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Browse > Media Type > Films and Video

261 articles

The Fence at Minidoka (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Displacement
  • Limited availability

Early documentary film on the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans from the Seattle, Washington, area that may have been the first such film to be produced by a local television station. Barbara J. Tanabe, a young reporter for KOMO in Seattle instigated, wrote, and reported on the program, which first aired on December 7, 1971.

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The Caretaker (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Female roles, Isolation, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Short film about Josey Gerrish, a migrant from Fiji, who serves as the caretaker for 95 year old Haru Tsurumoto in Sonoma County, California. Told through Josey's first-person narrative, we learn that she had hoped to be doctor or nurse, but, like many Fijian woman, had to leave her own family behind to become a caretaker in the U.S. She finds herself immediately drawn to Haru, with the women linked by their outsider status. During World War II, Haru had been among those Japanese Americans forcibly removed and held in concentration camps. In the U.S. without papers, Joesy worries about getting stopped by police and deported.

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Fumiko Hayashida: The Woman Behind the Symbol (film)

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

A 2009 short documentary film about Fumiko Hayashida, a pregnant mother of two who was one of 227 members of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American community who were forced from their homes in March 1942. Hayashida—or at least her image—became immortalized in a photograph taken of her holding her young daughter. First appearing the Seattle Post-Intelligencer , the photograph became one of the iconic images of the roundup. Providing both a biographical portrait of Hayashida and telling the larger story of Bainbridge Island, the film also shows the then 97-year-old Hayashida revisiting the site of the former Minidoka concentration camp in Idaho.

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The Empty Chair (film)

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

Feature length documentary film by Greg Chaney that recounts the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans from Juneau, Alaska, during World War II.

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Relics from Camp: A Video Journey (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Power of the past, Evils of racism
  • Limited availability

Companion film to art installation of the same name produced and directed by artist Kristine Yuko Aono and narrated in her first-person voice. Aono explains the origins of the projects and includes footage of her and her family visiting various former concentration camp sites to collect dirt and artifacts as well as installation of the exhibition in three venues. The film also features three Nisei who contributed objects to the installation talking about the significance of those objects.

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A Tradition of Honor (film)

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

Feature length documentary telling the stories of Japanese American soldiers in the 100th Infantry Battalion , 442nd Regimental Combat Team , and Military Intelligence Service , produced in 2002 by the Go For Broke National Education Foundation.

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My Friends Behind Barbed Wire (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Heroism – real and perceived, Individual versus society
  • Widely available

Short film that tells the story of the Rev. Emery Andrews , pastor of the Japanese Baptist Church in Seattle, and his family and their support of Japanese Americans during their World War II ordeal. The story is largely told through an interview with Brooks Andrews, Emery's son, and through historical photographs, including images from the Andrews family. Brooks provides an overview of the forced removal and incarceration and his childhood recollections of his Nisei friends being taken away. He also recounts the Andrews' family's move to Twin Falls, Idaho, so as to continue to serve the congregation that had been incarcerated at the nearby Minidoka concentration camp and the discrimination they faced from the local community. He also cites parallels to the contemporary treatment of Muslim Americans.

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A Flicker in Eternity (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, Short
  • War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Loss of innocence, Coming of age
  • Widely available

A short documentary film from 2013 by Sharon Yamato and Ann Kaneko about the experiences of a young Nisei named Stanley Hayami , based on his diary and letters. A Nisei teenager incarcerated with his family during World War II at Heart Mountain , Hayami kept a diary documenting his life and thoughts in camp and subsequently as a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team until his death while in combat in Europe just days before Germany surrendered. Filmmakers Yamato and Kaneko tell the story largely in Hayami's own words, voiced by actor Aaron Yoo, as well as those of his older sister Sach, voiced by Amy Hill. The film includes archival photographs and footage and aspiring artist Hayami's own drawings from his diary, often in animated form. The DVD release of the film included interview footage with Hayami family members including Stanley's sister-in-law Miwako Hayami, niece Dawn Hayami, …

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Relocations and Revisions: The Japanese-American Internment Reconsidered (film)

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

Companion video to the 1992 exhibition of art inspired by the wartime exclusion and incarceration at the Long Beach Museum of Art that features interviews with the mostly Sansei artists featured in the exhibition.

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The War (film)

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

Documentary mini-series by Ken Burns on the American experience of World War II. Produced in 2006, The War debuted on public television stations in September 2007, shown in seven roughly two-hour parts. Included in the sprawling documentary is the story of Japanese American forced removal and incarceration as well as the story of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team .

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Democracy Under Pressure: Japanese Americans and World War II (film)

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

Documentary film on the wartime experience of Japanese Americans from the San Diego area, including their exclusion and subsequent incarceration at Santa Anita Assembly Center and Poston , as well as their return home. The story is told through the eyes of former inmates Ruth Takahashi Voorhies (born 1923) and Ben Segawa (born 1930), along with historian Don Estes.

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Citizen Tanouye (film)

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

A 2005 documentary film that tells the story of eight high school students from Torrance High School in California, and their discovery of a school alumnus named Ted Tanouye and his experiences during World War II. A Japanese American soldier of the renowned 442nd Regimental Combat Team who was killed in action and a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient , Technical Sergeant Tanouye and his family were nonetheless incarcerated at the Jerome and Rohwer , Arkansas, concentration camps from 1942–45, without due process. By researching Tanouye's personal history through school yearbooks, newspapers, internet sites and by conducting interviews with Japanese American veterans, the relevance of history and importance of civil liberties becomes tangible for the students, who come to see the parallels between the Japanese American experience during World War II and their own lives and the impact war had on their city.

