Documentary films/videos on incarceration
The following is an attempt at a comprehensive listing of documentary films/videos that include a significant treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II, broken up into several broad categories. The list includes films that were made available to the general public, whether through being aired on television, made available on video cassettes or DVDs, or released online. In many cases, a link leads to a separate article on each film that includes more detailed information.
The first three categories below are self-explanatory.
The "Biographical Films on Former Inmates (or Families) or Other Key Figures in Incarceration" category includes films on individuals or families that either focus primarily on the World War II years and their after-effects or are on people who are best known for their wartime activities. Biographical films in which the incarceration is mentioned but is not a central focus, are included in the "Documentaries that Include the Incarceration" category.
The "How We Remember the Incarceration" category is a catch-all for films that explore the after-effects of incarceration in some way and includes films that draw comparisons to the aftermath of 9/11, films on the redress movement, and films on camp pilgrimages, among other subtopics.
The "Japanese American Military Service during World War II" category includes any film primarily focused on that topic, including those that make little or no mention of the concentration camps and biographical films that focus on military service more than on the incarceration.
The "Documentaries that Include the Incarceration" category include films whose primary focus is on another topic, but that includes a significant mention of the wartime incarceration in telling its story.
Last updated: January 2023.
And Then They Came for Us . Directed by Abby Ginzberg and Ken Schneider, 2017.
Barriers and Passes . Produced by the Board of National Missions, ca. 1944. 33 minutes.
The Bitter Memory: America's Concentration Camps . U.C. Berkeley Television Office, 1975. 28 minutes.
A Challenge to Democracy . Produced by the War Relocation Authority, 1944. 21 minutes.
Discoveries... America National Parks: Japanese American Incarceration, 1942-1945 . Bennett-Watt HD Productions, 2013. 56 minutes.
Encounter with the Past: American Japanese Internment in World War II . Produced and directed by Tak Shindo, 1980. 50 minutes.
Forced Out: Internment and the Enduring Damage to California Cities and Towns . KVIE public television, Sacramento, 2003. 30 minutes.
Guilty by Reason of Race . Produced and reported by Robert Northshield for NBC, 1972. 52 minutes.
In Time of War . Directed by Andrea Palpant, 2004. 54 minutes. [Overview film that focuses on the experience of Japanese Americans in the Pacific Northwest.]
Invisible Citizens . Directed by Keiko Tsuno, 1983. 58 minutes.
Japanese Relocation . Produced by the War Relocation Authority , 1942. 9 minutes.
The Nisei: The Pride and the Shame . CBS, 1965. 30 minutes.
Stories from America's Concentration Camps . Produced and directed by Steve LaRosa, 2000. 52 minutes.
Subversion? . Produced by Barry Brown. 1971. 30 minutes.
Toyo's Camera: Japanese American History During WWII . Directed by Junichi Suzuki, 2009. 98 minutes.
Voices Long Silent . Directed by Bob Matsumoto, c.1981/1988/2010. 17 minutes.
We the People Series . Produced by Catherine Busch, 2019. 119 minutes. [Seven part overview of the wartime roundup and incarceration of Japanese Americans, its aftermath, and its relevance today.]
When Rabbit Left the Moon . Directed by Emiko Omori, 2017. 15 minutes.
Without Due Process: Japanese Americans and World War II . Produced by New Dimension Media, 1992. 52 minutes.
Specific Camp or Community
After Silence: Civil Rights and the Japanese American Experience . Directed by Lois Shelton, 2003. 30 minutes. [On Bainbridge Island, Washington.]
All We Could Carry . Directed by Steven Okazaki for the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, 2011. 15 minutes. [Introductory video at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center.]
Amache Rose . Directed by Billyl Kanaly, 2022. 28 minutes. [On the Amache, Colorado, concentration camp.]
An American Story: World War II Stories of the Tragedy and Triumph of Our Japanese-American Community During Wartime . Watsonville Public Library and Watsonville-Santa Cruz JACL, 2011. 110 minutes. [On the Japanese American community in California's Pajaro Valley.]
Alien Enemy Detention Facility: Crystal City Texas . Immigration and Naturalization Service, Department of Justice, ca. 1943. 21 minutes.
An American History: Resettlement of Japanese Americans in Greater Cleveland . Directed by Greg Petusky and Johnny Wu, 2000. 53 minutes.
Bearing the Unbearable . Produced and directed by Rory Banyard for North Shore Productions and the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, 2019. 29 minutes. [On the incarceration of Japanese Americans from Bainbridge Island, Washington.]
Behind Barbed Wire . Directed by Kathryn Crawford. [On Bainbridge Island, Washington]
Betrayed: Surviving an American Concentration Camp . Directed by Rory Banyard, 2022. 57 minutes. [Hour-long version of Minidoka documentary used as the orientation film at the site.]
Blossoms & Thorns: A Community Uprooted . Directed by Ken Kokka, 2012. 18 minutes. [On the impact of forced removal and incarceration on Japanese American flower growers in Richmond, California.]
California's Gold with Huell Howser: Manzanar . Written and produced by Huell Howser, 2002. 29 minutes. [Episode of the public television series that explores the Manzanar site with former inmates of the camp.]
Camp Amache: The Story of an American Tragedy ] . Directed by Don Dexter, 2006. 57 minutes.
Colorado Experience: Amache . Produced by Rocky Mountain PBS and History Colorado, 2013. 56 minutes.
The Crystal City . Directed by Kenya Gillespie, 2018. 13 minutes.
Democracy Under Pressure: Japanese Americans and World War II ]'. Produced by Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego , 2000. 27 minutes. [On Japanese Americans in San Diego and their incarceration at Poston.]
The Empty Chair . Written and directed by Greg Chaney, 2014. 72 minutes. [On the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans from Juneau, Alaska.]
The Fence at Minidoka . Written and produced by Barbara Tanabe for KOMO, Seattle, 1971. 27 minutes.
