Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Beautiful Brides Of The Rising Sun


Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez!

At last, we’re nearly at the end of our long journey in producing the documentary War Brides of Japan. 

Our new website has been launched (but still needs some tweaking), and we’re almost done editing the movie.

We plan to make the film available online this summer, and hope to screen it at several film festivals, too. 

Later this week, we’ll be the guests on the premiere show of The Stubborn Heart podcast for filmmakers.

Stay tuned at this blog, or join one of our many Facebook groups and pages at the links below this latest post to keep up with our schedule.

author Kristine Ohkubo outside of Tokyo Station
And, finally, we’re back to our old format of posting interviews of people who are multiracial, interracially involved, or cross cultures.

Recently we had the pleasure of meeting Kristine Ohkubo, author of “The Sun Will Rise Again”. Your Hip Hapa has been reading this historical account of Japan and WWII, and was blown away by Ms. Ohkubo’s detailed reporting. So, we asked her…

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

A: My inspiration for "The Sun Will Rise Again" came from my travels in Japan and conducting research for my first book, "A Blogger's Guide To Japan".  During my travels, I realized that there were facts that were previously unknown to me having grown up in the U.S.—facts which were omitted from our history books. Further, when I began publishing my travel blog (which is defunct now) and sharing stories about places like Manzanar, for instance, I received comments/messages from my readers thanking me for the information and telling me that they were unaware of the facts included in my blog posts. Some encouraged me to write a book, which seemed daunting at first, but I followed through with it anyway.

kamikaze pilot memorial, Yasukuni war shrine Tokyo
Q: Your book is brimming with amazing facts. How long did it take you to do so much research? 

A: A majority of the information I had already uncovered while researching my first book. It is a travel book, but it includes quite a bit of historical background information. It was just a matter of digging further to substantiate the claims. It took me a little over a year to research and write "The Sun Will Rise Again". I worked on it every single day, and couldn't put it down. The work drove me in a sense.

Q: A lot of historical literature tends to be academic, but your writing style is contemporary—making it an easy read yet still focused on important details. How did you develop this writing style? 

A: I have always loved writing and considered it one of my strong points. One of the things which turned me off about a majority of the historical material out there was that it was very academic. I wanted to write to appeal to everyone, not just the researchers and historians. I felt it was my duty to share this information with everyone so that it would serve as a lesson for present and future generations. Effective communication is not about how educated one sounds, but rather how clearly one conveys his or her thoughts and, through the process, educates others. That has always been my focus when I write. I suppose it came naturally and through lots of practice. Further, in the process of writing, I always ask others to read through sections of my manuscript to determine if it makes sense, etc.

haiden or hall of worship, Yasukuni war shrine Tokyo
Q: You’re a self-proclaimed Japanophile. How did that happen? 

A: I have always had a love for Asian culture (Japanese in particular). When I was small, I would always draw pictures of women wearing kimono. (My current artwork is still influenced by my love of Asian culture.) Later, I learned through genetic testing that I was 25% Asian, so I believe it was natural for me to be attracted to the culture. I have been traveling to Japan almost every year since 2007 and have approached each journey with wide-eyed enthusiasm. I look forward to exploring and learning from each visit. It is a natural hunger inside of me to discover all there is to discover and perhaps learn a little about myself in the process.

Q: What’s your next book about? 

A: Asia once again! This time I cast my net out beyond Japan and include China as well. The third book is also historical in nature and will explore the Western influence on Asian culture and its contribution to Asia's subsequent modernization. So, please stay tuned!

Arrigatou gozaimashita to Kristine. Check out her book by clicking here.

Meanwhile, here are the usual links to the War Brides of Japan documentary.


War Brides of Japan websites:

War Brides of Japan in the news:
DIFT 
NBC 

War Brides of Japan on Facebook:

War Brides of Japan on LinkedIn:

War Brides of Japan on Twitter:

War Brides of Japan on G+:

War Brides of Japan blogs:

A War Bride's artwork:
heARTworkByYuri

Until we meet again in September,  I remain…

Your Hip Hapa,
Yayoi


Wednesday, March 07, 2018

War Brides of Japan HEARTS Our Donors!

Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez!

Although it seems that this Watermelon Sushi World blog has been hijacked by the War Brides of Japan documentary, neither one could happen without the other.

Before we could tell the story of two mixed-race sisters in our narrative film Watermelon Sushi, we first needed to explain how they came to be. So we reached back to tell their mother’s story in War Brides of Japan and, in our telling, discovered many other women like her—Japanese women who married American servicemen during the Occupation of post-WWII Japan.

