‘Chiune Sugihara’s Legacy’ at Aratani Theatre


A screening and panel discussion on “Chiune Sugihara’s Legacy: Japanese-Jewish Bonds,” organized by the Japan America Society of Southern California and the Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania in Los Angeles, will take place on Thursday, June 23, at the Aratani Theatre, 244 S. San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo.

Toshiaki Karasawa stars as Chiune Sugihara in "Persona Non Grata."

Toshiaki Karasawa stars as Chiune Sugihara in “Persona Non Grata.”

Chiune Sugihara (1900-1986) was a Japanese diplomat who served as the vice consul for the Empire of Japan in Kaunas, Lithuania. By issuing 2,139 transit visas to Japan during World War II, he is believed to have saved the lives of more than 6,000 Jews.

Sugihara risked his life and career to issue these “visas for life,” but by doing so, he created a strong and lasting bond between the Japanese and Jewish people.

In memory of his legacy, the film “Persona Non Grata” was released last December.

Doors open at 2:30 p.m. Panel discussion from 3 to 3:45 p.m. with the following speakers:

• Akira Kitade, author of “Visas of Life and the Epic Journey”

• Nathan Lewin, Columbia Law School, who received one of Sugihara’s visas when he was 4 years old

• Oriha Sugihara, Chiune Sugihara’s great-granddaughter

• Jake Wachtel (moderator), award-winning journalist/producer

“Persona Non Grata,” directed by Cellin Gluck and starring Toshiaki Karasawa as Sugihara and Koyuki as his wife, Yukiko, will be shown from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

Other speakers include Darius Gaidys, consul general of Lithuania in Los Angeles; Janna Weinstein Smith, regional director, American Jewish Committee; and Jun Takeda, CEO, JTB Americas.



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