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Browse > Theme > Will to survive

36 articles

Looking After Minidoka: An American Memoir (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir
  • Change versus tradition, Coming of age, Displacement, Female roles, Growing up - pain or pleasure, Immigrant experience, Love and sacrifice, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Power of tradition, Will to survive
  • Available

A third-generation Japanese American shares the multi-generational story of both sides of his family, from immigration to the aftermath of Pearl Harbor and wartime incarceration, to resettlement and his own childhood.

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The Bracelet (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Growing up – pain or pleasure, Importance of community, Self-awareness, Will to survive
  • Widely available

A children's picture book by Nisei author Yoshiko Uchida , with illustrations by Joanne Yardley, originally published in 1993. The Bracelet is a story derived from the author's own childhood experiences in an American concentration camp during World War II. The book opens as seven-year-old Emi, her mother and sister prepare to leave their home in Berkeley, California, for Tanforan , a racetrack that has been converted into a temporary camp for Japanese Americans. Emi's best friend, Laurie Madison, brings her a gold bracelet as a farewell gift, and as a reminder of the value of their friendship. Emi vows that she will never take it off, but as she helps clean out the filthy horse stable that will serve has her family's "apartment," the gold chain slips off her wrist and is lost. At first, she is desolate, but Emi eventually realizes that she does not need the bracelet …

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Nasakenai (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Evils of racism, Facing reality, Will to survive, Working class struggles
  • Limited availability

Short story about an Issei couple in the San Francisco Bay area in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor . Both work as servants—the husband as a gardener and the wife as a maid—for prominent white families in a wealthy adjacent community and support three children at home, with a son in the army. After the attack, the husband goes to work and is assured by his employer that she will not fire him despite community pressure to do so. But the wife, who has worked for the family of a prominent lawyer for over a decade, is fired, since the lawyer represents a farming organization that supports anti-Japanese actions. An Issei gardener who works for the same family is also fired. Afterwards, the wife visits briefly with the family of the gardener and goes home to work on her garden, vowing that things will be okay.

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Maybe (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Capitalism – effect on the individual, Necessity of work, Will to survive, Working class struggles
  • Widely available

Short story by Wakako Yamauchi about a middle-aged Japanese American woman working in a sweatshop with a group of undocumented immigrant workers from Latin America. Divorced after twenty-five years of marriage, Florence wanders into a garment factory with a help wanted sign and is hired on the spot and given a relatively responsible position despite her lack of qualifications due to what she thinks is the owners' stereotype about "Japanese." In her first person voice, she introduces various workers as well as the owner's much younger Colombian immigrant wife who takes an immediate disliking to her. She befriends a young couple who were forced to leave their young son back in Mexico and are unable to bring him to the U.S.; the husband semi-jokingly asks Florence to marry him so that he can get a green card. At the end of the story she recalls her and her family's confinement …

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When Your Body Has Been Rolled in Thorns (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Fiction
  • Evils of racism, Facing reality, Loss of innocence, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Short story by Ferris Takahashi about a Japanese American family leaving a concentration camp to return to their old home in Los Angeles. Told from the perspective of a college educated Nisei husband and father of two young children, the story begins as they gather up their possessions and prepare to leave the camp. Yosh, a friend who had returned earlier and was able to reestablish his business, greets them at the train station. When they return to their home, they find it trashed and vandalized, with all the furniture gone. They also learn that the Buddhist temple in which they had stored other possessions had burned down. Yosh and his family offer to put them up until they can fix their house. Returning to look more closely at the house after dinner, the man and his Issei mother find racist graffiti. His mother assures him that they will rebound.

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China Dolls (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Companionship as salvation, Empowerment, Female roles, Forgiveness, Heartbreak of betrayal, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Historical novel by Lisa See centering on performers at Chinese themed nightclubs in San Francisco and New York in the 1930s and 1940s. One of the three main characters is a Japanese American woman passing as Chinese American.

