On November 2, 2013, JANM held a premiere film screening for the documentary, Unexpected Journeys: Remarkable Stories of Japanese in America in the Atsuhiko & Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Democracy Forum.
Produced by the Museum’s Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center, and sponsored by NITTO TIRES U.S.A Inc., Unexpected Journeys is a 30-minute documentary of selected interviews of individuals whose lives illuminate the astonishing diversity of the Japanese experience in America.
Not only did guests get to watch the premiere public screening of Unexpected Journeys, they also got to enjoy a Q&A session led by director John Esaki with interviewees Sumi Hughes, Jean Schneider, Iris Teragawa, Harry Oda, and Lloyd Inui. The Q&A session continued with videographers Akira Boch and Evan Kodani joining the interviewees on stage.
After the public screening and the enlightening Q&A session, guests, interviewees and their families, project participants, staff, sponsors, and other special guests were able to greet each other over light refreshments. Among Saturday’s special guests, was Frank H. Watase, who JANM’s media arts center is named after!
Check out these photos from the premiere public screening of Unexpected Journeys!
Photo Credits: Richard Murakami and Tsuneo Takasugi
On Saturday, November 16th at 2pm JANM will be screening a full-length documentary chronicling the life long journey of the late Keiko Fukuda, a renowned pioneer of women’s judo. Yuriko Gamo Romer’s film, Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful, documents Keiko Fukuda’s decision to defy thousands of years of tradition, choose her own path, and become judo history’s only woman to attain the pinnacle 10th degree.
A live demonstration of “Ju-no-kata”, a signature form of Fukuda-Sensei, will precede the film screening and will be performed by Robin Fernandez and Charmaine Galvez, with narration by Greg Fernandez Jundokai Judo and Jujitsu Club of La Mirada.
A Q&A session will follow screening with filmmaker Yuriko Gamo Romer and panelists who will discuss the legacy of Keiko Fukuda and the Japanese cultural traditions and relations that continue from Japan to the U.S. through judo.
Don’t miss the Los Angeles Premiere of Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful, along with a special judo demonstration, and a Q&A session!
For more information on Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful, please visit: www.mrsjudomovie.com
This screening is part of the Tateuchi Public Program Series, organized in partnership between the Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation and the Japanese American National Museum. Tateuchi Public Programs develop presentations that explore the connections between Japan and the United States in the context of politics, art, music, and culture. The program series is created annually with the objective of enhancing understanding between the two countries. Learn more about Tateuchi Public Programs, at: www.janm.org/events/tateuchi
For the past year and a half, JANM’s Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center has captured more than 25 first-person accounts of individuals whose lives illuminate the astonishing diversity of the Japanese experience in America.
With the support of NITTO TIRES U.S.A. Inc. and its visionary President, Tomo Mizutani, the Watase Media Arts Center staff has been enabled to videotape extensive interviews with Nisei, Japanese-speaking Kibei, Hapa, and post-WWII “Shin Issei.” Their stories have revealed many new historical insights and several previously unexpressed personal perspectives on the World War II era and beyond.
From the little known early Yamato colony of Japanese in Florida where Sumi (Fukushima) Hughes’ parents settled to the challenges faced by Hamako (Amano) Schneider, one of the first Japanese war brides to be admitted to the U.S. following World War II, the project has uncovered many aspects of history that have remained unfamiliar to the public.
Photographed in Hi-Definition video by the Media Arts Center’s videographers Akira Boch and Evan Kodani, each interview is transcribed, translated when necessary, and digitally archived for eventual use in documentaries, exhibitions, and ongoing JANM educational projects such as the Discover Nikkei website and the Museum’s YouTube channel, janmdotorg. The project also involved follow ups with interviewees and their families to gather, identify, and scan photo albums, documents, and other supplementary resource material.
After viewing the completed two-to-three hour interviews and assessing the available supplementary photographs and other visuals, the Media Arts staff—with assistance from Japanese staff member Yoko Nishimura of the Discover Nikkei project—edited selected interviews into a 30-minute documentary, Unexpected Journeys, that interweaves short autobiographical profiles with narration, graphics, and music by accomplished composer and musician, Dave Iwataki. To make these stories accessible to as wide an audience as possible the video includes both English and Japanese narration and subtitling to reach both English and Japanese-speaking audiences.
On Saturday, November 2, several of the interviewees and their families will attend a special premiere public screening presented in JANM’s Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Democracy Forum and will be able to meet fellow project participants, staff, sponsors, and other special guests. Light refreshments to follow program.
