Film: “Watada, Resister” by Curtis Choy

Thanks for visiting this site if you’ve come here after viewing “Watada, Resister” on YouTube or MySpace. Click on the video screen to see what’s billed as “The historic meeting of young Lt. Ehren Watada, who refused to deploy to Iraq, and WW2 resisters.”

It was produced and edited by filmmaker Curtis Choy on Jan. 27, 2007, as a way of connecting Lt. Watada with the Nisei draft resisters who he describes as an “inspiration” and who in this video express their pride in him and their support for Watada’s own principled stand. You will see and hear Heart Mountain resistance leader Frank Emi, draft resister Yosh Kuromiya, and their friend Paul Tsuneishi. If you look carefully you can see the poster for our film, Conscience and the Constitution, in Frank Emi’s living room behind Yosh.

Listen in particular to Watada’s measured and thoughtful challenge to all Americans to decide where they stand on the war, and one’s moral obligation to act if you do have a stand. He emerges in the video as a remarkable young man. Give it a listen.

As Yosh says in his prepared statement, the judge in his case in 1944 ruled that the 63 young Heart Mountain boys could not raise the unconstitutionality of mass incarceration as a defense in their trial for draft resistance. The jury could only rule on whether or not they failed to report for induction, and convicted the lot.

2021 CLARIFICATION: Read this interview in Amerasia Journal from 2007 on “Curtis Choy & the Making of Watada, Resister.”

Lucy Ostrander and Don Sellers of Stourwater Pictures shot the video and audio of Watada from the Seattle end of the phone call. Curtis Choy shot the call from the Los Angeles side, with sound by John Oh.