The First Battle: The Battle for Equality in War-Time Hawaii . Directed by Tom Coffman, 2006. 56 minutes.
Ganbare Don't Give Up! Directed by Tom Coffman for the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, 1994. 15 minutes. [Video on the Japanese American World War II experience in Hawai'i that is part of the core exhibition at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i.]
Heart Mountain: An All American Town . Written and directed by Raechel Donahue, 2011. 82 minutes.
Heart Mountain: Three Years in an Internment Camp . Produced by KCSM-TV, San Mateo, Calif., 1997. 27 minutes.
The Idaho Homefront: Of Camps and Combat . Produced by Idaho Public Television, 2007. 30 minutes.
Justice Betrayed . Produced and directed by Gordon Lee for the Japanese American Citizens League, Honolulu Chapter, 1992. 30 minutes.
The Legacy of Heart Mountain . David Ono & Jeff MacIntyre, 2014. 56 minutes.
The Lost Village of Terminal Island . Directed by David Metzler, 2007. 42 minutes.
Manzanar . Directed by Robert Nakamura, 1971. 20 minutes.
Manzanar Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust . Produced and directed by Ann Kaneko, 2021. 84 minutes.
The Merced Assembly Center: Injustice Immortalized . Directed by Shawn Bockoven, 2012. 53 minutes.
Nebraska's Nisei . Produced by the University of Nebraska, 1998. 26 minutes.
On the Go: Little Tokyo . Produced by CBS, 1959. 30 minutes. [Features interviews with four denizens of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles that recall the wartime incarceration and its aftermath.]
Oregon's Japanese Americans: Beyond the Wire . Produced by Nadine Jelsing for Oregon Public Broadcasting, 2019. 66 minutes.
Passing Poston: An American Story . Directed by Joe Fox and James Nubile, 2008. 60 minutes.
A Place Called Rohwer . Produced by E. Jay Freidlander, 1981. 30 minutes.
Prisoners and Patriots: The Untold Story of Japanese Internment in Santa Fe . Directed by Neil H. Simon, 2011. 91 minutes.
The Red Pines: Japanese-Americans on Bainbridge Island . Directed by Lucy Ostrander and Don Sellers, 2006. 12 minutes.
Remembering Manzanar . Produced by Signature Communications for the National Park Service, 2004. 22 minutes. [Introductory video at the Manzanar National Historic Site 's Visitor Center.]
Resettled Roots: Legacies of Japanese Americans in Chicago . Produced and directed by Ann Takada for the Japanese American Service Committee, 2019. 33 minutes.
Return to the Valley: Japanese American Experience After WWII . Directed by Scott Gracheff for KTEH, San Jose, 2003. 57 minutes.
Resistance at Tule Lake . Directed by Konrad Aderer, 2016. 60 minutes.
The Silent Fair . Produced by the Japanese American Citizens League Puyallup Valley Chapter, 2017. [On the Puyallup Assembly Center.]
Silent Sacrifice: Stories of Japanese American Incarceration in Central California and Beyond . Written and directed by Jeff Aiello for by Valley PBS, 2018. 117 minutes.
Singled Out: Jerome and Rohwer . Directed by Rob Reep, 2012. 24 minutes.
Tanforan: From Race Track to Assembly Center . Directed by Dianne Fukami for KCSM, San Mateo, 1994. 57 minutes.
A Thousand Paper Cranes: How Denver's Japanese American Community Emerged from Internment . Produced by Amada Zitzman and Roxana A. Soto for the City and County of Denver, 2020. 39 minutes.
Time of Fear . Directed by Sue Williams, 2004. 56 minutes. [On the Arkansas camps.]
A Time Remembered: The Terminal Island Story . Directed by Trevor Greenwood, 1994. 42 minutes.
Topaz . Written, produced and directed by Ken Verdoia for KUED, Salt Lake City, 1987. 58 minutes.
The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i . Written and directed by Ryan Kawamoto for the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, 2012. 57 minutes.
Visible Target . Produced by KCTS, Seattle, 1985. 28 minutes. [On Bainbridge Island, Washington.]
Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of Hawai'i Island . Directed by Ryan Kawamoto for Kinetic Productions and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, 2018. 27 minutes.
Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of O'ahu . Directed by Ryan Kawamoto for Kinetic Productions and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, 2018. 29 minutes.
We Said No! No!: A Story of Civil Disobedience . Produced and directed by Brian Tadashi Maeda, 2021. 77 minutes. [Documentary film that focuses on life at post-segregation Tule Lake.]
Winter in My Soul . Produced by KTWO, Casper, Wyoming, 1986. 60 minutes. [On Heart Mountain.]
Wyoming Chronicle: Aura Newlin—Japanese Americans in Wyoming . Produced by KCWC TV/Wyoming PBS, 2017. 29 minutes.
Specific Camp or Resettlement Related Subtopic
Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066 . Directed by Jon Osaki, 2018. 65 minutes [On the chain of events that led to Executive Order 9066 and the parallels with the present.]
The Art of Gaman: The Story Behind the Objects . Produced and directed by Rick Quan, 2010. 20 minutes. [Produced to accompany the traveling exhibition, The Art of Gaman .]
Before They Take Us Away . Written and directed by Antonia Grace Glenn, 2022. 57 minutes. [On " voluntary evacuation ."]
A Bitter Legacy . Produced and directed by Claudia Katayanagi, 2016. 70 minutes. [On the WRA prisons at Moab , Utah, and Leupp, Arizona.]
Children of the Camps . Directed by Stephen Holsapple & Satsuki Ina, 1999. 57 minutes.
The Colorado Experience: Freedom & Poverty . Directed by Bryan Yokomi, 2009. 32 minutes. [On Japanese American " voluntary evacuees " who moved to Colorado to avoid wartime incarceration.]
Enduring Democracy: The Monterey Petition . Directed by David C. Schendel, 2021. 64 minutes. [On a petition signed by over four hundred residents of the Monterey Bay area urging acceptance of returning Japanese Americans in 1945.]