FILM SCREENING Unexpected Journeys: Remarkable Stories of Japanese in America
Saturday, November 2, 2013 • 2PM FREE & open to the public!
This program is sponsored by Nitto Tire and produced by the National Museum’s Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center.
On Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 2:00PM, JANM will present a special screening of The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai`i. 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.
Within 48 hours of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawai`i authorities arrested several hundred local residents—targeting Buddhist priests, Japanese language-school officials, newspaper editors, and business and community leaders. In total, more than 2,000 men and women of Japanese ancestry were arrested, detained, and interned at 13 different confinement sites located in Hawai`i. There was no evidence of espionage or sabotage, and no charges were ever filed against them. The Untold Story chronicles their story through oral histories, documents, interviews, and reenactments.
“While people have heard of places like Manzanar and Tule Lake, the sites where Japanese Americans were incarcerated on the mainland, few people are familiar with places like Honouliuli, Kalaheo Stockade, or that Japanese Americans were held at the Kilauea Military Camp during WWII,” said Carole Hayashino, president and executive director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai`i.
“Our film, The Untold Story, helps to ensure that the experience of over 2,000 persons of Japanese ancestry in Hawai`i who were picked up and imprisoned simply because of their ancestry is not forgotten.”
Don’t miss this special film screening and the Q&A session with the filmmakers afterwards!
Visit the Discover Nikkei website for an insightful behind-the-scenes article on The Untold Story written by the director, Ryan Kawamoto:
Family comes first at the upcoming Target Free Family Saturday on July 13, from 11am-4pm! Join us for a day celebrating your family’s roots—and make some new memories while you’re at it!
At 3pm, Caldecott Award-winning author/illustrator Allen Say will read his newest book, The Favorite Daughter, about a young hapa girl who finds pride in her heritage with her father’s patient help. The book is based on Say’s experiences with his daughter, Yuriko — who will also attend the reading! Say will be signing copies of The Favorite Daughter, which is available to purchase at the Museum Store.
We have lots of hands-on crafts planned, including a journal to record your favorite family memories, a portrait collage, and an origami camera in Ruthie’s Origami Corner. Then stop for a snack with Kidding Around the Kitchen, where kids can learn to make a salad and salad dressing the whole family will love.
If you’d like a break from the hustle and bustle, we will be screening the documentary Searchlight Serenade, about the big bands formed by Japanese Americans in the World War Two internment camps. Searchlight Serenade will begin at 2pm.
Hello there! My name is Kelly Gates and I am working in the Watase Media Arts Center here at the Japanese American Nation Museum as one of the 2013 Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Interns. I recently graduated from UC Santa Cruz majoring in Film and Digital Media. I have moved back home for just the summer (hopefully). Now that I have been thrown into what people call the “real world” as I try to figure out what I want to do with my life. On to the real reason you’re reading this article…
“It was funny they were talking about nicknames and mine was ‘haole’ and mine was ‘big eyes’.” —Rex Walters
This past Saturday (June 22, 2013) the museum held the event “Hapa Hoops: Japanese American Basketball and Community with Rex Walters”. The event screened JANM’s own film Crossover (2000) followed by a conversation with former JA league player turned NBA player turned coach, Rex Walters and co-curator for the Visible & Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History exhibition, Dr. Lily Anne Yumi Welty. Crossover is a short documentary on the ever growing and changing of the Japanese-American basketball community and leagues. The film was directed by a previous JANM employee and director of the four most recent The Fast & The Furious films, Justin Lin. The film address the history of the JA leagues by looking at how and why they started and goes all the way to the present day (well, 2000) structure of the leagues.
“When she [mom] got really mad at me or really mad about something she would call me a banana, ‘Oh you’re yellow on the outside but you’re white on the inside. You’re not really Japanese.” But it was all in good fun.” —Rex Walters
When it came time to have the conversation with Rex Walters and Dr. Lily Anne Welty, I could not help but feel like we were all in group huddle during halftime of a game. I played basketball on my high school team and he made me flash back to those memories. It was funny how Mr. Walters mentioned a past coach always giving motivational speeches and now here he was doing the exact same thing. I personally found Mr. Walters to be quite inspirational. He enjoyed playing for the San Jose Zebras and mentioned he liked the JA basketball league experience better than his high school basketball experience. Mr. Walters even admitted he was not the best player on the team and spent some time warming the bench, but look at how far he got. He played in the NBA and helped his team get into the Final Four and now he is the head coach at the University of San Francisco. Listening to his story, I regretted not playing basketball my senior year in high school and not trying to play in college. It was especially nice to see a fellow hapa person there, talking about his experience and his (what I would still call) a successful career.
