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Browse > Theme > Power of the past

134 articles

Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire (book)

  • Books
  • Adult
  • Fiction
  • Coming of age, Dangers of ignorance, Power of silence, Power of the past
  • Widely available

First novel by acclaimed poet and memoirist David Mura that explores the impact of wartime incarceration—and the silences about it—on a Japanese American family in Chicago after World War II.

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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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The Merced Assembly Center: Injustice Immortalized (film)

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

Documentary film on Japanese Americans from Central California who were incarcerated at the Merced Assembly Center and the effort nearly sixty years later to build a memorial at the site. Produced by the Merced Assembly Center Commemorative Committee, the film was funded in large part by a grant from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program.

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And There Are Stories, There Are Stories (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Coming of age, Coming of age, Power of the past, Self – inner and outer
  • Available

Prose poem memoir by Momoko Iko that traces her family's journey out of the concentration camps and her subsequent upbringing away from Japanese American communities on the West Coast. She begins with her birth in 1940 to Issei parents, her fleeting recollections of her family's incarceration, and life after the war, first in Philadelphia, then Chicago . Various stories centering on racism, racial identity, interracial relations, and the legacy of the camps in the 1950s and 1960s follow, tracing the narrator's journey to becoming a writer.

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Why She Left Us (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Family – blessing or curse, Motherhood, Power of the past, Role of women
  • Widely available

A 1999 novel by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto that follows the Okada family from the 1920s to the 1990s and includes their incarceration at the Santa Anita Assembly Center and Amache as well as the experiences of two Nisei who serve in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team . The novel is structured as a series of vignettes told from the points of view of four characters. Why She Left Us was honored with an American Book Award in 2000.

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Honor Bound: A Personal Journey (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Heroism - real or perceived, Power of the past
  • Available

Documentary film that tells the story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team through the story of one soldier, Haruo Howard "Howe" Hanamura, and his daughter, television reporter Wendy Hanamura, who travel to Europe in October 1944 for 50th anniversary ceremonies of the liberation of Bruyeres and Biffontaine by the 442nd. The film was produced by the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS) and KPIX, San Francisco, where Wendy Hanamura was a news reporter. After debuting on KPIX on March 5, 1995, it went on to be shown on over 100 PBS stations.

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Right of Passage (film)

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

Documentary film by Janice D. Tanaka that chronicles the convoluted twenty-year history of the Redress Movement .

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Manzanar (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past, Quest for discovery, Growing up – pain or pleasure
  • Limited availability

Experimental documentary film by Bob Nakamura made in 1971 that was one of the first films to explore the legacy of the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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When Justice Failed: The Fred Korematsu Story (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 3-5
  • Children's, Biography
  • Convention and rebellion, Heroism – real and perceived, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Power of the past
  • Available

Biography for children of activist and exclusion challenger Fred Korematsu by journalist Steven A. Chin.

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We'll Meet Again: Children of WWII (film)

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

Debut episode of television series hosted by Ann Curry that tells stories about the reuniting of people tied together by a key historical event many years later. The first of six episodes in the show's first season focuses a pair of stories about children of World War II seeking out people who had a big impact on their lives during difficult times.

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The Broken Lines of Age (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Desire to escape, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Short story by Jimmy Tokeshi about an Issei grandfather who takes his nineteen-year-old granddaughter on an impromptu pilgrimage to Manzanar on Christmas Eve decades after his wartime incarceration there.

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Snakeskin Shamisen (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction, Mystery
  • Lost honor, Power of the past
  • Widely available

The third novel in Naomi Hirahara's "Mas Arai Mysteries" series finds the gardener/detective back in Southern California in 2002 where he tackles a murder case in the Okinawan American community.

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Personal Justice Denied: An Issue for All Americans (film)

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

Video of a February 19, 1998, panel discussion at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History on the topic of the coram nobis cases , featuring presentations by principals Fred Korematsu and Gordon Hirabayashi and lead attorneys Dale Minami , Peggy Nagae , and Rod Kawakami.

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Piecing Memories (film)

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

Short film about Japanese American senior citizen women in a Japanese American Services of the East Bay (JASEB) quilting class who make a quilt inspired by their World War II experiences. The seventeen minute film was made by Bridge Media for the JASEB and was funded in part by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program .

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Invisible Citizens: Japanese Americans (film)

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

Early documentary film that highlights the experiences of Japanese Americans during and after World War II through profiles of six Japanese Americans from around the country.

