ECCE: Hidden Histories: The Story and Legacy of Japanese American WWII Incarceration

An ECCE Speaker’s Event Oct. 6 showcased three of five movies from a travelling film program about Japanese-American concentration camps during World War II.

The three movies shown were The Orange Story, A Song for Manzanar, and Tadaima, which illustrated only a few of the many stories that Japanese-Americans faced after being confined to  internment camps during the 1940s.

The Orange Story, directed by Erika Street, narrated the story of Koji, an elderly man who had to sell his property before he was admitted to a concentration camp. A Song for Manzanar, directed by Kazuko Golden and Phil Emerson, told the story of a family being kept within the Manzanar concentration camp. Tadaima, directed by Robin D’Oench, followed the story of a family returning from a concentration camp and how they had to rebuild their house.

At the first showing of Hidden Histories, panelists Yosh Golden, Kazuko Golden, Erika Street and Ali Nizamuddin were present to answer any questions that the audience had about the experiences of Japanese-Americans.

Actor Joe Takehara, who played Koji in The Orange Story, lived in Japanese internment camps for four years.

“It was so traumatic in [Joe Takehara’s] life that a lot of those memories are not even clear,” Kazuko Golden recalls. “For him, thinking of his family for four years living in horse stables was not something he could easily just talk about.”

Yosh Golden, the mother of Kazuko Golden, was born within the Manzanar concentration camp and also talked about her experiences growing up in confinement.

Hidden Histories will be available for free online next month. The directors hope to add interactive questions and discussions after each short movie to help students become more aware of America’s dark past.