Museum Picks

Richard Murakami’s Pick: Life Interrupted: Reunion and Remembrance in Arkansas (DVD)

When I first saw a preview of this film, I said to myself that this well edited film tells a powerful story of the impact that the “Life Interrupted: The Japanese American Experience World War II Arkansas” project had on me during and after the conference. I viewed the film several times and found it to be a compelling emotional experience reminding me of the conference and my days of incarceration in three camps during World War II: Tule Lake, Jerome, and Heart Mountain.

Two comments made by persons who previewed the film are:

  • “A powerful presentation that poignantly captures the importance of ensuring the Japanese American experience is never forgotten. The film brilliantly bridges the past with the present, young and old, and across all racial lines.”

  • “A very effective look at the return of a group of Americans to the site of their unlawful incarceration during WWII & how young Arkansas Students are rediscovering their own history.”

  • For myself, I experienced two strong emotions. One of going back to the conference and second the experience I and my family faced during our incarceration.

    The film has seven parts. Three parts tell you of the work of the young middle and high school students in Little Rock. The purpose of the students work is to educate their community about the World War II camps in Arkansas—Jerome and Rohwer. The students presentations were powerful because they reported their findings in an emotional and honest straight-forward manner. They did not “sugar coat” or tell of their findings in “politically correct” terms. One has to view the film to learn for themselves of the great work of the students.

    Other parts of the DVD tell the viewer of the comments made at breakout sessions, shows you the eight exhibitions in Little Rock, and an emotional return to Rohwer and Jerome by conference attendees.

    The last part of the DVD, Keynote Speakers, I consider to be a bonus. The nationally noted speakers reflect on civil rights and democracy, personal memories, and current issues. Each will hold your attention.

    Richard Murakami has been a volunteer at the Japanese American National Museum since 1994. He has helped in many areas, but is currently assisting primarily with photography, operational tasks, and teaching origami on Fridays to student groups.

    In September 2004, he joined over 1,300 people for “Camp Connections: A Conversation about Civil Rights and Social Justice in Arkansas.” He has also attended the opening of the
    America’s Concentration Camps: Remembering the Japanese American Experience exhibition when it traveled to New York and San Francisco.

    September 2006

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