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Film documenting lives of first-generation Japanese Americans screens May 8

"Issei: The First Generation" captures firsthand accounts of those who immigrated to California at the turn of the century

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"Issei: The First Generation"
Toshi Washizu

The UCLA International Institute presents a rare screening of "Issei: The First Generation" on Thursday, May 8 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UCLA Broad Art Center, Room 1250. The screening marks only the third time the 1983 film has been shown.

"Issei: The First Generation" explores the struggles, hardships and triumphs of first-generation Japanese Americans through firsthand accounts of those who immigrated to California at the turn of the 20th Century. Filmed in 1983 in and around Walnut Grove, Calif., CA, the film revolves around oral history interviews with Issei ranging in age from their 80s into their 100s. The film is one of the few that documents Japanese Americans in rural settings generally, and the San Joaquin Delta area specifically, making it a valuable contribution to the history of Japanese Americans before, during, and after World War II.

"Issei: The First Generation" has been shown previously only twice, on local television in 1984. Buried in the vaults for 30 years, this unique film was produced by poet and filmmaker Toshi Washizu. With the help of UCLA’s Aratani Endowed Chair/Professor Lane Ryo Hirabayashi of UCLA's Department of Asian American Studies, Washizu has generated a newly restored, widescreen, digital version of the film, with English narration by Amy Hill and subtitles.

Light refreshments will be provided when the doors open at 3:30 p.m. for the 4 p.m. screening of the 53-minute film. A question-and-answer session with Washizu will follow. Free parking in UCLA lot 3 will provided for the first 125 guests. Find more information here.  

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