]

View

Here, in America? (film)

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

Short documentary film that presents highlights from the Assembly on Wartime Relocation & Internment of Civilians, held in San Francisco in April 2005. The event included the public testimony of persons of Japanese, German, and Italian ancestry about the World War II era internment/incarceration and persons of Arab, Muslim or South Asian descent about post-9/11 detentions. In addition to excepts of the testimonies, the film includes historical background on the World War II detentions along with historical photographs and footage. Testimonies highlighted include Buddy Fujii (statement read by Bill Sato); Victor Kimura; Libia Yamamoto; Art Shibayama; Angelica Higashide (statement read by Naomi Quinones); Doris Berg Nye (statement read by Carole Eiserloh); Ted Eckardt (statement read by Bruce Donald); Constanza Ilacqua Foran; Al Bronzini; John Christgau; Lawrence DiStasi; Yaman Hamdan; and Xavier Becerra.

View

The Nisei: The Pride and the Shame (film)

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

Documentary film centering on the Japanese American wartime experience that was part of CBS television's weekly The Twentieth Century series. The half-hour episode was the first retrospective documentary on the wartime exclusion and incarceration experience.

View

Island Roots (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Change versus tradition, Rebirth
  • Widely available

Short documentary film on the Filipino American community on Bainbridge Island, Washington from the migration of the first immigrants in the late 1920s to the present day. Many came to Bainbridge to serve as farm laborers on strawberry farms run by Japanese Americans. During World War II, when Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from Bainbridge and the entire West Coast, many turned their farms over to their Filipino American farmhands to mange in their absence. As a result, many Japanese American farmers were able to return to intact farms after the war. Some Filipino Americans were able to use this as a jumping off point to owning their own farms after the war. The film concludes with the restoration of the Filipino American community hall on Bainbridge and the return of the Strawberry Festival that serve as the center of the community in the present.

View

The Red Pines: Japanese-Americans on Bainbridge Island (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Displacement, Power of tradition, Rebirth
  • Widely available

Short film about the Japanese American community of Bainbridge Island, Washington . The twelve-minute film produced and directed by Lucy Ostrander provides a brief history of the community going back to the late 1800s, covers their wartime eviction and incarceration, and includes scenes from a contemporary mochitsuki , the traditional pounding of rice cakes to mark the new year. The story is largely told through Junkoh Harui, a Nisei , who recounts his Japanese immigrant father's arrival on Bainbridge to work in a sawmill before starting a number of businesses, including a store and Bainbridge Gardens. Other interviewees include Fumiko Hayashida, a woman famous for a photograph of her and her young daughter being forcibly removed during World War II; Hayashida later became the subject of another short documentary by Ostrander and her production partner Don Sellers. The title of the film comes from the Japanese red pine trees that …

View

The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i (film)

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

Documentary film produced by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i (JCCH) in 2012 that provides an overview on the internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i during World War II—both those held in camps in the continental U.S. and those held in Hawai'i camps—as well as contemporary efforts to preserve the Hawai'i sites today.

View

Dave Tatsuno: Movies and Memories (film)

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

Documentary film on Dave Tatsuno (1913–2006), a Nisei best known for the home movie footage he shot while incarcerated at the Topaz , Utah, concentration camp. Produced by KTEH, a San Jose-based public television station (now KQED), the hour-long documentary is based largely on interviews with Tatsuno and members of his family, along with family photos and clips from his home movies from before, during, and after the war. The film includes a lengthy excerpt from Tatsuno's Topaz Memories . The 2006 production was funded by the Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation, directed by Scott Gracheff, and produced by Christina Lim.

View

When You're Smiling: The Deadly Legacy of Internment (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Family – blessing or curse, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Identity crisis, Power of the past
  • Available

Autobiographical film by Janice D. Tanaka about growing up Sansei in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s amidst parental silence about their wartime incarceration. It was one of several films about aspects of the incarceration funded by the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund .

View

Time of Fear (film)

  • Films and Video

Documentary film that provides an overview of the Japanese American World War II incarceration experience with a focus on the two camps in Arkansas, Jerome and Rohwer . The film was commissioned as part of the Life Interrupted project of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the Japanese American National Museum and was produced by Ambrica Productions with Sue Williams writing and directing it. The primary funders of the film included the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council, the Arkansas Humanities Council, and the Department of Arkansas Heritage. The hour long film made its national PBS debut in May of 2005.

View