‘Farewell to Manzanar’ Cast Reunion

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Nancy Wong photos

SAN FRANCISCO — The Nichi Bei Foundation is proud to present an exclusive extended version of the “Farewell to Manzanar” cast reunion, 45 years after the film uncovered the wartime incarceration for the American masses.

Click here to view: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEpCNvxv3Zc

The 2021 Films of Remembrance, presented by the Nichi Bei Foundation, celebrated the 45th anniversary of the landmark film “Farewell to Manzanar” with a special screening and cast reunion. The 1976 made-for-TV film directed by John Korty taught the general U.S. population about the wartime incarceration of the Japanese American community during World War II — at a time when many Japanese American families themselves even refrained from talking about this dark chapter of American history.

“Farewell to Manzanar” was based upon the groundbreaking book by James D. and Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, which continues to be required reading in American classrooms. The film has also been distributed to California schools and libraries.

For this special reunion, actor Frank Abe rounded up his fellow cast and crew for a chat about their recollections of the landmark film that premiered on NBC.

A shorter version of this cast reunion premiered on Feb. 21 at the special Films of Remembrance screening at the West Wind Capitol Drive-In in San Jose.

Featuring:

Clyde Kusatsu (Teddy Wakatsuki)

Momo Yashima (Alice)

Akemi Kikumura Yano (Koro)

Dori Takeshita Chan (Young Jeanne)

Hiro Narita (cinematographer)

Shawn Wong (extra)

Peter Horikoshi (extra)

Frank Abe (Frank Nishi), moderator

Lewis Kawahara (retired professor)

The reunion was produced and edited by Greg Viloria, executive produced by the Nichi Bei Foundation. Select images courtesy of the Barbara P. Narita Collection/Densho.

The cast also included James Saito (Richard Wakatsuki), Gretchen Corbett (Lois), Vernon Kato (Calvin) and Frank Chin (extra).

Cast members who have since passed away include Nobu McCarthy (Misa Wakatsuki and Adult Jeanne), Yuki Shimoda (Ko Wakatsuki), Mako (Fukimoto), Pat Morita (Zenahiro), Mitsu Yashima (Granny), Seth Sakai (Joe Takahashi), and Lou Frizzell, who played himself.

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