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442: For the Future (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Role of men, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Limited availability

Docu-drama by Patricia Kinaga that tells the story of the Japanese American World War II experience with a focus on the exploits of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team , through the experiences of four characters.

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Honouliuli: Hawai'i's Hidden Internment Camp (film)

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

Documentary short film on the Honouliuli Internment Camp in central Ō'ahu produced by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i. Interviews and other footage from this film were later incorporated into a broader documentary film, The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i . Ryan Kawamoto wrote, directed, and edited both films.

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Manzanar: Never Again (film)

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

Short film shot at a Manzanar Pilgrimage . Attendees—including former inmates and their descendants—talk about Manzanar , the aftermath of camp, and the evolution of the pilgrimages and the Manzanar National Historic Site as we see scenes of the pilgrimage and the preparations for it. The role of activist Sue Kunitomi Embrey is highlighted in reminiscences of those who knew her; her own words are read by an actress.

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

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

Episode 7003 of the long running California public television television series, California's Gold with Huell Howser . Filmed at the 2004 Manzanar Pilgrimage , this episode profiles two Nisei artists, painter Henry Fukuhara and singer Mary Nomura . Fukuhara is introduced by colleague Al Setton, and two of his paintings from the collection of the Japanese American National Museum are also highlighted. Fukuhara, who was just short of his ninety-first birthday at the time, is interviewed and is shown working on a painting. Nomura, the "Songbird of Manzanar," is interviewed about her singing exploits at Manzanar and is shown performing "The Manzanar Song" at the grand opening of the Manzanar Visitors Center.

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Memories of Place: Clarksburg's Japanese Language School (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Importance of community, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Short documentary film on the Holland Union Gakuen ( Japanese language school ) in Clarksburg, California.

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The Cats of Mirikitani (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Disillusionment and dreams
  • Available

An award-winning documentary film from 2006 about a homeless Nisei artist named Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani and the friendship that develops with filmmaker Linda Hattendorf on the streets of New York.

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Comforting the Afflicted (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Importance of community, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • No availability

Moderated panel discussion led by Phil Shigekuni with four prominent Japanese American Protestant ministers with ties to Los Angeles who were incarcerated during World War II. Three—Rev. Paul Nagano , Rev. John Miyabe, and Bishop Roy Sano—were at the Poston , Arizona, concentration camp, while Rev. Sam Tonomura was a boy in British Columbia caught up in the forced removal of Japanese Canadians during the war. The discussion covers the men's experiences during the war and the role of the church during the incarceration, particularly with regard to issues of "loyalty" and resistance. The men talk about the role of the church in the Redress Movement , in bridging divides in the Japanese American community today, and in the anti-Muslim/Arab climate following the 9/11 attacks. The format of the film largely follows that of a "talking heads" type television program, with the insertion of still historical photographs.

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Mitsuye and Nellie: Asian American Poets (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Female roles, Power of words, Role of women
  • Available

One of the earliest documentaries to broach the topic of Japanese American wartime incarceration, Mitsuye and Nellie profiles Asian American poets Mitsuye Yamada and Nellie Wong, showing them reading their poetry, meeting their family and visiting the Minidoka and Angel Island sites.

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The Music Man of Manzanar (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Optimism – power or folly, Power of the past
  • Widely available

A short documentary film by Brian Tadashi Maeda about Lou Frizzell, who came to the World War II American concentration camp at Manzanar to teach drama and music to the Japanese American high school students who were imprisoned there. The film includes interviews with his former students, who were inspired by Frizell's ability to help the students temporarily forget their circumstances and lose themselves to the beauty and power of music and the joy of being young. The film also includes re-enactments of Manzanar High students performing parts of Frizzell's operetta Loud and Clear . The second half of the film turns its attention to Arnold Maeda, the filmmaker's older brother and a student of Frizzell's who performed in Loud and Clear ; we attend a 2002 ceremony at Santa Monica High School in which Maeda and other Japanese American students receive the diplomas they were denied by the mass …

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The Steel Helmet (film)

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

Dramatic film about infantry soldiers in the Korean War written and directed by Samuel Fuller. One of the ensemble is a Nisei soldier and World War II veteran played by Richard Loo. It is likely the first Hollywood film to note the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II in a disapproving manner.

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The Lost Village of Terminal Island (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Displacement, Immigrant experience, Importance of community, Power of the past
  • Widely available

A 2007 documentary film directed by David Meltzer about Terminal Island , once home for a large and prosperous Japanese American fishing community located near the Port of Los Angeles, California. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 , nearly 3,000 Japanese immigrants and their families who lived at Terminal Island were forced from their homes and into government concentration camps. Most of the original inhabitants of this tight-knit Japanese American village would never return. This film tells the story of childhood memories of growing up on a once idyllic Terminal Island as well as the painful experiences of suspicion, interrogation and incarceration (most Terminal Islanders were sent to the camp at Manzanar ) that the community suffered following the passage of Executive Order 9066. The film also traces the former residents' continuing identification with Terminal Island, noting the reunions that began in 1971 and climaxing with …

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America at its Best: Legacy of Two Nisei Patriots (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism - real and perceived, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • No availability

Documentary film produced and directed by Vince Matsudaira that highlights events honoring the two Medal of Honor recipients from the Seattle area, William Nakamura and James Okubo in 2001. The video was produced by the Nakamura/Okubo Medal of Honor Committee of the Nisei Veterans Committee, Seattle.

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I'll Remember April (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Coming of age, Loss of innocence, Fear of other
  • Available

Dramatic film directed by Bob Clark and written by Mark Sanderson set in April 1942 about four young boys who discover a Japanese sailor. One of the boys is Japanese American, and he and his family also prepare for their imminent forced removal and incarceration. Pat Morita plays the boy's grandfather.

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