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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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Heart Mountain: Three Years in an Internment Camp (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Will to survive
  • Available

A short documentary film from 1997 that documents the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans at the American concentration camp in Heart Mountain , Wyoming. The film also documents daily life for the Japanese American incarcerees, who endured living in rough barracks, surrounded by barbed wire in sub-zero temperatures and dust storms, as well as the political and personal conflicts that arose with the government-issued " loyalty questionnaire " and draft resistance . In addition to interviews with former inmates and local residents, the film uses previously unseen footage from the camp. The film was produced by KCSM, a San Mateo, California, public television station as part of The New Americans series and was directed by Dianne Fukami, with David Hosley serving as executive producer. It was originally titled Heart Mountain: Three Years in a Relocation Center . Funders for the documentary included the Chevron Corporation, the Henri and …

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The Cat Who Chose to Dream (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5
  • Children's
  • Disillusionment and dreams, Facing darkness, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Children's picture book about a cat who accompanies his Japanese American family to an American concentration camp during World War II.

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The Heart No Longer Silent (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Quest for discovery, Power of the past, Evils of racism, Will to survive
  • No availability

Storytelling performance with digital imagery by storyteller Megumi and artist Elaine Sayoko Yoneoka. Funded by the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program , The Heart No Longer Silent: Stories with Images from the Japanese American Internment of World War II was performed several times in Central and Northern California in 2002.

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A Place to Belong (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Children's, Historical Fiction
  • Coming of age, Facing darkness, Family – blessing or curse, Growing up – pain or pleasure, Loss of innocence, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Young adult novel by Cynthia Kadohata that tells the story of a Japanese American family's experience in postwar Japan from the perspective of an adolescent female protagonist.

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Japanese American Detention Camps: Stories of Strength and Hope (play)

  • Plays
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Quest for discovery, Power of the past, Evils of racism, Will to survive
  • Limited availability

Storytelling performance by Megumi in which she tells stories of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans from the perspective of various characters. Based on interviews with Japanese American former inmates, she has been performing Japanese American Detention Camps since 1997.

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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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Tsuru (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Drama
  • Desire to escape, Evils of racism, Individual versus society, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Short dramatic film about an elderly Issei couple whose attempt to avoid the mass roundup of Japanese Americans during World War II is aided by a white nurse. Tsuru was a senior year project at Chapman University by Chris K. T. Bright.

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Dear Miye: Letters Home from Japan, 1939-1946 (book)

  • Books
  • Memoir, Historical nonfiction
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Desire to escape, Displacement, Family - blessing or curse, Female roles, Identity crisis, Immigrant experience, Isolation, Loss of innocence, Overcoming - fear, weakness, vice, Self-preservation, War - glory, necessity, pain, tragedy, Will to survive
  • Available

A collection of letters written by a young Nisei woman in Japan who becomes stuck there during World War II to her best friend who is still in California.

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Kai's Mother (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Historical Fiction
  • Immigrant experience, Motherhood, Will to survive, Wisdom of experience
  • Available

Short story by Gretel Ehrlich told in the first person voice of an Issei woman as she rides the train back to California from Heart Mountain at war's end. The characters in the story were introduced in Ehrlich's earlier novel Heart Mountain .

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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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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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Hunt for the Bamboo Rat (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Grades 6-8
  • Children's
  • Facing darkness, Forgiveness, Heroism – real and perceived, Will to survive
  • Widely available

Young adult novel by Graham Salisbury based on the wartime exploits of Richard Sakakida , a Nisei intelligence agent in the Counter Intelligence Corps who was captured by the Japanese in the Philippines.