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Old Man River (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Family – blessing or curse, Power of the past, Power of silence, Quest for discovery
  • Available

One-woman play about the playwright's search for the truth about her actor father's life story. Jerry Fujikawa was a successful Nisei actor after World War II who worked steadily in character roles in movies and television and who did well enough to own a home and put three children through college. But after his death in 1983, playwright and performer Cynthia Gates Fujikawa found a picture of her father with a woman who is not her mother and a little girl who looks like her, but is not. Old Man River documents her search for her father's history, in which his wartime incarceration at Manzanar and stint in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team play a key role.

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Summer of the Big Bachi (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction, Mystery
  • Facing darkness, Greed as downfall, Power of silence, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Mystery novel by Naomi Hirahara that was the first to feature her Kibei hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor) gardener protagonist Mas Arai.

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Old Man River (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Biography, History
  • Family – blessing or curse, Power of the past, Power of silence, Quest for discovery
  • Available

Filmed version of Cynthia Gates Fujikawa's one-woman play of the same name about her search to unearth the secrets in the life of her father, actor Jerry Fujikawa. The play premiered in New York in 1997. Gates and documentary film director Allan Holzman filmed her performances during the run of the play in Los Angeles in early 1998. To try to recapture the effect of Fujikawa talking directly to the audience, Holzman positioned cameras on stage that she could talk into and added additional historic photographs and video. Premiering later in 1998, the film version went to play in various film festivals, community screenings and Days of Remembrance in succeeding years. The DVD version of the film also includes Fujikawa's 2003 documentary, Day of Remembrance .

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Gasa-Gasa Girl (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Fiction, Mystery
  • Family – blessing or curse, Greed as downfall, Power of the past
  • Widely available

The second mystery novel in Naomi Hirahara's "Mas Arai Mysteries" series, Gasa-Gasa Girl finds the Kibei crime solver in New York where he reconciles with his estranged daughter and unravels the mysterious death of a wealthy Nisei businessman.

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Looking Like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese-American Internment Camps (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir, Children's
  • Evils of racism, Facing darkness, Family – blessing or curse, Injustice, Loss of innocence, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Incarceration memoir of life at Pinedale Assembly Center , Tule Lake , and Minidoka , by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald, a seventeen-year-old Nisei at the time of her and her family's forced removal from their Washington state farm. First published in 2005 by NewSage Press, it was followed by a young reader's edition in 2010.

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Ruth Asawa: A Community Artist (film)

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

Short documentary film on artist Ruth Asawa by Dianne Fukami. Produced as part of a follow-up project to the creation of the "Garden of Remembrance" at San Francisco State University, the documentary highlights Asawa's role in the garden and documents some of her other public art in San Francisco.

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Farewell to Manzanar (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama, History
  • Evils of racism, Family – blessing or curse, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Injustice, Patriotism – positive side or complications, Power of the past
  • Available

Made-for-television movie about a Japanese American family in Manzanar during World War II. Based on the book of the same name by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston, Farewell to Manzanar aired nationally on NBC stations on March 11, 1976, and remains one of the few mainstream dramatic films centered on the Japanese American concentration camp experience.

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Guilty by Reason of Race (film)

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

Documentary film produced by NBC and shown nationally on September 19, 1972, as part of the NBC Reports series. It was the second major network documentary on the wartime removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans after The Nisei: The Pride and the Shame , which aired on CBS in 1965.

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The Journey (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 3-5
  • Picture Book, Children's
  • Evils of racism, Expression through art, Power of the past
  • Widely available

A children's book by Sansei author and artist Sheila Hamanaka, published by Orchard Books in 1990. The Journey: Japanese Americans, Racism and Renewal is based on a 25-foot mural painted by Hamanaka that mixes the history of Japanese Americans with an emphasis on the American concentration camps of World War II with her own family's experience using a mixture of Japanese iconography, realism and caricature. The book features both close-ups of the mural as well as a panoramic view of all five panels, which are accompanied by the author's text, giving her perspective on history, tradition, and hope. It also includes a preface and afterword reflecting on these themes.

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Conversations: Before the War/After the War (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Injustice, Power of the past
  • Limited availability

A 1986 dramatic film by Robert Nakamura that is based on the play "Truth of the Matter" by Karen L. Ishizuka. In Conversations , three characters discuss their life experiences, feelings and the facts of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans, exploring the changes in their lives and long term effects of their wartime experiences. Though taking the form of oral history interviews, the three characters were nonprofessional actors playing composite characters based on their own experiences and that of others. The cast included Kimiko Nakamura—the mother of director Nakamura—along with Warren Furutani , playing a role based on his father, and Grace Ino, playing the part of a younger Nisei . in a 2009 interview, Nakamra said that the film "was experimental in that we used the experiences of the non-actors themselves reading transcripts of interviews, and a little bit of coaching." [1]

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