Ganbare Don't Give Up! (film)


Title Ganbare Don't Give Up!
Date 1994
Director Robet Bates
Producer Tom Coffman
Writer Tom Coffman
Starring Ted Tsukiyama (interviewee); Patsy Takemoto Mink (interviewee); Hung Wai Ching (interviewee); Daniel Inouye (interviewee)
Cinematography Paul Shimabukuro
Editing Robet Bates
Studio Tom Coffman Multimedia; Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i
Runtime 14 minutes

Documentary film that provides an overview of what happened to Japanese Americans in Hawai'i during World War II, focusing on the limited internment of Issei community leaders and the exploits of Japanese American men in the armed forces. Ganbare Don't Give Up! was produced as a part of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i's core exhibition, Okage Sama De: I am what I am because of you, which remains the only place where it can be viewed.

The internment story is told largely through the story of publisher Yasutaro Soga, whose poetry and memoirs are read by an actor and whose arrest and journey is depicted in recreated black and white footage. Interviews with Japanese Americans reflect the fear and uncertainty that gripped the population after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The internment story is contrasted with the military story, beginning with the Japanese American members of the Hawaii Territorial Guard who were pressed into service on Dec. 7, only to be kicked out six weeks later. Ted Tsukiyama and Hung Wai Ching recall the formation of the Varsity Victory Volunteers, leading to the story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The film briefly touches on life in Hawai'i under martial law and ends with the return of the veterans to Hawai'i, determined to change things and pursue their rights as part of the "second battle" after the "first battle" of their military service. Filmmaker Tom Coffman would further pursue these ideas and reasons that no mass exclusion of Japanese Americans took place in Hawai'i in his later film, The First Battle: The Battle for Equality in War-Time Hawaii.

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho