Category Archives: DVD

Seattle DVD release and screening at the Wing Luke Musuem

Thanks to the more than 75 who came out today for the Seattle DVD release at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. Some were waiting in line for the museum to open at 10am to get a ticket for the 1pm screening, then quickly filled the Tateuchi Story Theater. This was one of our most rapt audiences, who laughed in all the right places; even the babe in arms enjoyed the film quietly.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and questions and it was a pleasure to meet so many of you afterwards, including Miyoko who told me the story of why Jim Akutsu switched churches after the death of his mother. For Mike Tagawa, who told me of his days as an original Black Panther, here’s the ITVS documentary with lost footage of the Panthers that just aired last week on PBS. I’m sorry I lost track of the woman who wanted the Japanese lyrics to the Song of Cheyenne, I wanted to direct her to this image of the actual scrap of paper that we found in James Kado’s wallet. It is this song to which Mako fit the melody of the Japanese Hawaiian work song, “Hore Hore Bushi,” and which we were delighted to be able to include on our new Two-Disc DVD.

I also want to thank the staff for their terrific arrangements for todays’s DVD release: community programs manager Vivian Chan, education director Charlene Mano-Shen (who said the audience was “blown away” by the experience, and who is pictured above welcoming them) and Hanh Pham and Trayvian in The Marketplace. Speaking of which, only at The Marketplace can you now obtain the hard-to-find 18×24 inch film festival poster for CONSCIENCE AND THE CONSTITUTION, for the nominal price of $5, half of which goes to support the museum.

If you saw the screening today, or any past screening, please leave your feedback here.

DVD review in International Examiner and preview of Seattle screening

Wing Luke Museum logo Thanks to Moira Macdonald of The Seattle Times for highlighting in her column in the “Movietimes” section our first public screening of the new Two-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD of “Conscience and the Constitution.” And thanks to those who have RSVP’d on Facebook. No reservation or ticket needed. Just come by the Wing Luke Asian Museum in the Tateuchi Story Theater, 719 South King Street, Seattle, on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 1:00 p.m. Producer Frank Abe will screen the film and debut a new DVD featurette, “The JACL Apologizes,” on events that occurred after the film’s release, answer questions, and sign DVD’s.

Also in Seattle, see the new review in the International Examiner. Having read the paper for decades, it’s an honor to be included in the IE Arts section edited by poet and greengrocer Alan Lau. This review from Chizu Omori is among the most detailed yet. Looks great online but the article is truly impressive in print, pick up the paper if you can.

Finally, this Saturday, Feb. 11, Seattle University is hosting the The 25th Anniversary of the United States v. Hirabayashi Coram Nobis Case: Its Meaning Then and Its Relevance Now, with a lineup starting with Tom Ikeda and Peter Irons and ending with the Sansei attorneys on the legal team. Should be quite a reunion with old friends.

Final DVD artwork

All of the new DVD artwork is now posted in our Online Press Kit for viewing and download. Still waiting for the empty cases to arrive from New Jersey before the factory can cut the inserts and assemble the packages. In the meantime, here are samples of the labels and the inserts, which if you click on and enlarge, will show you details of all the bonus features on both discs.

DVD cover
Front cover
Back cover
Scene selection menu

Outtakes menu
Interviews menu
Disc One label
Disc Two label
Disc One insert
Disc Two insert

Preview of DVD casewrap and menu screens

DVD casewrap Thanks to the 144 of you who have up to this moment Liked our new page on Facebook and are visiting here for the first time. We’re gearing up for delivery of the finished DVD’s. The discs are replicated and labeled, the artwork for the casewrap and insert has been perfected and in the hands of the production house for printing and cutting, and the flip-tray clamshell cases are on order. All that remains is for the assembly of the pieces into the cases and the final shrink-wrap. And the shipments. We have several pre-orders to fill plus those who were promised DVD’s with their VHS orders over these last few months; we thank you for your patience and believe the wait will be worth it.

DVD menu The casewdrap design for the DVD is shown here. Click on the image to examine the text and design in closeup. Also to the right is the design for the Outtakes menu on Disc One, which you can click on and enlarge to preview the titles of the 11 new outtakes.

In memoriam: Noboru Taguma

I’m very saddened to learn of the passing last week of Noboru “Elmer” Taguma of the Sacramento area. Noboru was one of the early resisters from the American concentration camp at Amache, Colorado, aka the Grenada Relocation Center. He’s also the father of Nichi Bei Weekly editor Kenji Taguma, to whom we send our deepest condolences.

Noboru was a great guy, quick to laugh and always with a sly smile on his face. He provides an impish comment that caps one of the bonus features on our forthcoming DVD. I don’t want to spoil the moment, you will soon be able to see for youself.

Kenji posted more details about his father, along with the photo of him that appears near the end of our film:

TAGUMA, NOBORU, 87, passed away peacefully at his home in West Sacramento, Calif. on March 11, 2011. A native of Broderick, Calif. who was born on April 3, 1923, he retired in the early 1990s after farming tomatoes for 45 years, mostly for Campbell’s Soup, around Clarksburg, Yolo County, Calif.

