We have had the honor to make many films about the Japanese American experience during World War II but Kazuo Yamane’s story opened up a chapter unknown to us and most Americans. Hawaii, harboring important military facilities and 2500 miles closer to Japan than the West Coast, had a population consisting of nearly 40% Japanese ancestry when Pearl Harbor was bombed in late 1941. But unlike the mass incarcerations on the mainland only a small percentage of Japanese Americans were confined in Hawaii. The Nisei, the second generation American citizens, volunteered in massive numbers from Hawaii to serve in the US Army, both in combat and as intelligence personnel. And of all their exceptional heroics and important service, none had a more unusual and interesting war than Kazuo Yamane.
Kazuo Yamane, first educated in the discriminatory Hawaiian school system, and eventually graduating from Waseda University, the Harvard of Japan, was drafted into the US Army just before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Plucked from the infantry ranks for his exceptional knowledge of Japanese, he would serve at the Pentagon, then a secret facility in northern Maryland, and finally under Eisenhower in Europe. Most importantly, he would identify a secret document that would significantly help America’s war in the Pacific.
The absolute loyalty of the Nisei soldiers in World War II, despite discrimination and incarceration provides an insight for us today. These American citizens protected their beloved country, even while many Americans suspected them of being the enemy. Diversity powers America, but also keeps us safe—one only has to look at these Nisei, like Kazuo Yamane, for ample proof.”
-Filmmakers Lucy Ostrander and Don Sellers
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Proof of Loyalty World Premiere Garners Audience Choice Award, Documentary
We’re pleased to announce that Proof of Loyalty had its world premiere at the Asia Society Auditorium in NYC on Thursday, August 3rd at 9:45pm as part of the Asian American International Film Festival. It received the Audience Choice Award, Documentary. For more information go to: http://aaiff.org/2017/films/proof-of-loyalty-kazuo-yamane-and-the-nisei-soldiers-of-hawaii/
Friday Harbor Film Festival, Friday Harbor, WA
November 4, 2017
10am at the Palace Theatre
November 5, 2017
4pm at the Gubelman Screen at San Juan Community Theatre.
Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival, Portland, OR
November 5, 2017
4:30pm at the Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium
1219 SW Park Ave. Portland
Celluloid Bainbridge, Bainbridge Island, WA
November 5, 2017
3:30pm at the Lynwood Theatre
Hawaii International Film Festival, Honolulu, HI
November 7, 2017
7:45pm at the Dole Cannery Theatre
November 10, 2017
1:30pm at the Dole Cannery Theatre
Nisei Veterans Committee, Seattle, WA
December 2, 2017
2pm at the Nisei Veterans Committee Hall
1212 S. King Street, Seattle
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PROOF OF LOYALTY NEWS
“Brilliantly mixing archival footage and intelligent interviews, Lucy Ostrander and Don Sellers tell the story of Kazuo Yamane and his fellow Japanese Americans who proved their patriotism through their military exploits amid the most trying circumstances during World War II.”
– Greg Robinson, author,
By Order of the President:
FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans
“How far would we be willing to go to demonstrate loyalty to this country, even if our own families faced discrimination – & we had too? The little known story of Kazuo Yamane conveys how one man’s actions & belief in his country were significant in turning the tide of World War II. More than that, it depicts how those least trusted during the war – because they looked like the enemy – became invaluable to our war effort. The rich archival images, context given by historians and veterans, and the haunting music complement this vivid story highlighting Kazuo Yamane but also telling of Japanese Americans’ critical contributions during World War II. More than anything, these events from the past should make us ponder how we address race and ancestry today.“
– Linda Tamura, Willamette University Professor of Education Emerita
Author, Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence:
Coming Home to Hood River
HONOR & SACRIFICE NEWS
We want to thank Artist Trust for awarding Lucy Ostrander a 2014 Artist Trust GAP Grant in order to cover the costs of producing a closed-captioned version of HONOR & SACRIFICE as well as 200 DVDs. More info can be found here. Our latest work, HONOR & SACRIFICE is currently being screened at film festivals.
We’ve gotten great feedback from scholars. You can read what they’ve written here.
THE REVOLUTIONARY NEWS
In 2012 our feature-length documentary THE REVOLUTIONARY, a biographical film of Sidney Rittenberg, an American who became a member of the Chinese Communist Party and spent 34 years in the PRC premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival to two sold-out audiences. Subsequently, the film has inspired audiences all over the world. Besides festivals and a theatrical run in New York City, notable screenings include: the National Press Club in Washington DC., the European Parliament, the Pan-Asia Film Festival in London, and the Foreign Correspondents Clubs in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.
THE REVOLUTIONARY has its own website. Go there for the latest news and screenings.
“THE REVOLUTIONARY is the remarkable story of Sidney Rittenberg, as only he could tell it. It is equally the story of China during decades of political and social upheaval and of his deep personal involvement in the Chinese revolution. Through Rittenberg’s eyes and in his words, China’s past comes alive. He delves into this history with clarity and candor, and does not obscure his role in events that a lesser person would prefer to forget or to rationalize. This is a compelling and deeply moving film that deserves the widest possible audience.”
-Jonathan D. Pollack, Senior Fellow, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution