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Browse > Theme > Immigrant experience

58 articles

A Time Remembered: The Terminal Island Story (film)

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

Documentary film on the Japanese American community on Terminal Island , a fishing village of the Southern California coast that was the first such community to excluded en masse in February 1942.

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Justice Denied: A History of the Japanese in the United States (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • History, Children's
  • Evils of racism, Immigrant experience, Injustice, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Limited availability

Early overview of the history of Japanese Americans for young readers by British author/activist Jennifer Cross.

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Civil Rights and Japanese-American Internment (curricula)

  • Curricula
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Expression through art, Immigrant experience, Individual versus society, Injustice, Overcoming, Patriotism, Rights, War

Developed in 2000 by the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) and the Institute for International Studies (IIS) at Stanford University, this high school/college curriculum module presents civil rights in the context of the Japanese-American experience from immigration in the early 20th century to World War II, and on through more contemporary issues of redress, reparations and memorializing the incarceration. Organized into six lessons, this curriculum can provide up to three weeks of stand-alone instruction or select lessons can be used to augment U.S. history textbook coverage.

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The Issei Prisoners of the San Pedro Internment Center (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Immigrant experience, Injustice, Losing hope, Power and corruption, Will to survive
  • Available

Novel by Stanley N. Kanzaki about Issei internees at the fictional San Pedro Internment Camp in New Mexico.

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The Japanese in America (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5
  • History
  • Empowerment, Evils of racism, Immigrant experience, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Available

Overview book for children on the history of Japanese Americans from the 1860s to the 1990s. First published in 1967 as one of the first books for children on Japanese Americans, it saw revised versions in 1974 and 1991.

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The Ito Sisters (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Evils of racism, Family – blessing or curse, Immigrant experience, Role of women
  • No availability

Documentary on three Nisei sisters from Central California who lived to see their beiju (88th birthday) celebration, exploring their lives to the end of World War II.

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Imprisoned Apart: The World War II Correspondence of an Issei Couple (book)

  • Books
  • Non Fiction
  • Displacement, Facing darkness, Facing reality, Immigrant experience, Isolation, Will to survive
  • Available

An intimate history of one Issei couple's experience of World War II, including transcriptions of the letters they sent each other when they were incarcerated apart.

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Honoring Alameda's Japanese American History (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Importance of community, Immigrant experience, Role of Religion – virtue or hypocrisy
  • Limited availability

Conventional documentary on the history of the Japanese American community in Alameda, California, that is more or less equally divided between the prewar years and wartime incarceration/aftermath. Perhaps due to sponsorship by the Buddhist Temple of Alameda and the Buena Vista United Methodist Church, there is a focus on the history and activities of those two institutions throughout. While the first half is specifically on the Japanese American community in Alameda and is thus somewhat unique, the section on the wartime removal and incarceration is more general and thus repeats information that can be found elsewhere.

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An Internment Odyssey: Haisho Tenten (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Immigrant experience, Nationalism – complications, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Will to survive
  • Widely available

An Internment Odyssey: Haisho Tenten is the third book in a series published by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i and University of Hawai'i Press of a Hawai'i inmate's account of their incarceration experience during World War II. It represents a critical addition to Japanese American history as it provides the perspective of an Issei from Hawai'i who authorities incarcerated at multiple sites in the Islands and the mainland. The author, Kumaji Furuya , thus gives voice to some of the experiences faced by the 1,320 inmates from Hawai'i who like Furuya were often separated from their families for the duration of the war.

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Mary Osaka, I Love You (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Everlasting love, Immigrant experience, Nationalism – complications
  • Widely available

Short story by acclaimed writer John Fante about the love between a Filipino American immigrant man and a Nisei woman that takes place in Los Angeles as World War II breaks out. A part of Fante's intended novel on Filipino Americans, it was first published in Good Housekeeping magazine in October 1942.

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Hawaii, End of the Rainbow (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Immigrant experience, Injustice, Will to survive, Working class struggles
  • Available

Kazuo Miyamoto (1897–1988) was a Nisei doctor and author who was interned at various incarceration camps for the duration of World War II as a result of the publication of his observations during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). During his incarceration at Sand Island , Miyamoto began writing Hawaii, End of the Rainbow , which took him seventeen years to complete. Although a fictional account of the experiences of Japanese immigrants spanning nearly seventy years from their arrival in the Islands to World War II, it provides key insights from a participant in these important events.

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Harsh Canvas: The Art and Life of Henry Sugimoto (film)

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

A 2001 biographical documentary film on the life and work of Issei artist Henry Sugimoto , based on the artist's memoirs and testimony before the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians . The film highlights Sugimoto's art through archival and contemporary footage and follows his life's journey from immigration to his incarceration with his family during World War II in Arkansas, and postwar relocation to New York. Actor Mako narrates the film in the voice of Sugimoto. Interviews with his daughter Madeleine Sugimoto and sister-in-law Naomi Tagawa provide additional information on his life, while fellow artist George Mukai and curators Kristine Kim and Stephanie Barron discuss the significance of his work.

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A Grain of Sand (album)

  • Albums
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Contemporary Folk
  • Evils of racism, Immigrant experience, Injustice
  • Widely available

Originally produced and released in 1973 by Paredon Records, A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggle by Asians in America by folk trio Chris Kando Iijima , Nobuko JoAnne Miyamoto , and William "Charlie" Chin is widely recognized to be the first album of Asian American music. The record is a combination of folk songs, political ballads and protest songs. The music was written, performed and recorded at the height of the Asian American, black, and anti-war movements in the early '70s by New York musicians and activists Iijima, Miyamoto, and Chin, who were then in their twenties and early thirties. The original album includes artwork by Arlan Huang/Artist Resource Basement Workshop on the album jacket and liner notes with a political statement by the musicians, lyrics, and a list of Asian American publications from the era. One of the songs, "We Are the Children," is likely the first …

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Living in Color: The Art of Hideo Date (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Art, History
  • Expression through art, Injustice, Immigrant experience
  • Available

Retrospective exhibition featuring the work of Issei painter Hideo Date at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) that opened in 2001. Curated by Karin Higa, Living in Color draws on works Date donated to JANM as well as works held by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Smithsonian American Art Museum from the 1930s to the 1980s. An established artist by the 1930s, Date was sent to Santa Anita and Heart Mountain during the war, where he taught art and formed an Art Students League at the latter. Best known for his watercolor and gouache painting before the war, he turned to pencil drawings while incarcerated due in part to the difficulty of obtaining painting materials while in camp. The exhibition includes several of these drawings. Unlike artists such as Henry Sugimoto or Estelle Ishigo , Date's wartime drawings do not depict scenes from the concentration camps, most …

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The Evacuation Diary of Hatsuye Egami (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Non Fiction
  • Chaos and order, Displacement, Family - blessing or curse, Immigrant experience, Inner versus outer strength, Motherhood, Self-awareness
  • Available

Translation of the wartime diary of Hatsuye Egami, who carefully describes her experiences and observations while incarcerated at Tulare Assembly Center during World War II.

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Ganbare Don't Give Up! (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Immigrant experience, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Rights - individual or societal, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • No availability

Documentary film that provides an overview of what happened to Japanese Americans in Hawai'i during World War II, focusing on the limited internment of Issei community leaders and the exploits of Japanese American men in the armed forces. Ganbare Don't Give Up! was produced as a part of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i's core exhibition, Okage Sama De: I am what I am because of you , which remains the only place where it can be viewed.

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Drops of Water (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Capitalism – effect on the individual, Immigrant experience, Individual versus society, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Short story by Ferris Takahashi. A presumably young Sansei social worker and a colleague discuss the case of an elderly Issei homeless man who seems to want to remain homeless. Sections written from the perspective of the Issei man reveal his life as a laborer first on Hawai'i sugar plantations , then in the continental U.S. and the impact of his wartime incarceration and the razing of the residential hotel he once lived in.

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Picture Bride (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Historical fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Facing reality, Female roles, Immigrant experience, Importance of community, Will to survive
  • Available

The fictional account of a picture bride , from her arrival in the U.S. to the life she and her husband create for themselves with their daughter, to her experience of incarceration during World War II.

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The Invisible Thread (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Memoir, Children's
  • Immigrant experience, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Expression through art, Facing darkness, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Widely available

Memoir for young adult readers by the acclaimed children's book author that covers her charmed childhood in Berkeley, California, and her wartime incarceration during World War II.

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Voices Long Silent (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Immigrant experience, Injustice, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice
  • Available

Documentary video that explores Issei perspectives of the wartime forced removal and incarceration, as related through voiceovers by actors from Los Angeles-based theater company, East West Players, accompanied by still photos of the incarceration. Filmmaker Bob Matsumoto was inspired by the testimony of Japanese Americans before the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians , and sought to recapture the voices of those who were no longer able to tell their stories. Matsumoto updated the film twice, once after the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and once after the retroactive awarding of Congressional Medal of Honor awards to Japanese Americans who had been overlooked for the award in the 1940s. Voices Long Silent was used to accompany the exhibition The Art of Gaman and included in the DVD release of The Story Behind the Objects , a video specially produced by an about the show.

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Life behind Barbed Wire: The World War II Internment Memoirs of a Hawaii Issei (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Facing reality, Immigrant experience, Nationalism – complications, Role of men
  • Widely available

Internment memoir by Honolulu Issei publisher and community leader Yasutaro Soga . Originally published in 1948 as Tessaku seikatsu , it was translated into English by Kihei Hirai and a team of volunteers at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i (JCCH) and published by the University of Hawai'i Press in 2008.

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A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution (exhibition)

  • Museum Exhibitions
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • History
  • Will to survive, Patriotism - positive side or complications, Nationalism - complications, Immigrant experience, Evils of racism
  • Widely available

In 1987, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History (NMAH) opened A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the US Constitution (MPU), an exhibition on the World War II Japanese American detention centers designed to coincide with the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. Though the creation of an exhibition that exemplified a moment of weakness for the Constitution was opposed by some, the exhibition stayed long past its intended term and was replaced with a permanent online version even after its physical removal in 2004.

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Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of O'ahu (film)

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

Short film that tells the story of Japanese Americans on O'ahu who were interned during World War II using a combination of contemporary interviews, historical photographs and footage, and historical reenactments. It is one of a series of four films produced by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i about the internment experience in each of the four counties of Hawai'i as a follow up to the 2012 film The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i .

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A Brother Is a Stranger (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Change versus tradition, Desire to escape, Family – blessing or curse, Immigrant experience, Individual versus society, Nationalism – complications, Power of tradition
  • Available

Memoir of a young Japanese immigrant/refugee Christian about his upbringing and travails in Japan, his journey to the U.S. and his wartime internment, and his postwar observations in Japan. Published in 1946 by the John Day Company, it was among the first books by a Japanese American to appear after the war.

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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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