During World War II, he was one of only 300 young Nisei to resist a military draft imposed behind barbed wire, based upon constitutional principle. He stated he would gladly fight for his country if his family was released from the wartime concentration camps and his citizenship rights were restored. Once shunned by so-called “community leaders,” the resisters today are heralded for the civil rights stand they took….

He is survived by his beloved wife of nearly 53 years, Sakaye (Yoshizawa) Taguma; daughter Masako Carol Yasue of Nagoya, Japan; son Makoto Mark (Alice) Taguma of Mountain View, Calif.; daughters Mariko Sharon (Benjamin Kam) Taguma of Union City, Calif. and Machiko Gail (Andy) Irie of Torrance, Calif.; and son Kenji Glenn Taguma of San Francisco. …

Final Viewing will be held on Thursday, April 7, 6 to 8 p.m., at Sacramento Memorial Lawn, 6100 Stockton Blvd. in Sacramento.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, April 9, 1:30 p.m., at Sacramento Memorial Lawn, with burial to immediately follow. Reception afterwards at the Tenrikyo Sacramento Church, 6361 25th Street (at 47th Avenue) in Sacramento.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Nichi Bei Foundation, P.O. Box 15693, San Francisco, CA 94115.

In memoriam: Frank Emi

These are the words I have long dreaded having to write: Frank Emi died today. We’ve lost a giant. That’s him in the poster above, standing squarely with his arms crossed, defying the government and our own Japanese American leadership, by organizing a movement inside an American concentration camp to refuse to report for draft induction in order to protest mass incarceration based solely on race. It was an honor to know him and to be able to document his story on film. Here’s an outtake from our film of Frank descibing how he and the other Fair Play Committee leaders earned the respect of other inmates and officials inside Leavenworth federal penitentiary in WW2.

Frank Emi was a man 40 years ahead of his time. He was an ordinary young man, but a man of conviction who rose to the occasion when faced with the injustice of the camps. With a wife and two kids he was not even eligible to be drafted out of camp, but he risked his freedom and the welfare of his family to help lead the largest organized resistance inside the camps. It was a classic example of civil disobedience in the American twentieth century, and he and others paid the prce: two years in federal prison.

By his words and his deeds, Frank Emi leaves a legacy for those who seek evidence that Japanese America did not endure the loss of all their rights, and three years in camp, without some kind of protest or resistance.

Martha Nakagawa warned me that Frank had recently been taken to the ICU. She was gracious enough to bring her portable DVD player to the hospital and play Frank this clip and other outtakes from the film. I’m glad he was able to see the work and know that a DVD is soon coming out. Martha said Frank was moved to a hospice last Saturday. It is still sinking in that Frank is gone. Rest in peace Frank, and thanks for marking your place in Japanese American history.

DVD casewrap design

The casewrap for the DVD is now complete and posted here. Click on the image to examine the text and design in closeup.

Our deepest thanks as always to Robert Kato Design of San Francisco for putting up with all the changes and refinements. Thanks to Jeff at Paragon Media in Seattle for updating all the elements. Next comes the final design of the paper insert and the two labels, and finishing work on the motion menu and menus of disc two.

To the right is an early prototype of the menu design, where you can preview the titles of the 11 new outtakes on disc one. Doug Johansen has been working closely with us on the DVD authoring. Again, click on the image to see an enlargement.

We will be previewing interviews and outtakes fro the bonus features of the DVD next Saturday, September 25, at the Heart Mountain conference at the Japanese American National Museum. More details to come.

Coming in October are two screenings at the University of Dayton, in support of their First Year Read program of Julie Otsuka’s When the Emperor Was Divine.

Screening at the Fresno County Public Library

Our film screens next Tuesday, August 24, at the Fresno County Public Library, Central Library, McCardle Room. It’s the second day of their series, “The Japanese-American Experience in Film.” See their flyer.

The film will screen from the latest check disc of the forthcoming DVD, which is still on its way. All that remains is the authoring on the second disc and the remaining artwork.

My eulogy for Mits Koshiyama

I regret I cannot be there for Mits Koshiyama’s memorial service. Here is the family memorial notice in the San Jose Mercury-News.

I want to thank my brother Steve for delivering this message today on my behalf at Wesley United Methodist Church:

IN MEMORY OF MITS: Were it not for the work I am doing today to honor Mits and the other Heart Mountain resisters, I would be with you to remember Mits and all the things he stood for.

Mits was the heart and soul of the resistance to our unjust incarceration. He was just a boy when he was called upon to take a stand as a man. He was willing to go to court and risk years in prison to fight for his rights, but he was still able to see the humor when their attorney suggested the 63 boys all cut their hair short so they would all look alike and not be identified in court … or when the prosecutor rocked back and forth in his chair and flipped over backwards. It’s no coincidence that in the iconic photo of the resisters in court, Mits is front and center. He said, “Being young guys, we all sat in the front row, to see what all the action was, y’know?”

Today I am listening to Mits’ words as I edit his stories into extra features for the film to which he contributed, and as I hear his voice, it’s like he’s here in the room with me, remembering the visits from grocer Kozie Sakai or complaining about the JACL putting good publicity over good law. He was unlike any Nisei I have ever known, and he is going to be missed. But we were lucky to have known him, and we will all keep his spirit alive for generations to come, so that all Americans can know and understand his particular brand of principle and courage.