For Joy . Produced by Kishi Bashi/Omoiyari Songfilm, 2019. 15 minutes. [Documents the visit by contemporary musical duo No-No Boy to see Joy Takeshita Teraoka, who sang with the George Igawa Orchestra at Heart Mountain.]
Forsaken Fields . Produced by KVIE, Sacramento, 2001. 26 minutes. [On the impact the forced removal of Japanese Americans had on California agriculture.]
Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Arts in the World War II Internment Camps . Produced by Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto, 2014. 57 minutes.
Kokufuku (The Return) . Produced by KRON, San Francisco, 1967. 30 minutes. [On the return and recovery of the Japanese American community to San Francisco after the concentration camps.]
Leap of Faith: How Enmanji Temple Was Saved . Directed by Lina Hoshino, 2010. 20 minutes.
Lost LA: Three Views of Manzanar: Adams, Lange, Miyatake . Directed by Matt Bass, 2019. 27 minutes.
Manzanar Fishing Club (film)|The Manzanar Fishing Club . Directed by Cory Shiozaki, 2012. 74 minutes.
Relics from Camp: A Video Journey . Produced and directed by Kristine Yuki Aono, 1998. 18 minutes.
Relocations and Revisions: The Japanese-American Internment Reconsidered . Directed by Carole Ann Klonarides and Joe Leonardi, 1992. 27 minutes.
Resettlement to Redress: Rebirth of the Japanese-American Community . Produced by KVIE, Sacramento, 2005. 55 minutes.
Searchlight Serenade . Produced by KEET, Eureka, California, 2012. 57 minutes. [On Japanese American swing bands in the concentration camps.]
Six Weddings and a Dress . Written and directed by Steven Nagano, 2014. 8 minutes. [On a wedding dress made in Manzanar that was worn by six different brides.]
Sowing Seeds of Life… Of Hope . Directed by Michi Tanioka, 2015. 8 minutes. [On the significance of growing Japanese vegetables at Heart Mountain.]
Starting Over: Japanese Americans After the War . Directed by Dianne Fukami for KCSM, San Mateo, California, 1996. 57 minutes.
Take Me Home: A Child's Experience of Internment . Produced by Whitworth College, 2005. 15 minutes.
The View from Within: Japanese American Art from the Internment Camps 1942–1945 . Directed by Taiji Miyagawa, 1993. 32 minutes. [On the 1992 exhibition of the same name, featuring its curator, Karin Higa.]
The Way Ahead . Produced by the War Relocation Authority, 1943. [Government film shown to Japanese Americans in the concentration camps, encoring them to "resettle" to the Midwest of East.]
We'll Meet Again: Children of WWII . Produced by Blink Films, 2018. 50 minutes. [Debut episode of PBS TV series that reunites people linked by a key historical event features a reunion between a Nisei child who had been incarcerated at Heart Mountain and the white friend who welcomed her back to school upon her return.]
Words, Weavings & Songs . Produced by Japanese American National Museum, 2002. 34 minutes. [On Nisei artists Wakako Yamauchi, Momo Nagano, and Mary Nomura.]
Biographical Films on Former Inmates (or Families) or Other Key Figures in Incarceration
Act of Faith: The Rev. Emery Andrews Story . Directed by Janice D. Tanaka, 2015. 50 minutes.
The Brighter Side of Dark: Toyo Miyatake, 1895–1979 . Directed by Robert Nakamura, 1996. 28 minutes.
California's Gold with Huell Howser: Songbird of Manzanar , Episode 7003. Written and produced by Huell Howser, 2005. 25 minutes. [A visit to the 2004 Manzanar Pilgrimage includes biographical segments on painter Henry Fukuhara and singer Mary Nomura, with interviews of each.]
The Cats of Mirikitani . Directed by Linda Hattendorf, 2006. 74 minutes. [On the filmmaker's discovery of artist Jimmy Mirkitani, who was living on the streets of New York City.]
Dave Tatsuno: Movies and Memories . Produced by KTEH, San Jose, 2006. 57 minutes.
Days of Waiting: The Life and Art of Estelle Ishigo . Directed by Steven Okazaki, 1990. 28 minutes.
Dear Miss Breed . Directed by Veronica Ko for the Japanese American National Museum, 2000. 13 minutes. [Produced for the exhibition Dear Miss Breed: Letters from Camp .]
East L.A. Marine: The Untold True Story of Guy Gabaldon . Written, produced and directed by Steven Jay Rubin, 2006. 77 minutes. [Gabaldon was a Mexican American who was adopted by a Japanese American family and who became war hero in the Pacific while his family was incarcerated.]
First to Go: Story of the Kataoka Family . Produced and directed by Myles Matsuno, 2017. 20 minutes.
A Flicker in Eternity . Directed by Ann Kaneko & Sharon Yamato, 2012. 25 minutes. [Based on the camp diary of Stanley Hayami, a young man in camp who is later killed in Europe as a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.]
From a Silk Cocoon . Directed by Emery Clay III, Stephen Holsapple, and Satsuki Ina, 2005. 57 minutes. [On the incarceration experience of the Ina family, who end up as renunciants at post-segregation Tule Lake.]
Fumiko Hayashida: The Woman Behind the Symbol . Directed by Lucy Ostarander & Don Sellers, 2009. 15 minutes.
Gila River and Mama: The Ruth Mix Story . Written and directed by Claire Mix, 2011. 49 minutes.
Harsh Canvas: The Art and Life of Henry Sugimoto . Directed by John Esaki for the Japanese American National Museum, 2001. 30 minutes. [Produced in conjunction with the exhibition Henry Sugimoto: Painting an American Experience .]
A Hero's Hero . Directed by Robert M. Shoji, 2020, 11 minutes. [On Nisei draft resister Yosh Kuromiya and his nephew, civil rights activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya.]
Hidden Internment: The Art Shibayama Story . Directed by Casey Peek, 2004. 27 minutes. [On the incarceration story of a Japanese Latin American man.]
