‘Right of Passage’ documentary about EO9066 to have first S.B. showing at JCI

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By Miya Iwataki

 

“Right of Passage,” a documentary on the signing and passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, will have its first showing in the South Bay at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute.

The event is co-sponsored by GVJCI and the Little Tokyo Historical Society working with Iku Kiriyama (Japanese American American Historical Society of SoCal), and is part of the yearlong remembrance of EO9066.

By Miya Iwataki

 

“Right of Passage,” a documentary on the signing and passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, will have its first showing in the South Bay at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute.

The event is co-sponsored by GVJCI and the Little Tokyo Historical Society working with Iku Kiriyama (Japanese American American Historical Society of SoCal), and is part of the yearlong remembrance of EO9066.

“The documentary, considered controversial by some, has been difficult to obtain, and this is the first screening opportunity for the South Bay community,” event organizers said.

Filmmaker Janice D. Tanaka, screenwriter/editor Sreescanda and co-producer Nancy Araki were able to examine newly declassified documents from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. Much of the  storyline centers around the Reagan years (1981-1988) and his signing of the bill.

The attitude of the Reagan Administration was to veto any Redress Bill coming out of Congress. “Right of Passage” posits how Reagan ultimately decided to sign the Redress bill, using papers from the Reagan Library and interviews with Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein and Sen. Alan Simpson.

A number of Legislators and Washington, D.C. figures with key roles in the legislative process are interviewed, including Rep. Norman Mineta, CWRIC Chair Joan Bernstein, and Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig, CWRIC Researcher.

A key part of the redress victory was the grassroots movement, and the role of the community who put a human face on the Japanese American concentration camp experience, and brought a deeper moral insight into this issue.

The filmmakers interview community members, including Alan Nishio and Miya Iwataki of the National Coalition for Redress/Reparations (NCRR); and many Japanese American Citizen’s League (JACL’rs) – Cherry Kinoshita, Grace Uyehara, John Tateishi and Ron Ikejiri; as well as other figures, such as Rose Matsui Ochi, Rudy Tokiwa, Stuart Ishimaru, Glenn Roberts, Grant Ujifusa.  The complex storyline and varying perspectives lend an almost Rashomon-type flavor to the documentary.

“We decided we would include only those statements in the film that could be substantiated with a paper trail or came from a source with first-hand knowledge,” Tanaka said.

Immediately following the film will be a panel featuring Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig, Alan Nishio, Miya Iwataki and Janice Tanaka, moderated by Professor Lane Hirabayashi.  Light refreshments will be served.

The Gardena Valley JCI is located at 1964 W. 162nd Street in Gardena. Admission is free with reservations at info@jci-gardena.org, or by calling 310-324-6611.

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