FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
of the Camps
CONTACT: Kim Ina, PH/FAX: (415) 566-3487
Coming to PBS Beginning May 1999
Children of the Camps, a powerful one-hour documentary that
portrays the lingering personal impact of the WWII internment
experience on Japanese Americans, will be presented on PBS beginning
in May 1999. Check with your local PBS station for exact broadcast
dates and times.
Unlike any other program on the subject, Children of the Camps
shares the experiences and the long-internalized anger, grief
and shame felt by Japanese Americans who were children when interned
behind barbed wire in 10 U.S. concentration camps during World
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941,
then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066
on February 19, 1942, which led to the mass evacuation and subsequent
incarceration of 110,000 U.S. citizens and permanent residents
of Japanese ancestry for the duration of World War II. More than
half of those interned were children.
"I remember the soldiers marching us to the Army tank and
I looked at their rifles and I was just terrified because I could
see this long knife at the end . . . I thought I was imagining
it as an adult much later . . . I thought it couldn't have been
bayonets because we were just little kids," says one of
the documentary's participants.
The documentary is the result of a three-year long project by
Dr. Satsuki Ina, a university professor and family therapist
living in Sacramento, California. Dr. Ina, who was born in the
Tule Lake internment camp, has developed and conducted for more
than ten years a three-day workshop for other former fellow child
internees. The workshop helps participants articulate and share
their childhood experiences for the first time, and ultimately
to come to a better understanding of how this early trauma manifests
itself in their adult lives and how they can overcome it.
With the expertise of a group of community-conscious filmmakers,
Dr. Ina was able to capture on video one of these workshops.
The six participants openly share their stories and experiences
in order to help initiate a healing process for other Japanese
Americans, as well as the greater public, after over 50 years
"Until we can talk about it and make a connection with the
grief and anger, we will each still be unconsciously trying to
get out of camp," said Dr. Ina. "Our experience was
unique, but it's an example of the broader experience of racism,
how it permeated our lives, and how we each attempted to survive
it. It's about trauma and suffering, but it also is about our
"The larger and indeed powerful effective message of this
project is that we must never again allow institutionalized racism
to destroy the lives of our fellow citizens," says Warren
Robbin Ware, President of the Sacramento Chapter of the NAACP.
The workshop participants featured in the film are:
- Howard Ikemoto, who was interned
in Tule Lake CA at age 2;
- Marion Kanemoto, who at age
14 was exchanged for American prisoners of war overseas in Japan;
- Bessie Masuda, who was interned
in Rohwer AK at age 12;
- Ruth Okimoto, who was interned
in Poston AZ at age 6;
- Richard Tatsuo Nagaoka, who
was born in the Rohwer AK camp; and
- Toru Saito, who was interned
in Topaz UT at age 4.
Children of the Camps was produced by:
- Satsuki Ina, Ph.D., Producer
- Stephen Holsapple, Director/Editor
and Bay Area Emmy Award-winner;
- Emery Clay, Director of Photography
and also a Bay Area Emmy Award-winner;
- Kimberly Ina, Associate Producer;
- Audrey Kasho-Wells, Creative/Administrative
- Howard Fujimoto, Financial Manager
The Children of the Camps
documentary is one component of the Children of the Camps Educational
Project. Using the documentary and other materials, the project
will offer Community Education and Training Workshops to organizations,
health professionals and educational institutions.
The documentary, as well as workshops
in the state of California, is made possible by a grant from
The California Endowment and The California Endowment's CommunitiesFirst
Program. The California Endowment's mission is to expand access
to affordable quality health care for under-served individuals
and communities and to promote fundamental improvements in the
health status of all Californians.
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Video copies of Children of the Camps, the Documentary,
are available for purchase from the National Asian American Telecommunications
Association (NAATA) at (415) 552-9550, or at their Web site:
To ensure that the prime-time broadcast of Children of the
Camps, the Documentary, has the greatest possible impact,
the project's producers are encouraging interested people to
plan group viewings in their homes and/or communities, and to
help publicize the program.
Viewer's guides and publicity materials, as well as other resources
and information on the project and internment history, are available
at the Children of the Camps Web site: http://www.children-of-the-camps.org.
Or contact the Children of the Camps Documentary and Educational Project at (916) 452-3008 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.