“Basketball is just like anything else. It’s a way of bonding and teams just naturally bond. Whether you’re really good, really bad you kind of have to stick together, you have to come together.”
Drop by the Museum this Saturday, June 22nd at 2pm for court-side—or rather, screen-side—seats to Hapa Hoops! We will be showing the documentary Crossover followed by a conversation with hapa NBA veteran Rex Walters. The program is free with admission to the Museum.
Produced originally for the More Than a Game exhibition (2000) by the Museum’s Watase Media Arts Center, and directed by Justin Lin (of the Fast and Furious series), Crossover is a fast-paced look at the history and purpose of Japanese American basketball leagues over the years. First established in the 1930s as an opportunity for Japanese Americans to participate in competitive sports, the leagues have flourished over the years—bringing about questions of how to adapt to an increasingly diverse player base.
Walters got his basketball start playing in one such youth league. Before making his professional debut with the New Jersey Nets, he helped lead the University of Kansas Jayhawks to the Final Four in 1993. He currently works as head basketball coach at the University of San Francisco.
This program is presented in conjunction with our exhibition Visible & Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History, running through August 25th. Visible & Invisible explores the diverse experiences and history of mixed-roots and mixed-race Japanese Americans through photos, historical artifacts, and interactive elements.
In our overhyped, marketing-saturated modern world, calling two sisters “The Miracle Twins” probably brings out more cynicism than wonder out of most people today. But, if you want to hear a story that will truly amaze you and gladden your heart, then you need to learn about Isabel and Anabel Stenzel.
Born in Los Angeles to Hatsuko Arima and Renner Stenzel, two immigrants who met at a Rotary International meeting and eventually married, the sisters were quickly diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) after birth. CF attacks the lungs, filling them with mucous. The doctors told the Stenzels that the girls would be lucky to live for 10 years.
Remarkably (miraculously?), both made it to their 40th birthdays. Bright and determined, Ana and Isa endured difficult therapies, long hospital stays, family squabbles, and sibling rivalry while just trying to grow up like other young girls. Their father, a physicist, figured the odds of identical twins who were half-Japanese (CF is very rare in Japan) being born with CF was 1.8 billion to one.
Yet, the sisters both made it through high school and got into Stanford. One of them even played taiko. The girls, who were close to their obachan, who would make long visits from Japan to help care for them, invoke cultural values like gaman to handle the challenges of their lives. They are acutely aware that their condition could spell their end at any time.
On Saturday, June 30, both sisters will be on hand for a screening of a documentary, The Power of Two, set for the Tateuchi Democracy Forum at the Japanese American National Museum beginning at 1 p.m. It’s free. To RSVP for this event, please call: 213.625.0414 ex. 2218.
I encourage anyone who wants to share a truly amazing story of two sisters overcoming the odds to come to this program. Anabel and Isabel have a lot to share. Check out the web site for the film at http://www.thepoweroftwomovie.com/
If you can’t make it to the screening, you can also order copies of the DVD from the Museum Store. The DVD includes bonus features: the Remembering Manzanar documentary created for the Manzanar National Historic Site; and an interview with Jeanne Wakatasuki Houston from when she was honored at the Museum’s 2006 Gala Dinner.
After 35 years, Farewell to Manzanar will FINALLY be available for people to buy!
In 1976, the made-for-TV movie was shown on NBC, directed by John Korty from a screenplay written by the original authors of the book—Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and her husband James D. Houston. It was a film made for a mainstream audience using Japanese American actors and many crew, something that is still pretty unheard of today.
There were several reasons why it was never re-broadcast, and only rarely shown after its initial viewing. It was also never made available for sale for the public, despite constant requests from the community, as well as from many educators who use the book in their classrooms as part of their curriculum.
Personally, I’m really excited about the release on DVD because I’ve never actually seen it. I do remember reading it in junior high school for a class assignment, and I’ve heard about the film version so many times. I used to work in the Museum’s Store for many years, and one of the most consistent (and persistent) questions I got year after year was whether we had it for sale. I’m so glad that I can now finally say “Yes!”
FAREWELL TO MANZANAR SCREENING
The Museum is doing a special screening of Farewell to Manzanar on Sunday, October 23 at 2pm in the Democracy Forum. Join special guests for a screening and Q&A. Tickets are $25 for Members or $30 for non-members, and includes Museum admission and a complimentary copy of the DVD. Purchase tickets for the screening >>