Following a world premier at the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) and sold-out screenings across the state, The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i is now available on DVD.
Produced by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, The Untold Story is the first full-length documentary to chronicle the internment experience of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i. While the story of mass internment of Japanese Americans in California, Oregon and Washington has been well documented, very little is known about the internees and confinements sites in Hawai‘i.
Shortly after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawai‘i authorities arrested several hundred local Japanese on O‘ahu, Maui, Hawai‘i island and Kaua‘i. Within 48 hours those arrested included: Buddhist priests, Japanese language school officials, newspaper editors, business and community leaders. In total, over 2,000 men and women of Japanese ancestry were arrested, detained and interned in Hawai‘i. There was no evidence of espionage or sabotage and no charges were ever filed against them. This film chronicles their story through oral histories, documents, interviews, and reenactments.
This project was funded, in part, by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program. Additional support was provided by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, Island Insurance Foundation, The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, and the Japanese American Citizens League - Honolulu Chapter.
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Price $24.95; $22.45 for JCCH members.
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An all-regions DVD
Approx. 57 minutes. English and Japanese with English subtitles.
Life Behind Barbed Wire: The World War II Internment Memoirs of a Hawaii Issei
Author: Soga, Yasutaro
Yasutaro Soga’s Life behind Barbed Wire (Tessaku seikatsu) is an exceptional firsthand account of the incarceration of a Hawai‘i Japanese during World War II. On the evening of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Soga, the editor of a Japanese-language newspaper, was arrested along with several hundred other prominent Issei ( Japanese immigrants) in Hawai‘i. After being held for six months on Sand Island, Soga was transferred to an Army camp in Lordsburg, New Mexico, and later to a Justice Department camp in Santa Fe. He would spend just under four years in custody before returning to Hawai‘i in the months following the end of the war.
Most of what has been written about the detention of Japanese Americans focuses on the Nisei experience of mass internment on the West Coast—largely because of the language barrier immigrant writers faced. This translation, therefore, presents us with a rare Issei voice on internment, and Soga’s opinions challenge many commonly held assumptions about Japanese Americans during the war regarding race relations, patriotism, and loyalty.
Although centered on one man’s experience, Life behind Barbed Wire benefits greatly from Soga’s trained eye and instincts as a professional journalist, which allowed him to paint a larger picture of those extraordinary times and his place in them. The Introduction by Tetsuden Kashima of the University of Washington and Foreword by Dennis Ogawa of the University of Hawai‘i provide context for Soga’s recollections based on the most current scholarship on the Japanese American internment.
Paperback - Price: $26.00 Member price $23.00
Family Torn Apart: The Internment Story of the Otokichi Muin Ozaki Family
Editor: Honda, Gail;
Family Torn Apart is the gripping story of one Hawai‘i family’s World War II odyssey. Otokichi Ozaki, a Japanese immigrant, was a Japanese language school teacher, tankapoet, and anthurium grower and also a leader of the Japanese community in the city of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. A devoted family man, he and his Hawai‘i-born wife, Hideko, had four children ranging in age from two to eight when war broke out. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he was one of several hundred immigrant community leaders to be arrested, beginning a long journey for Ozaki and his family. Based on letters, poetry, and radio scripts in the collection of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, and translated here for the first time, Family Torn Apart traces Ozaki’s incarceration at eight different detention camps, his family’s life in Hawai‘i without him, their decision to ‘voluntarily’ enter Mainland detention camps in the hope of reuniting, and their subsequent frustration as that reunion bogged down in red tape and government apathy. Relying on Japanese language primary sources, Family Torn Apart brings alive the Japanese immigrant perspective on the World War II incarceration, intergenerational relations, and life under martial law in Hawai‘i. It is a stirring story of the human spirit in difficult times and a cautionary tale for future generations. 36 illustrations.
Distributed by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i
Paperback - Price: $26.00 Member price $23.00