‘Blossoms and Thorns’ to Air on KQED

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“Blossoms and Thorns” director Ken Kokka with historian Donna Graves, co-producer and an interviewee in the film, speak after a screening at the Japanese American National Museum. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

SAN FRANCISCO — Ken Kokka’s documentary “Blossoms and Thorns: A Community Uprooted” will air on KQED-TV, Channel 9, on Sunday, July 14, at 2:30 p.m.

Only skeletal outlines remain of the greenhouse that once formed the nucleus of a cohesive Japanese American flower-growing community in Richmond. Uprooted by the federal government and forcibly removed from their homes and businesses, these growers spent the duration of World War II in concentration camps.

Picking up the pieces, Ruby Adachi Hiramoto, Flora Ninomiya, and Tom Oishi recount the struggle, dismay and resiliency of the families who returned to reclaim their place in the floral industry and in the changing Richmond/El Cerrito neighborhood.

Produced by the Contra Costa JACL and narrated by George Kiriyama of NBC Bay Area, the film has been shown at the Rosie the Riveter National Park Visitor Center in Richmond.

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