Japanese American Movies

Tuesday, August 9 by Annmicha Blugh

These Japanese American movies are a rich cultural mix of a westernized Asian perspective and/or a Japanese perspective seen through American eyes. Many of these Japanese American movies outline the infamous Japanese-American internment of 1943 following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Japanese American cinema productions also center on the migrant Japanese family settling in the United States.

  1. "Come See the Paradise." This move is a Japanese American production based on forbidden love between an American male and a Japanese female. Ingrained tradition and the oncoming crisis of World War II threaten to separate them. Set in 1936 in Little Tokyo, a Japanese quarter, the relationship buds and grows until war when both lovers must make some decisions determining their destiny.
  2. "The Crimson Kimono." This film is a Japanese American account dealing with two detectives: one Anglo-American and one Japanese. Both colleagues fall in love with the same Japanese woman, who is the star witness to a murder. Set in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, the agents are confronted with different cultures, and personality differences.  
  3. "The Color of Honor." This classic Japanese-American documentary explains the actions and reactions of Japanese Americans during World War II and the internment that Japanese Americans had to go through. This film projects the Japanese Americans' outrage at the prejudiced treatment, some of their valiant attempts to clear their names, the fates of war prisoners barred at internment camps, and Japanese military officers working as linguists, decoders and soldiers to fight for the country they loved. 
  4. "Dreams." This film is a production of Akira Kurosawa, an outstanding Japanese film producer and actor. This movie is a compilation of eight mini films hinged on the relationship between man and his environment. The different segments titled: Sunshine through the Rain, The Peach Orchard, The Blizzard, The Tunnel, Crows, Vincent Van Gogh, Mount Fuji in Red and the Weeping Demon define nature's balance, beliefs of pantheism, and the repercussions of man's interference with nature. 
  5. "The Family Game." This movie provides a Japanese American perspective on a household facing obstacles concerning the academic performance of the children. In the Japanese family, school success in examinations bears much weight, hence mediocrity would not be tolerated. However, adolescent rebelliousness and a lack of motivation leads this family to apply the pressure by hiring a tutor for the younger son.
  6. "Tokyo Rose." This visual narrative is a Japanese American movie about a U.S. prisoner of war held in Tokyo. While in Tokyo, the prisoner runs away and joins the ranks of an underground network. "Tokyo Rose" is identified with female, English speaking broadcasters whose reports during World War II were targeted to demoralize Allied forces and feed them slanted propaganda on military developments. The Japanese American tries to murder one of the Tokyo roses whose report resulted in a fellow soldier's death. 
  7. "The War Between US." This production is another Japanese American movie set in Canada where a migrant Japanese family has to confront and put up with overt racism. Their experience parallels the Japanese internment of the early 1940s. This family sees implemented a biased Canadian policy which secludes and seizes Japanese and their property, while labeling persons of Japanese descent as "enemy aliens." This name of this film is a double-entendre and plays on the word "us."
  8. "Red Sun Rising." This movie is classed as a Japanese American movie whose setting is fixed in Los Angeles where the Japanese mafia called "Yakuza" conducts clandestine business. This detective film focuses on the task of one Japanese agent who has to catch a dangerous assassin. One police officer has to tracking some Japanese criminals all the way to Tokyo. Japanese ninjas show off their oriental martial arts skills. 
  9. "Red Sun." This Japanese American movie is about the kidnapping of a Japanese ambassador in Arizona. The hold-up is to steal some money and a treasured Japanese samurai sword to be bestowed on the U.S. president at Washington, D.C. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 –Annmicha Blugh