In September 2016, we drove through 4 states to film some 35 interviewees--2 were historians; 5, war brides; 1, the husband of a war bride; 22, the adult children of a war bride; 4, the grandchildren of a war bride; and, 1 was the great-grandchild of a war bride.
During our travels, we were warmly welcomed into homes that reflected the one I grew up in--decorated with Japanese kokeshi (dolls), ceramic ocha (tea) sets, picturesque noren hanging in doorways and colorful kimono stretched out on walls. We were invited to share meals that included miso (soup made of fermented soybean paste), natto, (fermented soybean), inarizushi (fried tofu pouch sushi), umeboshi (pickled plum), freshly made mochi (rice cake) and, of course, steaming, hot gohan (rice). It was such a delightful time of connecting with strangers over a familiar way of being.
This film reflects our times with our interviewees; the Japanese women who fearlessly arrived in the US next to their American husbands ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. And, their mixed-race adult children who often found themselves straddling two cultures while sometimes feeling rejected by both.
The completed docu*memory series showcases 5 short films (each featuring 2 or 3 shorter films); reflections of individual historians, war brides, and war brides' family members all with their own unique stories.
You will laugh, you will cry, you will be in awe of such brave, bodacious, beautiful & bad-ass brides.
telling the brides' stories...
telling the war brides' stories
here's to the beautiful, bodacious & bad-ass brides!
...met his wife, Tsuruyo, while he was in the Army and stationed in Japan.
...left Ota-ku Tokyo for Richmond Texas in 1952 during Jim Crow and segregation. She remembers being invited to sit at the front of a bus by its white driver although she was accompanying her husband's black relatives who were directed to the back. It confused her. She also recalls having to kill a snake that had crawled inside her house while she was alone with her two children--a toddler and an infant. CLICK BLACK ARROWS FOR ENLARGED VIEW
...met and married Yuriko in Japan, then brought her to his home in Texas where she battled mosquitos and tarantulas. She also faced hostile Southerners who had never seen an Asian before let alone a Japanese person. Many Americans at the time blamed all Japanese, even powerless female civilians like Yuriko for starting WWII.
without our generous donors, this docu*memory
could not have been made;
mina-san, arrigatou gozaimasu!
Gayle Asano, John Ullman, Ray Tabata, James White, Ryan Davis, Kristina Wong, Glenn Robinson, Janet Sorrentino, Doris Jackson, Jamiah Adams, Lenore Chinn, Gil Asakawa, Janice Malone, Sophia Childs, Kenny Clark, Donald Thieme, Eric Gould, Dale Head, Tess Gerould, Carrie Juntilla, Adrian Alarilla, Alvin Lee, Marlene Blackwell in memory of Sally Sachiko Blackwell, Carol Sugihara, JoAnna Mabra-Hobson, Dorothy Adams, Charles Freeman, Vera Zambonelli, Andy Campbell for Fumiko Baba Campbell and in memory of Andrew Campbell, Sr., Sarah Ross, Paulette Thompson, Wayne Chin, Kareem Hadee, Regina Lark, Paz R Cateil, Doris Taerbaum, Lynda Caine-Barrett for Fumiko Kiyamura Caine and in memory of Johnny Forrest Caine, Jr., M Craig, Roleta Fowler Vasquez, Gayle Asano, Silvia Benton, Tess Gerould, Doris Jackson in memory of Fumiko Sumi Factory and William M Factory, Sr., Marie von Haas, Robert Taylor, Jennifer Brewer in memory of Masue Nikaido, Lynda Caine-Barrett, Myokei Caine-Barrett, Romaine Washington, Margaret Tinsley for Asako Sakaguchi Miller Kimes and in memory of Phillip Miller, Mitsuo Tomita, Regina Lark, Barbara Speares for Fumiko Omori Speares, Myokei Caine-Barrett, Marian Hukle, Thomas Harris, Mike Evans, Akko Cacaji, Kathryn Tolbert, Linda K Busey in memory of Tsuruyo Idemitsu Douglas, Ollie Stephen Douglas and Betty Douglas Picard, Ronni Sanlo in honor of the work of Regina Lark, Kristine Ohkubo, Ron Sayles in memory of Fumiko Sayles, Pauline Bundgaard, Ron Sayles in memory of Fumiko Sayles, Debbie McKee, Terry Myers, Joyce Hashimoto Alexander, Michiko Sanchez in memory of Ginko Kimora, Mitsuo Tomita, Regina F Lark, Roleta Fowler Vasquez, Michael & Tomoko Malaghan, Andye Andinha.
Tom Baker, Necia Gelker, Chez Shoji, Tim Nagae, Romina Han, Elaine Ambrose, Naomi M Herrera, Joan McClanahan Lairson, Regina Lark, Chez Shoji, Castora Hayes, Elaine Ambrose, Floria Morton, Emma Hallsey Lawrence, Patty Huey Hurka, Leialoha Perkins, Leialoha Perkins, Myokei Caine-Barrett, Lee Larrew, Regina Lark, Mae Fukushima, Susan Boyd, Marianne Wilson Kuroda, Sierenitty N Eberhardt, Bob Taylor.
In-kind Donors: Global Music Awards, Ann Carli, Roleta Fowler Vasquez, Elaine Ambrose, Kageru Downtown Tokyo Cuisine & Sake Bar, Asako Kimes, M Fumie Craig, Diana Portugal, Diane Shirey, Sophia Childs, Jean H Lahn, Doris Factory, Castora Hayes, Darnell J Nelson.
In memory of Tisako Chez Shoji & Dr. Lily Leialoha Apo Perkins.
Deepest love to Derrick Holmes & all of our Anonymous Donors!