Watase Media Arts Center Productions
Wakaji Matsumoto—An Artist in Two Worlds: Los Angeles and Hiroshima, 1917–1944
These videos highlight the artist’s rare photographs of the Japanese American community in Los Angeles prior to World War II and of urban life in Hiroshima prior to the 1945 atomic bombing of the city, while providing insights about his life and art.
(2022 / 3 minutes each)
Sincerely Miné Okubo
Short biographical film on the artistic span and career of Miné Okubo, a Japanese American artist who is best known for her graphic memoir Citizen 13660 (1946), which chronicled her World War II incarceration.
Rhythm and Rice
A look at the longtime, ongoing New Year’s mochitsuki tradition in Livingston, CA.
(2020 / 8 minutes)
Masters of Modern Design: The Art of the Japanese American Experience
The work of Japanese American artists/designers Ruth Asawa, George Nakashima, Isamu Noguchi, S. Neil Fujita, and Gyo Obata permeated American postwar culture. While these second generation Japanese American artists have been celebrated, less-discussed is the powerful effect their World War II incarceration—a period of intense hardship and discrimination—had on their lives and art.
(2019 / 56 minutes)
Masters of Modern Design: Kay Sekimachi
Known as the “weaver’s weaver,” artist Kay Sekimachi is a pioneer in the textile arts. Her embrace of unconventional materials helped to elevate weaving from “craft” to “art.”
(2019 / 8 minutes)
Madame Fujima Kansuma
Madame Fujima Kansuma is a celebrated Japanese American kabuki dancer and teacher whose career began in the early 1940s and spanned decades. This documentary was produced in conjunction with her centennial birthday celebration.
(2018 / 6 minutes)
In the Clutches of Kaiju
A portrait of the artist/toy collector Mark Nagata produced for the Kaiju vs Heroes: Mark Nagata’s Journey through the World of Japanese Toys exhibition.
(2018 / 7 minutes)
Nagata 360: A Collecting Mind
A virtual reality view of artist Mark Nagata’s studio—get a glimpse into the habitual details of a toy collector and maker and even watch him make a toy in front of your eyes!
(2018 / 4 minutes)
An experiment in how a memory is remembered—a reminiscence of the former floral shop, Tokio Florist.
(2018 / 8 minutes)
Our Man in Tokyo (The Ballad of Shin Miyata)
A short documentary about the struggles and obsessions of Shin Miyata, a Tokyo-based record label owner and promoter who specializes in the difficult task of distributing Chicano music in Japan.
(2018 / 18 minutes)
Transpacific Borderlands Artist Profiles
Profile videos of the 13 artists featured in the Transpacific Borderlands exhibition.
(2017 / 3–4 minutes each)
Making Waves: Japanese American Photography, 1920–1940
Profile videos of Issei photographers J.T. Sata, Toyo Miyatake, Ichiro “Eddie” Itani, Shigemi Uyeda, and T.K. Shindo produced for the Making Waves: Japanese American Photography, 1920–1940 exhibition.
(2016 / 2–3 minutes each)
Before They Were Heroes: Sus Ito’s World War II Images
Sus Ito’s photographs were taken while he served as a member of the 442nd RCT’s 522nd Field Artillery Battalion. These rare and breathtaking images capture in humble detail the daily lives of a group of young Japanese American soldiers.
(2015 / 6 minutes)
Dodgers: Brotherhood of the Game
Profile videos of Jackie Robinson, Fernando Valenzuela, Chan Ho Park, Hideo Nomo, and Tommy Lasorda produced for the Dodgers: Brotherhood of the Game exhibition.
(2014 / 2–6 minutes each)
Artist Katie Yamasaki has painted over 60 murals across the globe. This is a behind-the-scenes look at her creation, Moon Beholders, at the Japanese American National Museum.
(2014 / 5 minutes)
Unexpected Journeys: Remarkable Stories of Japanese in America
Interviews with individuals whose lives illuminate the astonishing diversity of the Japanese experience in America. Featured profiles: Sumi Hughes and Yuri Long; Terry Janzen; Harry and Hamako Schneider; Iris Teragawa; and Lloyd Inui.
(2013 / 35 minutes)
Drawing The Line
Profile videos of the artists featured in the Drawing the Line: Japanese American Art, Design & Activism in Post-War Los Angeles exhibition.
(2011 / 3–5 minutes each)
Stan Sakai, creator of Usagi Yojimbo, at 2010 San Diego Comic-Con. Featuring interviews with Sergio Aragones (Groo the Wanderer, Mad Magazine), Scott Shaw (Captain Rocket), Geof Darrow (The Matrix, Hard Boiled).
(2010 / 4 minutes)
Big Drum: Taiko in the United States
Various pieces produced for the Big Drum: Taiko in the United States exhibition feature America’s taiko pioneers and documents—through interviews and rare film and video footage—the ongoing transformation of this dynamic performing art.
(2005 / 8–25 minutes each)
9066 to 9/11
9066 to 9/11 focuses on the parallels between the post-September 11 treatment of Arab Americans and Muslims in this country with treatment of Japanese Americans after the start of World War II.
(2004 / 21 minutes)
Eyewitness: Stan Honda
Following the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, photojournalist Stan Honda’s extraordinary images of dazed, dust-enveloped victims riveted the public’s attention to the covers and pages of national magazines and newspapers. Honda relates the aftermath of 9/11 to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII.
(2003 / 26 minutes)
Crossroads: Boyle Heights
Through the stories of past and present neighborhood residents, this film explores how the experiences and memories of many generations of Angelenos intersect in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights.
(2002 / 28 minutes)
Words, Weavings & Songs
Wakako Yamauchi, Momo Nagano, and Mary Nomura were innocent teenagers when they were sent to concentration camps during World War II. Behind barbed wire, their creative spirits remained undaunted—their lives fortified by art, music, and literature.
(2002 / 34 minutes)
Harsh Canvas: Henry Sugimoto
Henry Sugimoto’s translated memoirs, brought to life by Academy Award-nominated actor Mako, reveal the artist’s own journey through his life and art. The documentary features his paintings and sketches, rare archival footage, and film of the artist just before his death.
(2001 / 30 minutes)
Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray
Having smuggled a lens and film holder into one of America’s concentration camps during World War II, Toyo Miyatake was among the first to photograph this national disgrace. Yet it was his little-known artistic pursuits before the war that honed his discerning eye.
(2001 / 28 minutes)
This film takes you on a fast-breaking journey into the 70-year old phenomenon of the Japanese American basketball leagues. Established in the 1930s when opportunities to play competitive sports were limited, the leagues today are stronger than ever with over 20,000 players organized in a plethora of leagues composed of numerous organizations, divisions, teams, and tournaments.
(2000 / 26 minutes)
Looking Like the Enemy
They were American born and bred yet they had the face of the enemy. Spanning generations and wars, Looking Like the Enemy is a bold and daring exploration into the often horrifying yet always ironic predicaments faced by American soldiers of Asian descent who fought in World War II, the Korean and the Vietnam wars.
(1996 / 53 minutes)