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
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.
In the eyes of ABC 7 Eyewitness News Anchor David Ono, lessons from the Heart Mountain concentration camps still resonate today. In the four-part special, Witness: The Legacy of Heart Mountain, Ono explores the camp’s history and legacy.
Witness tells the story of the camp through photos from the Hirahara collection. While incarcerated at Heart Mountain, Patti Hirahara’s father and grandfather—both avid photographers—secretly built a darkroom under their barrack. They would go on to shoot and print over 2,000 photos cataloguing life inside the camp. Interspersed are interviews with those connected to the camps, from those incarcerated such as Judge Lance Ito and his mother, to Shirley Higuchi, Chair of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation Board of Directors.
The Japanese American National Museum plays a role in this documentary as well. Several interviews were filmed in the Museum’s Common Ground: The Heart of Community exhibition, supplemented by archival footage from the Museum’s permanent collection.
David Ono’s Witness is a moving look into the Japanese American experience during some of America’s darkest hours, told by the people who witnessed it firsthand and complemented by striking photos from inside the camps.
If you’re a fan of Nobuko, don’t miss her performance this coming Tuesday at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions:
Nobuko Miyamoto—What Can a Song Do? Tuesday, January 24, 7pm
Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, 6522 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90028.
Together with a group of guest musicians and activists from the 1960s/‘70s and the present, Miyamoto brings alive the dynamic moment when her 1973 album “A Grain of Sand: Music for the Struggle of Asians in America,” created a heartbeat for the Asian American Movement and shared rhythms with Black, Latino, and Native American cultural and political activists.
General admission is $10, students is $5, and it’s FREE for members of JANM and LACE! Tickets available at the door.
One last Drawing the Line update! We asked Yoshimi Kawashima (a former intern and current JANM volunteer!) to write an article about Gidra magazine for our Discover Nikkei site. Yoshimi is a current UCLA student active with the Nikkei Student Union (NSU), so thought she’d appreciate the assignment. We think she did a great job! GIDRA: The Voice of the Asian American Movement
Update (added 1/20/12): We’ve pulled together a Nikkei Album on our Discover Nikkei site with all of the Drawing the Line videos with brief summaries of each video. Check it out >>