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Browse > Theme > Power of the past

129 articles

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

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

Episode 4012 of the California public television series features a visit to the Manzanar site with a group of former inmates. Host Huell Howser interviews activist Sue Kunitomi Embrey , who provides some background on Manzanar's history and points out the administration and inmate areas. Archie Miyatake talks about the photographs his father Toyo Miyatake took at Manzanar and displays the camera Toyo had made at Manzanar with a lens he had smuggled into the camp. The rest of the episode focuses on names carved into cement by inmate laborers, with three such laborers—Goro Kurihara, Jiro Matsuyama, and Gimp Izumi—brought back to the camp to see their handiwork for the first time in nearly sixty years.

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One with the Angels (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Death – inevitable or tragedy, Facing darkness, Loss of innocence, Power of the past
  • Limited availability

Short story by Yachiyo Uehara about a young woman's death shortly after leaving the concentration camps. The story begins in the present when Saye sees an editorial cartoon in a Japanese American newspaper that laments the fact that the $20,000 reparations payments advocated by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) would be too late for many former inmates. She then recalls her younger sister Yoko's story and how even a fraction of that money might have changed its course. Imprisoned in Heart Mountain with her family, Yoko leaves for New York City in 1944 and soon finds a good job and a nice apartment. The widowed Saye and her young son soon join Yoko and have a joyous reunion and initially enjoy their new life. But a demanding job and active social life—including an ill-fated lover affair—drain Yoko, and she is soon diagnosed with tuberculosis, which …

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Rabbit in the Moon (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Convention and rebellion, Injustice, Power of the past, Role of women
  • Widely available

Documentary film written and directed by Emiko Omori and produced by Omori with her sister Chizuko on Japanese Americans in American concentration camps during World War II that highlights resistance and other lesser told stories. Winner of many awards and screened nationally on public television in 1999, Rabbit in Moon has become one of the most acclaimed and widely viewed feature length documentaries on this topic.

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Main Street, Wyoming: Heart Mountain (film)

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

Episode of the local PBS program Main Street, Wyoming that focuses on Heart Mountain . Originally produced and aired in 1994, it was repackaged with a brief new opening as part of the Main Street, Wyoming Classics series in 2006. Featuring on-camera host Deborah Hammons, the episode includes three segments: : an extended interview with Paul Tsuneishi on his incarceration experience and subsequent military service; a profile of Kaz Uriu, one of the only Heart Mountain inmates to later settle in Wyoming as a farmer, based on an interview with his daughter; and local efforts to build a memorial at the site—which was dedicated in July 1978—featuring interviews with local residents. Produced by Wyoming Public Television, it was funded by the Wyoming Council for the Humanities ad Kennecott Energy. It has been made available online as part of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.

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Phantoms (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Facing darkness, Heartbreak of betrayal, Injustice, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Novel by Christian Kiefer centering on a white Vietnam War veteran who tries to unravel the story of what happened to a Nisei World War II veteran, gaining insight into his own experiences in the process.

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This Time Will Be Different (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult, History
  • Capitalism – effect on the individual, Coming of age, Family – blessing or curse, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Acclaimed coming of age novel by Misa Sugiura that explores the continuing impact and relevance of Japanese American incarceration.

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Family Gathering (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Family – blessing or curse, Power of the past, Quest for discovery, Self-awareness
  • Available

Documentary film by Lise Yasui that chronicles her exploration of her family's hidden history—especially that of her paternal grandfather, Masuo Yasui —through interviews and family home movies and photographs. One of the most acclaimed films about the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans, Family Gathering was nominated for an Academy Award in 1988.

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Gila River and Mama: The Ruth Mix Story (film)

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

Documentary film that tells the story of the mass removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans through the eyes of Ruth Mix, who as a fifteen year old, accompanied her mother Frida, a teacher, to Gila River and lived among the inmates. Filmmaker Claire Mix is the daughter of Ruth.

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Remembering Manzanar: Life in a Japanese Relocation Camp (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8
  • Grades 7-8
  • Young Adult, History
  • Evils of racism, Injustice, Power of the past, Reunion, War – glory, necessity, pain, tragedy
  • Widely available

Book for younger children about the Manzanar concentration camp.

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Enemy Child: The Story of Norman Mineta (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Grades 3-5, Grades 7-8
  • Biography, Children's
  • Growing up – pain or pleasure, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Short biography of American politician Norman Mineta by Andrea Warren, published in 2019. The book, which is written for young adult readers, focuses on Mineta's childhood, with an emphasis on the years he and his family were incarcerated at Heart Mountain . The book includes historical War Relocation Authority photographs and a few personal photos from the Mineta family collection.

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Letters to Memory (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Circle of life, Family – blessing or curse, Optimism – power or folly, Power of the past, Quest for discovery
  • Widely available

Incarceration-centered history of one Japanese American family told through short vignettes inspired by letters, photographs, and other objects in the family archive, as written by acclaimed novelist Karen Tei Yamashita.

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Resistance at Tule Lake (film)

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

Documentary film that tells the story of the Tule Lake concentration camp, with a focus on the post-segregation period, through interviews with former inmates, archival images, and scenes from contemporary pilgrimages .

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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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Emi (film)

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

Documentary film about a Nisei woman returning to Manzanar and to her prewar community on Bainbridge Island , Washington, for the first time some thirty-five years after being forcibly removed.

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And Then They Came for Us (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Evils of racism, Expression through art, Power of the past, Rights - individual or societal
  • Widely available

Documentary film that provides an overview of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans while drawing explicit parallels to agitation against Arab Americans in the early months of the Trump Administration.

