GLENDALE — The documentary film “Citizen Tanouye” will be screened on Thursday, Aug. 14, at 7 p.m. at the Glendale Central Library, 222 E. Harvard, Glendale, in the auditorium. The presentation is free and open to the public.
Film producer and co-director Robert Horsting and Alex Begovich, one of the film’s student researchers, will be present to take questions after the screening.
“Citizen Tanouye” follows the life-changing journey of eight Torrance High School students who set out to uncover the story of Ted Tanouye, a Japanese American Torrance High School alumnus and World War II hero. As the ethnically diverse group (including Korean American students Kathy Choi and Billy Kim) digs in to discover Tanouye’s story, they uncover the civil rights abuses suffered during the war years by Japanese Americans such as Tanouye’s family.
The students plowed through archival materials, searched online, and conducted insightful interviews with war veterans, including the late Col. Young Oak Kim, in his last on-screen appearance, to get to the bottom of what Tanouye and his family experienced.
Tech Sgt. Tanouye died at the age of 24 as a result of wounds received from a mine blast during an approach on the Arno River in Italy. He was a member of the renowned 442nd Regimental Combat Team, composed mostly of Japanese American soldiers. Tanouye’s valiant actions earned him the accolades of his fellow soldiers and many posthumously awarded medals, including the Medal of Honor.
Tanouye’s family was incarcerated at internment camps with other Japanese Americans, including Jerome and Rohwer, both in Arkansas, even as he served and eventually died an American war hero. The students bring Tanouye’s story into sharp focus as the relevance of his experiences to their own lives becomes all too apparent.
Documentary filmmaker and Glendale resident Horsting produced and co-directed the film with Craig Yahata. His work on the film stemmed from his voluntary participation in the Hanashi Oral History Program of the Go For Broke National Education Center, designed to preserve the legacy of Japanese American soldiers in the U.S. Army during World War II, and other minorities such as the Tuskegee Airmen and Navaho Code Talkers. He was moved by how openly the veterans shared their life experiences and what they had done to prove their loyalty.
Original music for the film was composed by Stephen James Taylor, a frequent composer for Disney Imagineering and an Eagle Rock resident.
For further information, visit www.citizentanouye.com.