The Bitter Memory: America's Concentration Camps (film)


Title The Bitter Memory: America's Concentration Camps
Date 1975
Director Douglas A. Lee; Yolanda Huang; John K. Yamaguchi
Producer Douglas A. Lee; Yolanda Huang; John K. Yamaguchi
Writer Douglas A. Lee; Yolanda Huang; John K. Yamaguchi
Narrator Wendy Chang
Starring Hiroshi Kashiwagi (interviewee); Mary Otani (interviewee); Michi Mukai (interviewee); Kumito Ishida (interviewee)
Studio U.C. Berkeley Television Office
Runtime 28 minutes

Early film that provides an overview of the wartime forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans on the West Coast produced by the University of California, Berkeley in 1975. Bitter Memory tells the story through narration and interviews with former inmates accompanied by archival footage from Office of War Information/War Relocation Authority (WRA) films and WRA still photos. All footage—even contemporary interview footage and footage shot at Tule Lake—is in black and white. Identified inmate narrators include poet and playwright Hiroshi Kashiwagi, Mary Otani, Michi Mukai, and Kumito Ishida. The bulk of the film deals with living conditions in the concentration camps—the lack of privacy, the breaking up of the family unit, employment, food and so forth—along with the loyalty questionnaire and segregation. The film is also known as Bitter Memories: Tule Lake, even though only the last few minutes of the film focus on Tule Lake.

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

For More Information

The Bitter Memory streaming at the Internet Archive.