Probably the movie or TV miniseries that I would most like to see, that does a ton of things that Hollywood otherwise likes to do and that American media likes, is something that will probably never happen, and that is a movie or a Band of Brothers-style miniseries about the 442nd Infantry Regiment
, a.k.a. the Japanese-American regiment that was deployed to Europe in WWII because they were not permitted to deploy the Pacific, and that is the most highly-decorated unit, and if I remember correctly, one of the units with the highest number of casualties, because they had something to prove. They did all this while back in the States their families were being held in the Japanese internment camps that the U.S. government set up for Americans -- Americans
-- of Japanese descent. Their motto was "go for broke."
Tell me that wouldn't make a fucking amazing ten hour or twelve hour miniseries. Start it with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Show the internment camps. Show the effects of them. Show what it takes to, when your country, your country
, looks at you and says, "No. You look different. You talk funny. You can't be trusted. We're going to put you in a cage so we don't have to look at you," reply, "Give me the chance and I will lay down my life for you." Parallel the lives of the Japanese-American men who went off to fight and the men and women who stayed behind in the camps. Show what happens when war heroes come back, when the camps are closed, and families come home to find that their houses, their possessions, and their lives are gone, and all anyone who sees when they look at them is someone from Japan. Tell me that wouldn't make a good miniseries.
Of course, Hollywood will probably never do it, and even if they did, they'd probably either have the story be all about a white officer who realizes that gee, maybe the Japs aren't all that bad or cast non-Japanese-American actors as the mains. (Probably John Cho or Daniel Dae Kim, who are both good actors and fine-looking men, but are not Japanese.) Or both! Probably Hollywood (and the United States government) would like to forget about this ugly chapter of American history.
Do people even get taught about the Japanese-American internment camps anymore? I was -- but I was also a glaring Japanese-American figure in a classroom full of majority white kids, and whenever this came up in class the teacher would look at me and ask if my relatives had been in the camps, and if I was nisei or sansei or what. Well, no and nope. My family was still in Japan then. I don't technically count as nisei because my father isn't Japanese. Would I have been in those camps? Yeah, I would have, because my mother is Japanese. Not to mention I'm from the West Coast, which is where people were being interned, and we usually got the talk about how the -- hmm, the state fairgrounds at -- god, I can't remember what city it was right now -- was where Japanese-Americans from Washington were kept while the camps were being built. Yeah. In the fairgrounds.
I told English Flatmate N about the camps today because I was having my annual rant about how we'll never get a movie about the 442nd and she was horrified.
When I was home over break, I was flipping through Columns, the University of Washington alumni magazine (my dad is a UW alum), and saw this 1954 picture of the Valeda
, the Japanese-American women's group that was formed because sororities and fraternities didn't allow Japanese-descent students to join. The men's group was called SYNKOA, after the UW students who died in WWII.
If I'd realized that sixty years ago -- 1954 was the year my mother was born -- I wouldn't have been allowed to join a sorority, I think I might have rushed at Tulane just because I could.
While I was googling for that picture, I found this article
and this one
from the UW and started crying. No, this wasn't my family seventy years ago. But it could have been.