Produced by Robert Horsting and Craig Yahata.
In 2004, the Ted Tanouye Memorial was dedicated in Torrance. This inspired eight Torrance High School students, part of the graduating class of 2005, to find out more about the Medal of Honor winner who attended their high school so many years ago. The documentary follows the journey of the students Nicole Adachi, Alex Begovich, Kathy Choi, Tim Froehlig, Talayeh Haghighi, Billy Kim, Heather McIlvaine, and Katie Webb, as they set out to uncover the story of Ted Tanouye.
By researching school yearbooks, interviewing his brother Isao, his former classmates and fellow soldiers, the students begin to piece together the story of a young Japanese American who earned his nation’s highest military honor.
Tanouye’s were among 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry unconstitutionally incarcerated by the U.S. government during World War II. The Tanouye family was imprisoned in the government-run Jerome, Arkansas camp. Ted Tanouye wound up joining the famed Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team and fighting in Europe.
Technical Sergeant Tanouye’s heroic actions on Hill 140 in Italy would earn him the Medal of Honor. His life and his story was little remembered except by his family and his comrades. However, in 2000, upon review by the Department of Defense of the war records of Asian Pacific American soldiers, President Clinton presented 22 Medals of Honor, 20 of those to Japanese American soldiers and their families, for actions “above and beyond the call of duty.”
Citizen Tanouye was named Best Feature Documentary by the 2005 International Family Film Festival and received the Chris Award from the 2005 Columbus International Film & Video Festival. It also earned Audience Awards from the 2005 San Diego International Children’s Film Festival, the 2005 Zion Independent Film Festival and 2006 Gloria Film Festival as well as the Accolade award (2006) and a Telly Statuette (2007).
Running time: 58 min.