GARDENA — Little Tokyo Historical Society and the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute present a screening of “Rebel with a Cause: The Life of Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga” on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m. at GVJCI, 1964 W. 162nd St. in Gardena.
The one-time-only screening is the second of a two-part film series commemorating the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066.
Following the viewing of “Rebel with a Cause,” panelists will share personal experiences and insights. The panel consists of moderator Valerie Matsumoto, Ph.D., Donald Hata, Ph.D., Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga, and filmmaker and director Janice D.Tanaka.
• Valerie Matsumoto is a professor in the Department of History and the Department of Asian American Studies at UCLA. She is the author of “City Girls: The Nisei Social World in Los Angeles, 1920-1950,” as well as “Farming the Home Place: A Japanese American Community in California, 1919-1982.” She has received the Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Award, the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring and Teaching from the UCLA AAS Graduate Student Association, and was recently appointed to the George and Sakaye Aratani Chair on the Japanese American Incarceration, Redress, and Community.
• Donald Hata is emeritus professor of history at CSU Dominguez Hills and a recipient of the CSU Trustees’ Systemwide Outstanding Professor Award. He served as a planning commissioner and councilman in Gardena, trustee of the California Historical Society, and officer of the American Historical Association. He was born in East Los Angeles in 1939 and incarcerated at the Gila Camp in Arizona. His Ph.D. dissertation was published as “Undesirables: Early Immigrants and the Anti-Japanese Movement in San Francisco, 1892-1893.”
He and his late wife, Dr. Nadine Ishitani Hata, co-authored “Japanese Americans and World War II: Mass Removal, Imprisonment, and Redress,” which has been in continuous print since 1974 and is now in its fourth edition.
• Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga is recognized for her crucial role in the redress movement, discovering critical evidence of premeditated governmental misconduct – essentially finding “the smoking gun” – during her years of research at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. She was hired by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians in 1981 and became its lead researcher. The information that she uncovered was used in the coram nobis cases of Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi and Minoru Yasui as well as the National Council for Japanese American Redress’ class-action suit against the government.
Because Herzig Yoshinaga spent so much time in New York, the film offers a glimpse of the Japanese American community there with groundbreaking organizations such as Asian Americans for Action, the Basement Workshop and Chickens Come Home to Roost.
• Janice D. Tanaka brings 30 years of filmmaking experience in the Asian American community as a producer, director, TV executive and tenured professor., She is one of just a handful of filmmakers with a resume of multiple acclaimed shorts and feature-length films on America’s concentration camps: “Bachan,” “At Face Value: Asian Americans in the Midwest,” “When You’re Smiling,” “Act of Faith: The Rev. Emery Andrews Story,” “Rebel With A Cause,” and “Right of Passage.”
“While interviewing Aiko for the redress project, I found her to be such a compelling personality,” says Tanaka, but the impetus to pursue “Rebel with a Cause” was her discovery that Herzig Yoshinaga “was my mother’s friend and classmate since they were 8 years old, growing up in prewar Los Angeles.”
A question-and-answer period will follow the panel. Refreshments will be provided at the conclusion of the program.
The screening is free. Reservations are requested and can be made by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone, (310) 324-6611. Indicate the number of attendees.
Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo (except where noted)