Here’s the link to Lisa Chung’s July 7 column in the San Jose Mercury-News, “War resister’s predecessors stand with him” in which she quotes from Curtis Choy’s film of the phone call from Frank Emi and Yosh Kuromiya to Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq:
Besides the usual list of anti-war celebrities and politicians in Watada’s corner, what impresses me most are the members of the Heart Mountain draft resisters. They know all about taking an unpopular stand on principle. These are people like Mits Koshiyama in San Jose, Frank Emi and Yoshi Kuromiya in Los Angeles, and others. They know the personal cost can still resonate and sting, even after 60 years …
Writer Frank Chin sent me a DVD recording of a phone meeting between Watada and Emi, Kuromiya and Paul Tsuneishi, a World War II veteran. Koshiyama, 83, was going to take part until health issues intervened. The elders offered their analyses and support. Kuromiya told the young officer that he might very well go to prison, but it could be the beginning of something new. He has the character for leadership and a role to play.
See Curtis Choy’s “Watada, Resister.”
Check your local listings for next Monday, Sept. 17, at 9:00 p.m., for the national PBS broadcast of “Most Honorable Son,” a beautifully shot and edited documentary that tells the full story of Nisei war hero Sgt. Ben Kuroki, whose story intersects with that of the Heart Mounta draft resisters as seen in Conscience. Producer/director Bill Kubota of Detroit was working on this project at the same time we were working on our film, and he’s succeeded in bringing a fully-realized project to the screen:
“During World War II, U.S. Army aerial gunner Ben Kuroki not only fought the Axis powers in Europe and the Pacific, but he also battled discrimination and prejudice in America. Told through rare and seldom-seen footage, MOST HONORABLE SON tells the story of this Japanese American who volunteered to fight against Japan to prove his loyalty to America.”
The new film includes the story of Kuroki witnessing Mike Masoka’s arrrest at a church in North Platte, Nebraska, on the morning of Pearl Harbor, and the military’s use by Kuroki the war hero to try to drum up recruitment at Heart Mountain. There is a great interview with Heart Mountain resister Jack Tono that echoes the reaction of Frank Emi in our film, the disbelief with which some greeted Kuroki’s message of proving one’s loyalty through service. Also seen is Prof. Roger Daniels sharing his insights. Kubota tells a great story and the film is a great success.