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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 24, 1997

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Chris Komai - ckomai@janm.org - 213-830-5648

"Something Strong Within" Documentary To Be Screened On KCET's "California's Gold" On May 17

Los Angeles

The award-winning documentary, Something Strong Within, which features home movie footage taken by the Japanese American inmates of several of the U.S. concentration camps during World War II, will be featured on the KCET series California’s Gold with producer/host Huell Howser on Saturday, May 17, at 6 p.m. The series is screened on 13 PBS affiliates in California as well as stations in Hawai‘i and Utah. Viewers should check their local listings for screen times.

Something Strong Within, directed by Robert A. Nakamura and produced and written by Karen Ishizuka, senior curator at the Japanese American National Museum, is the product of home movie collections of Japanese Americans who were unconstitutionally held by the U.S. government in concentration camps in desolate areas of the country. Without being charged and without being convicted of any crime, 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were forced to leave their homes and businesses, mostly on the West Coast, to live in barracks behind barbed wire beginning in 1942.

Ishizuka began locating Japanese American home movies in 1989 and realized that they represented an untapped resource for American history. It turned out that Japanese Americans were taking home movies as far back as 1924. Even more extraordinary, a few were able to film inside their camps during the war. The footage gives a glimpse into the lives of Japanese Americans as they endured their unlawful confinement with dignity, trying to create a sense normality for their families.

Something Strong Within was created in conjunction with the Museum’s major exhibition, America’s Concentration Camps: Remembering the Japanese American Experience which Ishizuka also curated. That exhibition, which was on display from 1994 to 1995, drew record crowds.

Howser, a long-time fan of these rare home movies, interviews Ishizuka at the Museum for the California’s Gold segment. Besides Something Strong Within, Nakamura and Ishizuka have teamed up to create Moving Memories, featuring pre-World War II home movie footage, and the documentary, Looking Like the Enemy, with interviews with Asian American soldiers who faced the dilemma in the last three major U.S. conflicts of wearing the face of the enemy.

Howser also hosts the series, Visiting…with Huell Howser in which he visits Los Angeles’ many neighborhoods. Howser, a native of Tennessee, worked in television in Nashville and New York City before moving to Los Angeles and appearing on KCBS-TV. He began working at KCET in 1987 with his Emmy-nominated Videolog series.

For more information on the Japanese American National Museum, call (213) 625-0414. For more information on the California’s Gold series, call (213) 953-5380.

 

 

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