Hiro: A Story of Japanese Internment . Produced and directed by Keiko Wright, 2011. 30 minutes. [On Hiroshi “Hiro” Hoshizaki, who had been imprisoned at Heart Mountain.]
I Am an American . Directed by Robert Shoji, 2016. 13 minutes [On Toshiko Shoji Ito, a Nisei incarcerated at Minidoka.]
The Ito Sisters . Produced and directed by Antonia Grace Glenn, 2017. 80/57 minutes.
Jimmy Murakami—Non Alien . Directed by Sé Merry Doyle, 2010. 90 minutes.
Kash: The Legend and Legacy of Shiro Kashino . Directed by Vince Matsudaira, 2011. 68 minutes.
The Kawamotos of Lake Leland . Directed by Pamela Roberts, 2011. 29 minutes.
Lawson Fusao Inada: What It Means to Be Free . Produced and directed by Michael Markee and Vincent Wixon, 2001. 23 minutes.
Mitsuye and Nellie: Asian American Poets . Directed by Allie Light & Irving Saraf, 1981. 58 minutes. [On poets Mitsuye Yamada and Nellie Wong.]
Mr. Tanimoto's Journey . Produced and directed by Jessie Dizard for the Advanced Laboratory for Visual Anthropology, Cal State University, Chico, 2018. 27 minutes. [Profiles Gridley, California, farmer and former Tule Lake inmate Jim Tanimoto.]
The Music Man of Manzanar . Directed by Brian T. Maeda, 2005. 33 minutes. [On Lou Frizzell, who taught music and drama at Manzanar High School.]
My Friends Behind Barbed Wire . Produced by Stourwater Pictures for Washington State’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2008. 9 minutes. [On Brooks and Emery Andrews .]
Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice . Directed by Will Doolittle and Holly Yasui, 2017. 56 minutes.
Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story . Directed by Eric Paul Fournier, 2000. 60 minutes.
One-Two-One-Seven . Directed by Brett Kodama, 2017. 13 minutes. [On the Manzanar story of the filmmaker's grandmother, Sharon Shizuko Okazaki Kodama.]
Out of Infamy: Michi Nishiura Weglyn . Produced and directed by Nancy Kapitanoff & Sharon Yamato, 2010. 17 minutes.
A Personal Matter: Gordon Hirabayashi vs. the United States . Directed by John de Graaf, 1992. 30 minutes.
Rebel with a Cause: The Life of Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga . Directed by Janice Tanaka, 2016. 82 minutes.
Sincerely, Miné Okubo . Directed by Yuka Murakami for the Japanese American National Museum, 2021. 16 minutes. [Short film artist Okubo produced for the JANM exhibition Miné Okubo's Masterpiece: The Art of Citizen 13660 .]
Songbird of Manzanar . Directed by Cody Edison, 2016. 16 minutes. [On the wartime journey of singer Mary Nomura .]
Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray . Directed by Robert A. Nakamura for the Japanese American National Museum, 2001. 28 minutes.
Unexpected Journeys: Remarkable Stories of Japanese in America . Produced and directed by John Esaki for the Japanese American National Museum, 2013. 35 minutes. [Documentary film consisting of short profiles of Japanese Americans whose "surprising stories" were shaped by World War II in unusual ways.]
The Untold Story of Ralph Carr and the Japanese: The Fate of 3 Japanese-Americans and the Internment . Written and directed by Takuro Arai, 2011. 49 minutes.
Within Their Gates . Directed by Matthew Goriachkovsky, 2019. 10 minutes. [Profiles Yukio Shimomura, who had been incarcerated at Manzanar as a child.]
Without Due Process: A Documentary About America's Concentration Camps . Directed by Brian Beanblossom, 2001. 44 minutes. [On the WWII saga of one family, the Okamotos.]
How We Remember the Incarceration
An American Contradiction . Directed by Vanessa Yuille, 2012. 13 minutes.
Caught in Between: What to Call Home in Times of War . Produced and directed by Lina Hoshino, 2004. 25 minutes.
Comforting The Afflicted . Produced by the Southern California Nikkei United Methodist Caucus, 2003. 62 minutes.
Conscience and the Constitution . Directed by Frank Abe, 2001. 57 minutes. [On Nisei draft resisters in the concentration camps.]
Crystal City Pilgrimage, October 31 to November 3, 2019 . Produced by Alan Kondo, 2019. 16 minutes.
Day of Remembrance , produced and directed by Cynthia Gates Fujikawa, 2003. 13 minutes. [Documents 2003 Day of Remembrance programs in various cities.]
Day of Remembrance: The First National Ceremony . Directed by gayle k. yamada, 1999. 106 minutes.
December 7/September 11 . Produced by Ann Brandman & Paul Nishijima for Third World Newsreel. 2001. 11 minutes.
A Divided Community . Directed by Momo Yashima, 2012. 77 minutes. [Tells the story of three draft resisters.]
Double Solitaire . Directed by Corey Ohama, 1997. 20 minutes. [Looks at the impact of the incarceration on two of the filmmaker's uncles.]
Dreams Finally Realized: The Untold Stories of California Nisei Forced Out of Higher Education . Produced by California Nisei College Diploma Project, Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, 2011. 82 minutes.
Emi . Directed by Frank Nesbitt & Michael Toshiyuki Ono, 1979. 29 minutes. [On a Nisei woman's return to the site of her incarceration and to her prewar home for the first time since settling in the East Coast after the war.]
Enemy Alien . Produced and directed by Konrad Aderer, 2011. 82 minutes. [Explores the parallels between the contemporary imprisonment of a human rights activist and the Japanese American incarceration.]
Eyewitness: Stan Honda: Reflections of a Photojournalist . Produced and directed by John Esaki for the Japanese American National Museum, 2003. 25 minutes.
Family Gathering . Directed by Lise Yausi, 1988. 30/60 minutes. [On the Sansei filmmaker's exploration of the circumstances of her grandfather's wartime incarceration.]
