‘Films of Remembrance’ in S.F. Japantown

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Nichi Bei Foundation will present “Films of Remembrance” on Monday, Feb. 18, at Nihonmachi Little Friends, 1830 Sutter St. (near Buchanan) in San Francisco Japantown.

“Jimmy Murakami: Non-Alien”

The one-day film series is held in conjunction with the Bay Area Day of Remembrance, commemorating the 71st anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, which set the wheels in motion to forcibly relocate some 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry into American concentration camps during World War II.

Admission is free (donations welcome). Seating is limited. The schedule is as follows:

1:30 p.m. “Jimmy Murakami: Non-Alien” (2010, 73 min.) Directed by Sé Merry Doyle. Jimmy T. Murakami is an Oscar-nominated animator whose credits include “When the Wind Blows” and “The Snowman.” During World War II, he and his family were incarcerated in the Tule Lake concentration camp. This film follows him on an extraordinary journey, from his adopted country, Ireland, through his Hollywood career, climaxing with his return to the camp to confront his childhood and his still-present anger with the American government that put him there.

Followed by “The Tule Lake Documentary” by Konrad Aderer, which tells the story of “no-nos” and “disloyals” at the Tule Lake Segregation Center.

3 p.m. “Hidden Internment: The Art Shibayama Story” (2004. 26 min.) Directed by Casey Peek and Irum Shiekh. This film documents the life of Art Shibayama, a San Jose resident originally from Lima, Peru, who was taken by the U.S. officials at the age of 13. His experiences reveal not only the hidden saga of the interned Japanese Peruvians, but continue to address the legacy of civil liberties and human rights doctrine. Shibayama’s story is intercut with testimonies from former internees and inmates, both Japanese American and Japanese Latin American, as well as others involved in the redress movement.

Followed by update and discussion by Grace Shimizu of Campaign for Justice: Redress Now for Japanese Latin American Internees.

4 p.m. “A Flicker in Eternity” (2012, 25 min.) Directed by Sharon Yamato and Ann Kaneko. The coming-of-age tale of Stanley Hayami, a talented young teenager caught between his dream of becoming a writer/artist and his duty to his country. Based on his diary, this documentary is the first-hand account of a 15-year-old thrust into the turmoil of World War II and is a poignant reminder of the indignity of incarceration and the tragedy of war. Through Hayami’s endearing cartoons and witty observations, this film chronicles his life behind barbed wire and as a soldier in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Voiced by Aaron Yoo and Amy Hill.

Followed by discussion with filmmaker Yamato.

4:40 p.m. “Blossoms and Thorns: A Community Uprooted” (2012, 18 min.) Directed by Ken Kokka. The story of Richmond’s Nikkei flower growing community. Japanese immigrants began arriving in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1800s and quickly discovered that they could make a living growing cut flowers. These growers succeeded despite increasingly hostile anti-Asian sentiment in California. Through a combination of personal interviews and archival footage, “Blossoms and Thorns” presents the story of Richmond’s flower growers: from the pre-war era, their forced removal during World War II, and finally to the post-war period of resettlement, when Richmond’s Nikkei community returned and reclaimed their lives and businesses, in a dramatically changed Richmond.

Followed by discussion with the filmmaker and flower-growing families

5:30 p.m. “A Divided Community: Three Personal Stories of Resistance” (2012, 73 min.) This documentary by Momo Yashima highlights the struggles of three Japanese American World War II resisters — Yosh Kuromiya, Frank Emi and Mits Koshiyama — who challenged the U.S. government’s decision to draft Japanese Americans while they and their families were being held in America’s concentration camps.

Followed by “The JACL Apologizes” by Frank Abe, from the DVD “Conscience and the Constitution.”

Co-sponsored by: Bay Area Day of Remembrance Consortium, Nichi Bei Weekly and National Japanese American Historical Society. The Nichi Bei Foundation is a fiscally sponsored project of Independent Arts and Media.

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  1. ronald takahashi on

    are these same documentaries scheduled for viewing in the southern california area anytime soon, if so can you share the date or dates with me, thank you!

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