GARDENA — “Citizen Tanouye” will be screened on Saturday, May 18, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute, 1964 W. 162nd St. in Gardena.
Directed by Robert Horsting and Craig Yahata, the 2005 documentary follows the three-day journey of eight ethnically diverse students as they search for the clues to uncover the lost story of local World War II hero and Medal of Honor recipient Technical Sgt. Ted Tanouye of the highly decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
In a nationally covered ceremony on the White House Rose Garden in June of 2000, President Bill Clinton presents 20 Medals of Honor to Japanese American soldiers and their surviving families after 56 years of oversight by the U.S. Army. Ted Tanouye was one of those soldiers. Four years later, the Ted Tanouye Memorial is to be dedicated on the 60th anniversary of his heroic action on Hill 140 in Italy.
In an effort to understand the man that once walked the halls of their Torrance high school over 60 years before, these students piece together Ted’s story and that of his family incarcerated at Jerome, Ark., from school yearbooks, newspaper articles, Internet sites and insightful conversations with World War II veterans.
Stories from Ted’s brother Isao “Easy” Tanouye, former classmates and fellow soldiers of Company “K” complete this puzzle and reveal how this all-American boy overcame looking like the enemy and was awarded this country’s highest military honor.
“Citizen Tanouye” starts as a local quest for the history of a national hero, but quickly develops into a universal story about how a people’s struggle for acceptance as Americans and one man’s actions 60 years earlier can profoundly affect the lives of today’s youth.
Panel discussion follows the screening. Free admission. Donations appreciated. RSVP by calling (310) 324-6611 or visiting http://jci-gardena.org.