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Los Angeles Times: Documentary about Manzanar Internment Camp Has Message That Remains Relevant Today

Incarceration camp notice
Soldiers put up official notices ordering Japanese Americans to report to “relocation centers.”

During World War II, more than 110,000 Japanese American people were forced into concentration camps like Manzanar  in California. However, many people today fail to realize that while the United States fought for liberty around the world, the country violated the civil and human rights of its own citizens on American soil.

This is what motivated 24-year old filmmaker Brett Kodama to produce One-Two-One-Seven: A Story of Japanese Internment, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The documentary centers around the story of Kodama’s grandmother, Sharon Kodama. At age 3, Kodama was incarcerated in 1942 and detained in the camp for the ensuing three-year duration of the war. Now, at age 77, it has only recently started to become easier for the elder Kodama to talk about her experience.

She explains, “When you have this hatred all over you, you just don’t want to talk about it and want to hide. That’s the way Japanese culture is. Everyone tries to hide and tries to not make waves … Now it’s easier to talk about because it was so long ago.”

Sharon Kodama
Sharon Kodama was just 3 when she was ordered along with her family to go to Manzanar to spend the years during WWII behind barbed wire

While this American holocaust happened over 70 years ago, Brett Kodama understands that the significance of this event remains relevant today. He says, “I also made it [the documentary] because of the comments that [Donald] Trump was making about how he wants to tag and round up the Muslim population.”

The documentary was one of 12 finalists selected to compete in the Student and Emerging Filmmaker Competition at this year’s March on Washington Film Festival.

One-Two-One-Seven: A Story of Japanese Internment – Trailer from Brett Kodama on Vimeo.


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