Fighting for Justice: The Coram Nobis Cases . Directed by gayle k. yamada, 1999. 105 minutes.
Florin JACL/CAIR Manzanar Pilgrimage . Directed by Brandon Miyasaki, 2017. 10 minutes.
For the Sake of the Children . Directed by Joe Fox, James Nubile, and Marlene Shigekawa, 2017. 65 minutes.
Good Luck Soup . Produced and directed by Matthew Hashiguchi, 2016. 70/56 minutes. [On the legacy of the incarceration on a mixed race Japanese American family in Cleveland, Ohio.]
Here, in America?: The Assembly on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians . Directed by Casey Peek for the National Japanese American Historical Society, 2006. 14 minutes.
History and Memory: For Akiko and Takashige . Directed by Rea Tajiri. 1992. 32 minutes.
Interactions . Produced by the Japanese American National Museum with the UCLA Asian American Studies Center in conjunction with the Alhambra School District, 2000. 33 minutes.
Just Beyond Hope . Directed by Pia Massie, 2012. 65 minutes. [Tells the war incarceration stories of three women: artist Miné Okubo ; Margaret Sage, a social worker at the Tashme camp in Canada; and photographer Dorothea Lange .]
Justice Now! Reparations Now! Directed by Alan Kondo for the National Coalition for Redress/Reparations, 1988. 30 minutes.
Legacy of the Barracks . Produced and directed by Mark Mohr for KABC-TV, 1994. 30 minutes. [On a project to bring two barracks from Heart Mountain to Los Angeles for display at the Japanese American National Museum.]
Letters from Camp . Directed by Frank Chi for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, 2016. 3 minutes. [Muslim American children and Japanese American former wartime incarcerees read aloud letters written from the concentration camps by young Japanese Americans.]
Manzanar: Never Again . Produced and directed by Roger Sherman, 2008. 14 minutes. [Short film shot at a Manzanar Pilgrimage.]
Meeting at Tule Lake . Produced by Tule Lake Committee, 1994. 33 minutes. [On former Tule Lake inmates who return to the site of the camp.]
Memories of the Camps . Produced and directed by Mark Mohr for KABC-TV, 1992. 60 minutes. [Documentary produced by Los Angeles TV station to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the incarceration.]
Minidoka . Produced and directed by Megumi Nishikura, 2019. 14 minutes. [Documentary that follows Seattle-based activist Joseph Shoji Lachman to the 2017 Minidoka Pilgrimage.]
Moving Walls . Written, produced and directed by Sharon Yamato, 2017. 25 minutes. [On the enduring impact of Heart Mountain on both the local population and on Japanese Americans, focusing on the fate of surviving barracks from that camp.]
National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism: Dedication Ceremony , November 9, 2000, Washington D.C. Produced by Bridge Media, 2001. 60 minutes.
National Japanese American Memorial: Groundbreaking Ceremony, October 1999 . Produced by Bridge Media, 2000. 52 minutes.
The National Japanese American Memorial, Washington D.C. Produced by National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, 2004.
9066 . Produced by Edgewood Pictures, 1998. 14 minutes.
9066 to 9/11: America's Concentration Camps Then ... and Now? . Directed by Akira Boch for the Japanese American National Museum, 2004. 20 minutes.
Ohakamairi: A Visit to the Graves . Directed by Janice Tanaka, 1976. 8 minutes.
Omoiyari . Directed by Justin Taylor Smith and Kaoru Ishibashi, 2022. 93 minutes. [Follows musician Kishi Bashi as he writes and performs a song cycle inspired by the Japanese American incarceration.]
Passing Down the Legacy . Directed by Marissa Kitazawa and Alexandra Margolin, 2011. 24 minutes. [On the Bridging Communities program, a collaboration between Japanese American and American Muslim communities.]
Piecing Memories . Directed by Dianne Fukami, 2000. 17 minutes. [On a quilt inspired by memories of the incarceration.]
Pilgrimage . Directed by Tadashi Nakamura, 2006. 22 minutes. [On the first first camp pilgrimage, to Manzanar in 1969.]
Rabbit in the Moon . Directed by Emiko Omori, 1999. 85 minutes. [On divisions in the Japanese American community brought about by differing responses to incarceration.]
A Reason to Remember . Produced by Herb Levy for KRON, San Francisco, 1974. 30 minutes. [On the Tule Lake Pilgrimage.]
Redress . Produced by Jon Ayon, 2022. 39 minutes. [Documentary film on the Office of Redress Administration.]
Redress: The JACL Campaign for Justice . Written and directed by John Esaki for the Japanese American Citizens League, 1991. 40 minutes.
Relocation, Arkansas: Aftermath of Incarceration . Produced and directed by Vivienne Schiffer, 2016. 79/56 minutes. [Tells three interlinked stories about the legacy of the Rohwer , Arkansas, concentration camp.]
Reparations . Produced and directed by Jon Osaki, 2021. 30 minutes. [Makes the case for HR40 and reparations for African Americans from a Japanese American perspective.]
Right of Passage . Directed by Sreescanda and Janice D. Tanaka, 2014. 98 minutes.
Something Strong Within . Directed by Robert A. Nakamara for the Japanese American National Museum, 1994. 40 minutes. [Produced as a companion piece to the exhibition, America's Concentration Camps .]
Then Becoming Now . Directed by Emiko Omori for KALW, San Francisco, 2019. 23 minutes. [Documentary about three men who met as children when their families were incarcerated at Crystal City and who reunite to protest Trump era immigrant detention policies.]
Three Boys Manzanar . Directed by Preeti Mankar Deb, 2016. 7 minutes.
Time and Tide: Dear Mr. Collins: 80 Years Since the Japanese-American Internment . Directed by Yutaka Sakai and Masako Nakazato for NHK/S Vision, 2022. 49 minutes. [Documentary film that follows a Japanese man's quest to discover his Nisei father's wartime story.]
Unfinished Business: The Japanese American Internment Cases . Directed by Steven Okazaki, 1985. 58 minutes.
