Forgotten Valor (film)


Title Forgotten Valor
Date 2001
Director Lane Nishikawa
Producer Karen Criswell
Writer Lane Nishikawa
Screenplay Lane Nishikawa
Starring Soon-Tek Oh (Colonel Kim); Lane Nishikawa (George Fukuoka); Ryun Yu (Glenn); Emily Liu (Susan); Marilyn Tokuda (Akemi); Greg Watanabe (Alan) Mike Hagiwara (Maui); Jim Ishida (Mits); Nelson Mashita (Sharkey)
Music Dan Kuramoto
Cinematography Robert Primes, A.S.C.
Editing Karen Snyder
Studio Mission from Buddha Productions
Runtime 43 minutes
IMDB Forgotten Valor

Dramatic film about a 442nd Regimental Combat Team veteran who was among those awarded the Medal of Honor in 2000, but who refuses to attend the ceremony and subsequently disappears.

As the film opens George Fukuoka (Lane Nishikawa) runs his Japanese confectionary shop with his adult daughter Susan (Emily Liu) and son Alan (Greg Watanabe). But the announcement of the Medal of Honor triggers both his post-traumatic stress disorder and feelings of guilt about his survival after seeing so many of his buddies die. His subsequent disappearance worries his family and friends, who are afraid he might kill himself. Colonel Kim (Sook-Tek Oh), his commanding officer visits one of his war buddies, Mits (Jim Ishida), and sets out to find George. Mits's son, Glenn (Ryun Yu), also a veteran of an unspecified war, is assigned to help the Colonel. The two men visit family and friends, before finding George in full uniform honoring his fallen comrades at the Go For Broke Memorial in downtown Los Angeles. But can they reach him?

Though Fukuoka is fictional, many other aspects of the film are based on real events, people or places. Some fifty years after the war, the army and navy reviewed the war records of Asian American soldiers to determine if any should be upgraded to receive the Medal of Honor. They eventually recommended twenty-two for upgrades, which were presented by President Bill Clinton in 2000. The Colonel is based on Colonel Young-Oak Kim, a decorated veteran who served with Japanese Americans despite being of Korean ancestry. The final scenes were shot at the actual Go For Broke monument, while George's shop's history is based on the actual Fugetsu-do shop in Los Angeles Little Tokyo and scenes of the shop were filmed there.

Forgotten Valor was one of three films that writer/director Lane Nishikawa wrote and directed about World War II veterans—which include Only the Brave (2005) and When We Were Warriors (1999). It was supported by funding from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program and a collaboration between Nishikawa and the Go For Broke Educational Foundation. It won the best short feature award at the 2001 Hawai'i International Film Festival.

Authored by Patricia Wakida

For More Information

Palopoli, Steve. "Pride and Prejudice", Metro Santa Cruz, October 8-15, 2003.