Mark Nakakihara of the Zentoku Foundation and Kenji Taguma of the Nichi Bei Foundation participate in a screening of “Paper Chase” at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California on Aug. 27.

SAN FRANCISCO — “Paper Chase,” a documentary that chronicles Japanese American history from early immigration to modern times, was shown for the first time in Northern California on Saturday. 

The Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC) hosted two screenings of the film, which traces the emergence of bilingual Japanese/English newspapers from the late 1800s using historic photographs and clips. The project has been acclaimed for its use of rarely seen film clips and archival photographs depicting key moments in Nikkei history, including footage shot in Hawaii in 1906 and in Los Angeles in 1934.

Produced by the Zentoku Foundation, the documentary premiered at the Japanese American National Museum last October and was produced with support from dozens of individual donors and the UCLA Asian American Studies’ Aratani CARE award.

Attendees read profiles of prominent Nikkei produced by the Zentoku Foundation.

Commentary is provided through interviews with journalists, publishers, editors, and educators and other experts. Featured are Rafu Shimpo publisher Michael Komai; Chris Komai, former Rafu Shimpo editor; Kenji Taguma, Nichi Bei Weekly editor-publisher; George Johnston and Rob Buscher, representing Pacific Citizen.

Jon Funabiki, retired journalism professor at San Francisco State University, and historian Brian Niiya bring archival and contemporary context.

The North American Post, founded in 1902 in Seattle, is the oldest existing publication. The Rafu Shimpo, founded in 1903, will be observing its 120th anniversary next year.

Next showing of “Paper Chase” will take place Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Rose Theater, 14140 All American Way, Westminster in Orange County. Showtimes are 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Admission is free, but reservations are recommended due to limited seating. Reserve your spot by emailing

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