Visual Memories: Japanese American Internment and Art Therapy . Produced and directed by Rachel Lordkenaga, 2004. 49 minutes.
We the People: The Stage Production . Produced and directed by gayle k. yamada, 2001. 40 minutes.
What It Means to be Free: A Video about Poetry and Japanese American Internment . Produced and directed by Michael Markee & Vincent Wixon, 2001. 25 minutes.
When You're Smiling: The Deadly Legacy of Internment . Produced and directed by Janice D. Tanaka, 1999. 60 minutes. [On the impact of the incarceration on Sansei growing up in the decades after the war.]
Who's Going to Pay for These Donuts, Anyway? ] Directed by Janice Tanaka, 1992. 58 minutes. [On the filmmaker's search for her father, who she has not seen since she was a child.]
Yonsei Eyes . Directed by Jon Osaki, 2017. 22 minutes. [Follows two Yonsei on a visit to Tule Lake.]
Japanese American Military Service during World War II
America at Its Best: Legacy of Two Nisei Patriots . Produced and directed by Vince Matsudaira for the Nisei Veterans Committee of Seattle, Washington, 2001. 51 minutes.
American at Heart ] . Directed by Paul Hara, ca. 1993. 72 minutes.
An American Hero: Shiro Kashino . Produced and directed by Shannon Gee, 2015. 16/21 minutes.
An American Story: The History of California's Nisei Veterans . Written and produced by Tom Graves, 2009. 14 minutes.
Armed with Language . Produced by Twin Cities PBS, 2021. 58 minutes. [On the Military Intelligence Service Language School and the Nisei soldiers who trained there.]
Beyond Barbed Wire . Directed by Steve Rosen, 1997. 88 minutes.
Calling Tokyo: Japanese American Radio Broadcasters During World War II . Directed by Gary T. Ono, 2002. 48/26 minutes.
Citizen Tanouye . Directed by Robert Horsting & Craig Yahata, 2005. 58 minutes.
The Color of Honor: The Japanese American Soldier in WWII . Produced and directed by Loni Ding, 1987. 101 minutes.
Fifty Years of Silence: The Untold Story of Japanese American Soldiers in the Pacific Theater, 1941-1952 . Produced by the Military Intelligence Service Association of Northern California and the National Japanese American Historical Society, 1992. 60 minutes.
For Valor: Japanese American Soldiers Win Combat Citations . Produced by the War Relocation Authority, ca. 1943.
The 442nd: Duty, Honor & Loyalty . Produced by Bungei Shunju, Ltd., 1996/1998. 71 minutes.
442: For the Future . Directed by Patricia Kinaga, 1997. 62 minutes.
442: Live with Honor, Die with Dignity . Directed by Junichiro Suzuki, 2010. 97 minutes.
From Hawaii to the Holocaust: A Shared Moment in History . Directed by Judy Weightman & Ryan Sexton, 1993. 53 minutes.
Go for Broke . Produced by the War Relocation Authority, ca. 1943. 12 minutes. [Government propaganda film on the 442nd, filmed during basic training at Camp Shelby.]
Go for Broke!: Memories of Hawai'i's Japanese Niseis . Directed by Hiroyuki Matsumoto, 2012. 98 minutes.
Going for Broke . Produced by the Go For Broke Educational Foundation, 2005. 57 minutes.
Going for Honor, Going for Broke . Directed by George Toshio Johnston, 2006. 16 minutes.
The Herbert Yanamura Story . Directed by Alexander Bocchieri and Stacey Hayashi, 2015. 25 minutes.
Hidden Heroes: The Nisei Soldiers of World War II . Produced by Category 6 Media and Will Packer Media for History Channel, 2021. 43 minutes.
Honor & Sacrifice: The Roy Matsumoto Story . Directed by Lucy Ostrander & Don Sellers, 2013. 27 minutes.
Honor Bound: A Personal Journey . Produced by the National Japanese American Historical Society and KPIX, San Francisco, 1995. 55 minutes.
Japanese Americans In WWII: Going For Broke . Produced by New Dimension Media, 2006. 25/20 minutes.
Journey of Honor . Written, directed & edited by Stuart Yamane for Hawaii Public Television, 2001. 55 minutes.
Legacy of the Nisei: Stories of Japanese American Internment and World War II Veterans . Produced by the San Leandro Public Library, 2012. 110 minutes.
Legacy of the Nisei Veterans: WWII Stories of the 100th/442nd and Military Intelligence Service . Produced by the San Leandro Public Library, 2011. 90 minutes.
Looking Like the Enemy . Directed by Robert A. Nakamura & Karen L. Ishizuka for the Japanese American National Museum, 1996. 52 minutes. [Produced as a companion piece to the exhibition Fighting for Tomorrow: Japanese Americans in America's Wars .]
Medal of Honor . Produced by the Go For Broke National Education Center, 2006. 8 minutes.
MIS: Human Secret Weapon . Directed by Junichiro Suzuki, 2012. 100 minutes.
Mission in Manila: The Sakakida Story . Produced by the National Japanese American Historical Society, 1994. 28 minutes. [On Richard Sakakida .]
Most Honorable Son . Directed by Bill Kubota, 2007. 60 minutes. [On Ben Kuroki .]
National Salute to Japanese American Veterans, November 8, 1995, Los Angeles Convention Center . Produced by Japanese American National Museum, 1995. 120 minutes.
Nisei Soldier: Standard Bearer for an Exiled People (1983). Produced and directed by Loni Ding. 30 minutes.
Nisei Soldiers Who Fought Against Their Mother Country: Testimony After 50 Years of Silence . Produced by Nippon Golden Network, 1998. 40 minutes.
Our Journey of Honor: 50th Anniversary Reunion, March 24-28, 1993 . 442nd Veterans Club of Hawaii, 1993. 41 minutes.
Prejudice and Patriotism: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in the Military Intelligence Service of WWII . Produced by the National Japanese American Historical Society, 1998. 42 minutes.
