Update: July 29, 1998
Starting this week we will provide news about our progress
towards completion. On July 19th we completed our first rough cut, and it came in just
under one hour. We hope to collect the rest of the film and stills that we need throughout
the fall, and fix the script in spots, so that we can proceed to the final cut and music
scoring by early winter.
Thanks to all the talented composers who have replied to
our notice in the Film Music Jobwire. I am overwhelmed by the number of replies we have
received and need time to sort through them and make some decisions. I have sent personal
replies to those of you who contacted me through our e-mail address, and am trying to
return calls to those who have telephoned.
If you have a photo of Mr. Kiyoshi Okamoto of Hawaii, or
have a lead on finding any relatives, please contact us immediately!
I am excited to have finally found relatives of Mr. Ben
Wayake, who had remained a mystery to those of us working on this story for the past
decade. Watch this space for a paper on him written by his grand-niece, a recent graduate
in history from UCLA.
Ive spent just a bit of time looking at
your website, and I cant wait to see the finished film. Im drawn to your work
partly because youll be looking at JA resistance that was unpopular with even
mainstream JA sentiments. Im frustrated by the fact that even the
silence breakers of the 1970s seem too politely to pay scant attention to
resistance, which implies either that such resistance was wimpy or that it hardly
happened. So far only Frank Chin and his AIIIIIEEE colleagues have openly confronted
mainstreamers with it in any extended way. Otherwise there seems to be a reluctance
to critique any aspect of the JA community. Apparently your project will go far toward
correcting some imbalances.
Im in American Culture Studies and
Ethnic Studies here at Bowling Green State University, and (for what its worth)
Im 0.5 generation JA, born in Tokyo (my mother is a 1950s Japanese war bride) and
coming hereto Ohio!--as a very young infant.
I subscribed recently to the CLPEF list,
shortly after receiving a research grant from the CLPEF toward my dissertation. As I
envision it, my dissertation will be a bit critical of some parts of the community. I
think the problem of accommodationism extends beyond the JACL, and so I hope to write a
cultural studies analysis that will examine internees literature and
art, but also issues of class, divisions of labor, and how possibly the government might
have manipulated these, as if to create a model minority even in camps.
Anyway, Im tinkering with a bunch of ideas and angles. Ill use part of the
grant support to visit the west coast, to interview some JAs and to look into some
archives. After reading your websites opening statement, I feel encouraged and
emboldened for my work.
American Culture Studies/Ethnic Studies
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH 43403
(419) 372-7576 firstname.lastname@example.org
I have just visited your website and thought it was
high time for me to introduce myself to you. My name is Eric Muller. I am an
associate professor of law at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (until a few
weeks ago at the University of Wyoming). I am in the midst of researching a book
about draft resistance by interned Japanese-Americans during World War II, focussing
extensively but not exclusively on the Heart Mountain experience. I have heard your
name and wonderful things about you from several of the men Ive interviewed for my
project, including Jack Tono, George Nozawa, Mits Koshiyama, and others.
My interest in the story of the internment and
the resisters comes both from my having spent a good deal of time in Wyoming and from my
own personal background as the grandson of someone who was interned at Buchenwald during
World War II on account of being Jewish.
Again, congrats on a lovely website.
We welcome your comments, and will publish as many as we
can. In between work on our rough cut, we are still working on an interactive
message board where you will be able to post messages and see replies.
Update: August 20, 1998
This just in... courtesy of Kenji Taguma.
Hawaii Vets Recognize Nisei Draft Resisters By KENJI G. TAGUMA Nichi Bei Times, Wednesday, August 19, 1998
OAHU, Hawaii - In a groundbreaking
attempt for reconciliation for one of the most divisive Japanese American community
issues, a Hawaii Nisei veterans group has decided to recognize and honor those who refused
to comply with a government draft order during World War II.
During World War II, the Heart Mountain Fair
Play Committee and other Nisei draft resisters refused to comply with a military draft
unless their parents were released from camp, their citizenship status was clarified, and
they were allowed to serve in non-segregated units.
On Aug. 3, the board of directors of the 442nd
Veterans Club of Oahu - the largest of any World War II Japanese American veteran
organizations - passed the resolution to give recognition and commend the members of the
Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee for their "unswerving effort to uphold the
Constitution of the United States, the restoration of their civil rights and their fight
for justice and democracy." Continue this article here
Update: Sept. 30, 1998
Jim Akutsu 1920-1998
Sad news to report: Hajime Jim Akutsu passed away last week,
Sept. 22nd. His son Phillip says it happened very fast. Services were last Sunday at
Seattle Buddhist Church.
Jim resisted the draft out of Minidoka and was widely
regarded as the model for Ichiro Yamada in John Okada's novel, NO-NO BOY. Jim's interview
is currently in the script for our final cut.
As soon as we get information on where to send
remembrances, we will post it here. I'm sure that cards can be sent to the family home,
Mrs. Amy Akutsu, 1917 S. Walker, Seattle WA 98144.
Update: Oct. 16, 1998 A blank space in the history of the Heart Mountain draft resistance
is finally given a face with the discovery of a photograph and biography of the last
"missing man:" treasurer Ben Wakaye of San Francisco.