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America's Betrayal (book)

  • Books
  • Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12
  • Grades 7-8
  • Fiction, History
  • Coming of age, Companionship as salvation, Everlasting love, Evils of racism, Female roles, Losing hope, Will to survive
  • Limited availability

Young adult novel by Jodi Icenoggle written in the first person voice of Margaret Yamaguchi, a high school sophomore and aspiring writer in Valle Verde in coastal California. Her father runs a successful orchard and oversees a happy family that includes Margaret's mother, an older brother Robert, and younger brother Timmy. She has also started going steady with John Wilson, star athlete of Valle Verde High. But her happy life is slowly torn apart by the outbreak of war. As anti-Japanese sentiment rises after the attack on Pearl Harbor, so do tensions at the high school, particularly for an interracial couple like John and Margaret. Inevitably, the Yamaguchis get sent first to the Salinas Assembly Center , then to Poston , while John gets drafted. As family tragedies ensue, Margaret comes of age in the concentration camp, starting a camp newspaper and waiting for John to come back. But will …

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21st Century Manzanar (book)

  • Books
  • Adult
  • Fiction
  • Evils of racism, Importance of community, Overcoming – fear, weakness, vice, Will to survive
  • Available

Novel by Perry Miyake that imagines an early 21st century roundup of Japanese Americans and how Sansei and Yonsei would react to it.

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Mackerel Sky (short story)

  • Short Stories
  • Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Memoir
  • Communication – verbal and nonverbal, Immigrant experience, Will to survive, Working class struggles
  • No availability

Short story by Jeff Matsuda in which a young Sansei man recalls various stories about his Issei grandfather: visiting him and his grandmother when he was a child; recreating the old man talking about his youth in Japan and his early years as a laborer in the U.S.; and visiting him with his mother when he was in college, and his grandfather was a nearly deaf old man. In the process, the narrator recalls his grandfather's internment: as a fisherman on Terminal Island , he was arrested a week after Pearl Harbor and sent to Bismarck and then to an unspecified camp in New Mexico, while the rest of his immediate family spent the war years in Japan.

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Camp Amache: The Story of an American Tragedy (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Injustice, Will to survive
  • Available

A 2006 documentary film by Don Dexter about the American concentration camp located in southwest Colorado, where more than 7,000 Japanese Americans were held during World War II. Amache was one of ten camps established in 1942 to incarcerate over 120,000 Japanese Americans who were forced from their West Coast homes. The film mixes interviews and personal stories with historic and contemporary photos and footage of the camp and surrounding area. Some of the featured stories include journalist Bill Hosokawa , author Gil Asakawa, and John Hopper, a teacher at Granada High School, who has incorporated the story of Amache into his curriculum and started the Amache Preservation Society with his students.

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The Art of Gaman: The Story Behind the Objects (film)

  • Films and Video
  • Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Adult
  • Documentary
  • Expression through art, Will to survive
  • Widely available

A short documentary film created by Rick Quan in 2010 to accompany the traveling exhibition, The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946 which features arts and crafts created by Japanese American internees while living in World War II concentration camps. The film includes stories about the inmates who created the objects included in the exhibition, as told by their children and grandchildren. It also includes an interview with the exhibition's curator, Delphine Hirasuna, who describes The Art of Gaman' s purpose of celebrating the unique talents of these camp artists and helping people understand the larger story of the Japanese American mass confinement. The DVD release also includes Voices Long Silent , a 1980 short film by Bob Matsumoto, that was also shown in conjunction with The Art of Gaman exhibition.

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Chikara!: A Sweeping Novel of Japan and America From 1907 to 1983 (book)

  • Books
  • Historical Fiction
  • Change versus tradition, Coming of age, Death - inevitable or tragedy, Disillusionment and dreams, Displacement, Emptiness of attaining a false dream, Evils of racism, Facing reality, Family - blessing or curse, Forgiveness, Greed as downfall, Fate and free will, Heartbreak of betrayal, Heroism - real and perceived, Immigrant experience, Individual versus society, Inner versus outer strength, Lost honor, Lost love, Nationalism - complications, Patriotism - positive side or complications, Power of the past, Will to survive
  • Available

This work of historical fiction traces the tumultuous rise and fall of the Hoshi family, whose scion, Sataro, takes his wife Itoko and eldest son Noboru to California in 1907 to seek his fortune and restore his family's honor. He leaves his second son Hiroshi behind with family, a decision that marks the inauspicious first step of the tragic transpacific drama that unfolds over the course of the novel.

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