Proof of Loyalty: Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawaii . Produced and directed by Lucy Ostrander and Don Sellers, 2017. 55 minutes.
The Registry . Directed by Bill Kubota and Steve Ozone, 2020. 57 minutes. [On the Military Intelligence Service.]
Reunion: The 50th Anniversary Celebration of the 442nd . Produced by JN Productions, 1993. 60 minutes.
The Silent Glory . Produced, written & directed by Zed Merrill, 2000. 41 minutes.
A Tradition of Honor . Produced by the Go for Broke Educational Foundation, 2003. 82 minutes.
Typhoon of Steel . Directed by Gena Hamamoto, 2012. 19 minutes.
Uncommon American Patriots . Produced by the Nisei Veterans Committee, Seattle, Washington, 1991. 95 minutes.
Uncommon Courage: Patriotism and Civil Liberties Produced, written & directed by gayle k. yamada for KVIE, Sacramento, 2001. 86 minutes.
Unforgettable Face . Produced and directed by Nicole Newnham, 1993. 13 minutes.
Varsity Victory Volunteers : In Their Own Words . Produced by Go For Broke National Education Center, 2011. 27 minutes.
Valor with Honor . Directed by Burt Takeuchi, 2010. 85 minutes.
The War . Produced and directed by Ken Burns. Produced by Florentine Films and WETA, Washington, D.C., 2007. 870 minutes.
The War: Nisei Soldiers . Produced by KTEH, San José 2007. 27 minutes.
Witness: American Heroes . Produced by Content Media Group for KABC, Los Angeles, 2011. 25 minutes.
Yankee Samurai . Written and directed by Katriel Schory, 1985. 50 minutes.
Yankee Samurai, MacArthur's Ears . Directed by Shin Matsuo for NHK, 1980. 50 minutes. [Documentary on the MIS that was nationally aired in Japan.]
Documentaries that Include the Incarceration
The following films have as their primary topic something other than the Japanese American World War II experience, but do include something on that experience.
Aleut Evacuation: The Untold War Story . Written and directed by Michael Till for the Aleutian/Pribilof Island Association, Inc., 1992. 59 minutes.
Aleut Story . Written, produced and directed by Maria Williams, 2005. 90 minutes. [On the wartime exclusion and incarceration of the Aleut people.]
Aoki: An Asian American Black Panther . Directed by Ben Wang, 2009. 95 minutes.
Arnold Knows Me: The Tommy Kono Story . Directed by Ryan Yamamoto, 2016. 27 minutes. [Portrait of the Olympic champion weightlifter that covers his incarceration at Tule Lake .]
Biography Hawai’i: Koji Ariyoshi . Produced and directed by Joy-Chong Stannard, 2005. 57 minutes. [Biography of the Hawai'i activist and labor leader that treats his stint in Manzanar only briefly.]
California's Gold with Huell Howser: Japanese American Home Movies . Written and produced by Huell Howser, 1997. 58 minutes. [Episode of the public television series that features home movie collection at the Japanese American National Museum. The entire film Something Strong Within (see above) is included within this program.]
The Caretaker . Directed by Theo Rigby and Kate McLean, 2012. 7 minutes. [About the bond between an elderly Nisei woman and her undocumented immigrant caretaker.]
Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm . Directed by Jim Choi, 2015. 57 minutes. [A year in the life of an organic peach farm in Del Rey, California run by author David Mas Masumoto and his daughter Nikiko. Includes a visit to Gila River , where the family was incarcerated during World War II, by father and daughter.]
Chrysanthemums and Salt . Directed by Dianne Fukami for KCSM-TV, San Mateo, California, 1994. 27 minutes. [On Japanese Americans in San Mateo.]
Crossroads: Boyle Heights . Directed by Akira Boch and Joseph "Nuke" Montalvo for the Japanese American National Museum, 2002. 23 minutes. [Companion piece to the exhibition, Boyle Heights: The Power of Place .]
Crossroads in Nihonmachi . Directed by Adrianne Anderson & Tony Sondag, 2006. 55 minutes. [On San Francisco's Japantown.]
Daniel K. Inouye: An American Story . Directed by Heather H. Giugni, 2003. 57 minutes.
Designing the Path: Japanese American Architect, Gyo Obata . Directed by Takeshi Katsumura, 2014. 49 minutes. [Japanese produced biography of the noted architect that notes his incarceration at Tanforan and Topaz .]
Diamonds in the Rough: Zeni and the Legacy of Japanese-American Baseball . Directed by Gan Hanada, 1999. 35 minutes. [On Kenichi Zenimura , "the father of Japanese-American baseball."]
Drawing the Line: Art, Design, Activism . Produced by the Japanese American National Museum, 2011. 43 minutes. [Compilation of video profiles of artists featured in exhibition on postwar Japanese American artists.]
East of Occidental: The History of Seattle's Chinatown . Written and directed by Maria Gargiulo, 1988. 29 minutes. [On the International District, which includes the Japanese American commercial district in Seattle.]
The Finale Club . Directed by Robert Shoji, 2018. 12 minutes [On a jazz club in Little Tokyo/Bronzeville, Los Angeles in 1946.]
Freeway City . Directed by Max Votolato, 2015. 83 minues. [On Gardena, California, a Los Angeles suburb with a large Japanese American population.]
From a Different Shore: An American Identity . Produced and directed by Jeremy Cooper, 1994. 50 minutes. [British produced documentary on the history and current status of Japanese Americans that focuses on three Los Angeles Nikkei families.]
From Bullets to Ballots . Directed by Robert A. Nakamura for the Japanese American National Museum, 1997. 24 minutes. [On World War II veterans and the Democratic Party in Hawaii after WW II.]
Great Grandfather's Drum . Directed by Cal Lewin, 2011. 57 minutes. [On the Fukumoto family of Maui and Maui Taiko.]
Home From the Eastern Sea . Produced by Stourwater Picture, 1989. 58 minutes. [On Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino migration to Washington state.]