Ben passed away in 1952 but he is remembered by his
great-niece, Amy Fujimoto. She has shared with us a paper she wrote for the history
program at UCLA. She is now working in advertising with Los Angeles Magazine. The
photo is courtesy of Ben's older sister, Kiyono Tominaga.
Now, if anyone has a photo of Mr. Kiyoshi Okamoto of
Hawaii, or has a lead on finding any relatives, please contact us immediately!
Update: Oct. 20, 1998
Highlights of the federal court files from both trials of the
Heart Mountain resisters are now available on-line! With little fanfare, the National
Archives on-line Information Locator (NAIL) on September 8th posted 34 multi-page
documents from the trial of the original 63 resisters (U.S. vs. Shigeru Fujii et. al.,
U.S. District Court Case #4928), and the subsequent trial of the seven Fair Play
Committee leaders and journalist James Omura (U.S. vs. Kiyoshi Okamoto, et. al., Case
Click here and scroll down
about eleven screens to the box titled, "Criminal Case Files of the United States
District Court, 1890-1949. Our thanks to Archives Specialist Eric Bittner of the Rocky Mountain
Region of the National Archives for picking the papers to be scanned and posted.
Update: November 6, 1998
Whatever the flaws of the new film, The Siege, it
brings alive the issues that concern us in our show. After seeing the fictional but very
realistic roundup of Arab Americans in Brooklyn as a result of terrorist attacks in New
York City, and their detention in an empty football stadium complete with shiny new razor
wire and cyclone fencing, my teenage daughter said, "I didn't believe it could really
happen, but now I kind of see how it could." The film's official website asks, "At
what point does the protection of the country's citizens conflict with the protection of
their rights? ... How quickly will the country abrogate the Constitution?..." There's
an almost identical line in an earlier draft of our script.
Update: November 27, 1998
STATUS OF OUR SHOW: After getting feedback on our first rough
cut we are now restructuring our script to clarify the storyline and strengthen our
characters. We still expect to have a fine cut completed by early next year.
In the meantime, congratulations go to these Civil Liberties Fund projects:
Tom Ikeda, Scott Oki, and the staff of "Densho: The Japanese American Legacy
Project," based here in Seattle, for their succcessful preview last weekend at the
historic Nippon-kan Theater. When this project goes public and on-line you will be
astonished at the interactive, multi-media archive they are creating. They are preserving
videotaped oral history interviews with camp survivors, much like the Shoah Project for
Emiko and Chizu Omori, for their film, "A Question of Loyalty," a personal
memoir and family story that also examines the resistance in camp. Here's the news from
Guess what! We got accepted for showing in the
Sundance Film Festival! This is so exciting we're trying to tell everybody. Thanks so much
for your support of this project. We're Utah-bound!
Ann Noble of Cora, Wyoming, for distributing her new CD-ROM, The
Heart Mountain Relocation Camp Story on CD-ROM, to all Wyoming high schools, colleges
and libraries. It's a multi-media look at the Heart Mountain experience from the
perspectives of both the internees and their white neighbors, with a helpful timeline.
Click here for a detailed description and ordering information
for this well-researched disk, which is available by mail from Ann. It retails for $50.00,
but Ann is offering a web special: mention you saw it here, and she'll send it to you for
$35.00 plus $3.00 shipping.
Update: December 7, 1998
Couldn't let Pearl Harbor Day pass without making note of it
.... "the day Japanese Americans go into hiding," as Frank Chin once remarked.
But that was back in the 70's and before the Days of Remembrance and redress. Now we're on
TV and the Internet. And we've heard back from the author of Concentration Camps or Summer Camps?
which you'll find posted on our links page:
From "Robert Ito" <email@example.com>
Thanks for posting my article on your
fantastic website. What a great resource! I've already downloaded the articles from the LA
and HI papers, and really enjoyed the piece that Amy did on her uncle's involvement in the
Fair Play Committee. I had no idea she had done work in that field...thanks for bringing
that important research paper to my attention.
Re your question about the MoJo piece: it is an original work
done for the Mother Jones online magazine, so your credit is fine as is. I'll also keep up
with your website for further information about your film. Sounds like a great project,
and you've certainly assembled a fine group of talent to work on it. I hope you'll let me
know when you get ready to air the piece.
Thanks again for posting my article...it's quite an honor.
Check out Robert's article about the new generation of
historical revisionists on the Internet. One of the subheads is titled "Web of
Infamy." The author adds, "I've been intrigued by the late Lillian Baker for
some time (her exploits have been covered in papers like the Rafu), and so was interested
to find that her legacy was continuing to live on thanks to the internet." He's an
assistant editor at Los Angeles Magazine.
And let's hear YOUR comments about this site. As soon as I finish the current rewrite
of our script I promise to get a comment form and guestbook posted. In the meantime, E-mail us.
This site captures the latest news relating to the history of Japanese American
incarceration in World War II, focusing on the story of the Heart Mountain Fair Play
Committee, the largest organized resistance inside American concentration camps. Our major
project is a one-hour video documentary for public television that is now in
post-production. Read our synopsis below.
Closer to the time our show airs, this site will expand into an on-line study guide and
interactive resource center that makes the primary documents referenced in the program
available to you... everything we wanted to put in the script but couldn't fit into the
square box that is television. Again, welcome, and please let us hear from you.