When You're Smiling: The Deadly Legacy of Internment (film)


Title When You're Smiling: The Deadly Legacy of Internment
Date 1999
Genre Documentary
Director Janice D. Tanaka
Producer Janice D. Tanaka
Writer Janice D. Tanaka
Starring Duane Ebata (interviewee); Susan Tanaka Heller (interviewee); Art Ishii (interviewee); Mas Kodani (interviewee); June Okita Kuramoto (interviewee); Yuki Morita (interviewee); Nick Nagatani (interviewee); Mike Nakayama (interviewee); Cindy Tomita Oda (interviewee); Irene Watanabe (interviewee); Evelyn Yoshimura (interviewee); Amy Iwasaki Mass (interviewee); Kenji K. Arai (interviewee); Merilynne Quon (interviewee)
Runtime 60 minutes
IMDB When You're Smiling: The Deadly Legacy of Internment

A personal account of the resettlement of the Japanese American community after forced incarceration during World War II, as told through the filmmaker Janice D. Tanaka's own family's struggle in the decades after the war. While the Japanese American community appeared, from the outside, to have put their traumatic war years behind barbed wire behind them, the cost of their apparent adaptation manifested itself in serious identity crisis and deep personal trauma. Through interviews, When You're Smiling explores the devastating spiral of gangs, drugs and suicide that plagued the Sansei generation who grew up in poor neighborhoods like South Central Los Angeles under a blanket of their parents' silence about the war experience and challenges the model minority myth surrounding the recovery of the Japanese American community.

Authored by Patricia Wakida