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Bearing the Unbearable (film)

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

Documentary film on the incarceration of Japanese Americans from Bainbridge Island, Washington , produced for the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial by North Shore Productions.

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Crystal City Pilgrimage, October 31 to November 3, 2019 (film)

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

Video documentary of the 2019 Crystal City Pilgrimage that includes interviews with former internee attendees, highlights of speeches and performances at the various events, and footage of visits to the site of the camp and to Crystal City High School. Speakers and interviewees describe the circumstance of the World War II internment and the parallels with immigrant detention policies of the present and urge solidarity with those seeking to end those policies. There is no narrator.

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First to Go: Story of the Kataoka Family (film)

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

Documentary film by Myles Matsuno built around an interview with his grandmother Mary "Hisako" Matsuno, a Nisei from San Francisco, about her wartime incarceration experience at Tanforan and Topaz . Additional interview footage from a 1996 interview with Toshi Handa, Mary's sister-in-law, adds additional information. Family home movies and photographs augment the production. The title refers to Mary's father, Issei hotelier Ichiro Kataoka, who was reportedly the first Issei in San Francisco to be arrested and interned on December 7, 1941.

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For Joy (film)

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

Short film that documents a visit by the contemporary musical duo No-No Boy—Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama—to Honolulu to see Joy Takeshita Teraoka, a singer with the George Igawa Orchestra at Heart Mountain . Invited by the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Club in 2018 to do a concert in Honolulu, the duo used it as an opportunity to meet Teraoka. At her Honolulu apartment, Teraoka talks about her time as a singer in Heart Mountain as a teenager and other aspects of camp life, including youth culture, Japanese cultural practices, and the general musical scene while singing old song with Aoyama. The film concludes with No-No Boy's concert, highlighted by a song Saporiti wrote for Teraoka titled "The Best God Damn Band in Wyoming" and by Teraoka joining them onstage.

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Rebel with a Cause: The Life of Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Empowerment, Heroism – real and perceived, Power of the past, Role of women

Biographical documentary of activist and redress researcher Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga by Janice D. Tanaka. Tanaka's mother, Grace Tanaka, was a close childhood friend of Herzig Yoshinaga's, and she juxtaposes her mother's more conventional Nisei life with Herzig's more rebellious path. Includes candid interviews with Herzig Yoshinaga's three children, husband Jack Herzig and many friends and others who knew her, in reviewing her life in a more-or-less chronological fashion from childhood, to wartime incarceration at Manzanar and Jerome , two early marriages—and divorces—that left her a single mother with three children, her life and work in New York after the war and her turn to activism, and her key role in the Redress Movement and coram nobis cases in partnership with husband Jack Herzig. In addition to the interviews with key figures in her life, Tanaka also did group interviews with friends and family members and had Herzig Yoshinaga revisit locations …

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The Crystal City (film)

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

Documentary film about the Crystal City internment camp by Kenya Gillespie. The short film tells the story of three families—the Utsushigawas from Peru , the Fukudas from San Francisco, and Eisorlohs, German Americans from Ohio—through narration and mostly contemporary footage of the Crystal City site, as well as images from a contemporaneous Crystal City government film. There is also a brief excerpt of remarks by another internee, Haru Kuromiya.

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Minidoka (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Dangers of ignorance, Injustice, Knowledge versus ignorance, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Documentary film that follows Seattle-based activist Joseph Shoji Lachman to the 2017 Minidoka Pilgrimage, documenting discussions with his family about the trip, the bus ride and touring the site. Excerpts from the CWRIC testimony of Samuel T. Shoji, Lachman's great uncle, that illuminate aspects of his family history are also included. Lachman notes the parallels with Trump era policies and his anger at both the World War II incarceration and current events.

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Moving Walls: American Nightmare to American Dream (film)

  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary, History
  • Power of the past, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Documentary film about the enduring impact of the Heart Mountain , Wyoming, concentration camp—in particular, its surviving barracks—on both the local Wyoming population and on Japanese Americans who had been incarcerated there.

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Mr. Tanimoto's Journey (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Individual versus society, Injustice, Power of the past
  • Widely available

Documentary film about Gridley, California, farmer and former Tule Lake inmate Jim Tanimoto that focuses on his wartime incarceration and on the postwar memory of that time. The film is built around interviews with Tanimoto and footage of him at his farm and at a Tule Lake Pilgrimage, along with interviews with his daughter and granddaughter. Tanimoto and his family went to Tule Lake directly in July 1942 and were placed in Block 42. He was among the many inmates in that block who resisted filling out the loyalty questionnaire and were subsequently imprisoned and held for a time at Camp Tulelake , a former CCC camp. He was eventually allowed to return to Tule Lake and then returned to Gridley in 1945, where he nonetheless faced a great deal of discrimination from locals. Tanimoto and his family also talk about the postwar silence about the incarceration, redress , and …

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When Rabbit Left the Moon (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Widely available
  • Documentary
  • Power of the past, Wisdom of experience
  • Available

Video essay by Emiko Omori on the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 that traces the story of the wartime forced removal and incarceration through moving and still images and spare original music by Janice Giteck and Todd Boekelheide. The film begins with images of the Issei period, moving on to images of the incarceration, and to various aspect of life in the concentration camps beginning with happier scenes before turning to harsher ones, including images of post-segregation Tule Lake and documents describing shooting victims at Manzanar and draft resistance . The film moves on to images connected to Nisei soldiers in camp and on the battlefield before ending with camp cemeteries and images of the sites today. The title refers to a Japanese proverb and also to Omori's 1999 documentary, Rabbit in the Moon .

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