SAN FRANCISCO — The Japanese American National Library will present a free screening and discussion of “Warning Shot: The Killing of James H. Wakasa” on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Union Bank Hospitality Room, located on the ground floor of the Japan Center, 1675 Post St. in San Francisco Japantown.
Artist and scholar Tina Takemoto will present her film and the archival research leading up to this project. “Warning Shot” is inspired by James Wakasa, a 63-year-old Issei bachelor who was shot to death by military police at Topaz concentration camp in Utah. This incident is notorious in Japanese American wartime history due to numerous accounts regarding the circumstances and cause of his death.
Newspapers reported that the inmate was killed while attempting to escape by crawling through the barbed-wire fence and the soldier claimed that the man was inadvertently hit by a warning shot. But investigative reports suggest that Wakasa was slain while walking his dog within the perimeter of camp.
Was Wakasa’s death a justifiable homicide, an accidental fatality, or second-degree murder? This film uses the “Rashomon effect” to juxtapose conflicting points of view, including that of the only eyewitness, Wakasa’s dog.
Takemoto is an associate professor of visual studies at California College of the Arts and board president of Queer Cultural Center. She has exhibited internationally and received grants from Art Matters, James Irvine Foundation, and San Francisco Arts Commission. Her articles appear in Afterimage, Art Journal, GLQ, Performance Research, Radical Teacher, Theatre Survey, and Women and Performance. “Warning Shot” premiered at the 2016 Films of Remembrance hosted by the Nichi Bei Foundation at New People Cinema in San Francisco. Info: www.ttakemoto.com
Ben Kobashigawa, Ph.D., of San Francisco State University Asian American Studies will serve as moderator.
For more information, call Karl Matsushita at (415) 567-5006 or email Kobashigawa at firstname.lastname@example.org.