I Told You So . Directed by Alan Kondo, 1974. 18 minutes [On Sansei poet Lawson Fusao Inada .]
Island Roots . Written, produced, and directed by Lucy Ostrander for IslandWood, 2007. 14 minutes. [On Filipino Americans on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Includes a section on Filipino American farm hands who managed Japanese American farms during the World War II removal and incarceration.]
Issei, Nisei, Sansei . Written and produced by Douglas Wakefield for WNJT, Trenton, N.J., 1972. 27 minutes [On the Japanese American community in Seabrook, New Jersey .]
Issei: The First Generation . Directed by Toshi Washizu, 1984. 54 minutes.
The Japanese American . Produced by Handel Film Corporation, 1974. 29 minutes.
Journey to Washington: On the Trail of Senator Daniel Inouye Japanese American Pioneer . Directed by Takuro Arai, 2013. 60 minutes.
Living in Color: Hideo Date . Produced by the Japanese American National Museum, 2001. 12 minutes. [Companion piece to the exhibition on the Issei painter.]
Lost LA: Descanso Gardens . Directed by Christopher Stoudt, 2017. 52 minutes. [Includes a segment on Japanese American nursery families whose wartime incarceration led to their camellias becoming a significant part of the garden's collection.]
Lost LA: Little Tokyo to Crenshaw . Directed by Matt Bass, 2022. 27 minutes. [On the return of Japanese Americans from concentration camps to two Los Angeles communities.]
Masters of Modern Design: The Art of the Japanese American Experience . Directed by Akira Bosch for KCETLink and The Watase Media Arts Center, JANM, 2019. 56 minutes. [Profiles five Japanese American artists who were incarcerated during the war and who later became prominent artists in the decades after the war.]
Matsuri: The Time We Will Never Be Able to Rub Out . Directed by Takayoshi Ohno, 1970. 27 minutes. [Early overview film on the Japanese American experience.]
Memories of Place: Clarksburg's Japanese Language School . Directed by Donna Graves and Jill Shiraki, 2013. 14 minutes.
Mendez v. Westminster: For All the Children . Directed by Sandra Robbie. 27 minutes. [On the key California school desegregation case that was instigated when the Mendez family leased a Westminster farm from a Japanese American family that had been forcibly removed.]
More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story . Directed by Kevin Derek, 2021. 89 minutes.
Mountains That Take Wing: Angela Davis & Yuri Kochiyama . Produced and directed by C. A. Griffith and H. L. T. Quan, 2009. 97 minutes.
Nikkei Style . Written, produced, and directed by Steven Okazaki, 2003. 29 minutes. [Personal essay by the Sansei filmmaker on being Japanese American that covers the family's incarceration history.]
Nisei Stories of Wartime Japan . Directed by Mary McDonald, 2011. 76 minutes. [Profiles Nisei trapped in Japan during World War II.]
On Strike! Ethnic Studies, 1969–1999 . Produced by Fifth Floor Productions, 1999 36 minutes.
Our American Family: The Furutas . Produced by Legacy Media, LLC for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, 2015. 30 minutes. [On the Furuta family of Wintersburg, California, including their wartime incarceration at Poston.]
Ralph Story's Los Angeles: Little Tokyo . Directed by Jim Johnson, 1967. 30 minutes.
Ruth Asawa: A Community Artist . Directed by Dianne Fukami, 2008. 9 minutes.
Ruth Asawa: Of Forms and Growth . Directed by Robert Snyder, 1978. 26 minutes.
Ruth Asawa: Roots of an Artist . Directed by Bob Toy, 2011. 38 minutes.
The Sakai Family of Bainbridge Island . Directed by Cameron Snow, 2015. 60 minutes.
Seed: The Life of the Rice King and His Kin . Produced and directed by Masanori Baba, 2016. 88 minutes. [Japanese produced documentary on Koda Farms that covers the family's wartime incarceration in Amache .]
Shinkichi Tajiri: A Friendship Knot for Bruyeres . Directed by A. T. Roberts, 1995. 22 minutes. [Profile of the Nisei sculptor documenting his gift of a sculpture honoring the 442nd to the city of Bruyeres, France.]
The Slanted Screen . Written, produced, and directed by Jeff Adachi, 2006. 60 minutes. [On depictions of Asian men and Asian American actors in Hollywood.]
A Song for Ourselves . Directed by Tadashi Nakamura, 2009. 35 minutes. [On activist, singer/songwriter, and legal scholar Chris Iijima].
Streams of Light: Shin Buddhism in America . Directed by Kentaro Sugao, 2013. 65 minutes.
To Be Takei . Directed by Jennifer M. Kroot & Bill Weber, 2014. 90 minutes. [On actor and activist George Takei.]
Top of Their Game . Directed by John Esaki for the Japanese American National Museum, 2000. 60 minutes. [Companion piece to the exhibition More Than a Game: Sport in the Japanese American Community profiles notable Japanese American athletes.]
Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story . Directed by Bruce Alan Johnson & Christine Toy Johnson, 2008. 86 minutes. [On a 1940s Nisei basketball star who played on two national championship college teams for the New York Knicks.]
Wataridori: Birds of Passage . Directed by Robert A. Nakamura, 1974. 37 minutes. [Documentary centering on the lives of three Issei.]
We Came to Grow: Japanese Americans in the Central Valley 1869-1941 . Directed by Heather Searles & Christine Tanaka for KVIE-TV, Sacramento, California, 1999. 27 minutes.
Why is Preparing Fish a Political Act? Directed by Russell Leong, 1991. 20 minutes. [Profiles poet Janice Mirikitani .]
You Don't Know Jack: The Jack Soo Story . Written, produced and directed by Jeff Adachi, 2009. 60 minutes.
Yuki Shimoda: Asian American Actor . Directed by John Esaki, 1985. 30 minutes.
Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice . Directed by Rea Tajiri & Pat Saunders, 1993. 57 minutes.
Last updated May 29, 2023, 7:46 p.m..