To keep the momentum going until we complete post production of the documentary, we’d like to show off some of our donors. If you’re a donor and would like to see yourself here, please email us a photo.

Meanwhile, we offer our readers a peek at the beautiful people below without whom we could not be making this film.

By the way, we're still accepting donations at our Network for Good page.


And please check out our War Brides of Japan links following these photos.

Barbara Speares, right
Tess Gerould

Vera Zambonelli, Hawaiian Women in Filmmaking in Honolulu

Dale Head, left, in Wai'anae

writer Gil Asakawa, right, with his wife in Honolulu
realtor Paz Cateil in Kapolei
Ray Tabata, left, in Shinagawa
Naito family at T's vegan restaurant in Tokyo
artivist Lenore Chinn in her San Francisco studio
jewelry designer Janet Sorrentino in Kirkland

tekkie Eric Gould, right, in Pioneer Square Seattle

tekkie Kareem Hadee in Pike Place Market Seattle

Silvia Benton, left, at Peanut Sauce in Tacoma


War Brides of Japan websites:

War Brides of Japan in the news:
DIFT 
NBC 

War Brides of Japan on Facebook:

War Brides of Japan on LinkedIn:

War Brides of Japan on Twitter:

War Brides of Japan on G+:

War Brides of Japan blogs:

A War Bride's artwork:

Until June,  I will always be...

Your Hip Hapa,
Yayoi



Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Extra, Extra! Coming Soon! War Brides Of Japan!

Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez!

While the big news for mixies globally is the upcoming wedding of biracial American actress Meghan Markel and Britain’s Prince Harry, there are other brides in the news, too. 

Read all about it!

One year after we completed Principal Photography on our War Brides of Japan documentary, we found ourselves in California once again.


In early November, documentary participant Elaine invited us to the elegant birthday party of special blasian lady, JoAnna, in Long Beach. Surrounded by her lovely female friends, we took dozens of photos and later marveled at how many of us had Japanese war bride mothers and African American military fathers.

See for yourself, here:

blasian beauties: top row, left to right: Emma, Michi, Naomi, JoAnna, Yayoi, Joan. seated: Elaine, Floria.

Later on in our travels, Elaine, who's been one of our staunchest supporters, hosted a fundraiser for our documentary. Yes, we’re still in need of funding, and will likely launch a campaign soon so we can pay our amazing composer, LA CAt, what she deserves to have. Meanwhile, you can donate here:  


But back to the fundraiser, a good time was had by all who participated at a Torrance karaoke bar where Elaine handed out Coach bags as prizes in several raffle drawings. 

Here are some pix from that event:

Elaine calls out winners of the raffle drawings...

...and, a lucky winner is Emma!

but Floria wins, too!
and, so does Patty!
karaoke was kraaazy!

Floria and Patty were clearly moved by Emma's performance

Joan and Emma singing, 'STOP in the Name of Love!'

Sadly, while we were in California, we also lost one of our favorite friends in entertainment. Rhoda Robinson Hicks was an energetic writer and performer, and her son David promises to carry on her legacy.

David as a child actor with Frankie Muniz, Hollywood
an all grown-up David meets with Your Hip Hapa at the American Film Market, Santa Monica

While we’re still busy editing War Brides of Japan for an early 2018 release, we invite you to visit the links, down below, that provide more info about the film.

We thank you for your continuing support and encourage you to donate to our cause if you haven’t already. Every penny is 100% tax deductible. We do appreciate each and every one of you and send a big ARRIGATOU!

If you’ve already made a donation and would like us to post your photo on Facebook and/or the name of the person you made the donation in honor of, please let us know.

We’ll see you next year in March 2018 just in time for sakura and War Brides Of Japan.

Here are links to the film:

War Brides of Japan videos:

youtube 88.1 FM interview
youtube behind the scenes production trailer 
vimeo behind the scenes production trailer
youtube pre-production trailer 
vimeo pre-production trailer 
youtube v.2 
youtube v.1

War Brides of Japan websites:

War Brides of Japan in the news:
DIFT 
NBC 

War Brides of Japan on Facebook:

War Brides of Japan on LinkedIn:

War Brides of Japan on Twitter:

War Brides of Japan on G+:

War Brides of Japan blogs:

A War Bride's artwork:

Your Hip Hapa,


Yayoi

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Jessica Viana: Helping To Keep History From Repeating Itself


Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez!

It’s hard to believe that one year ago this September, we were on a road trip to 11 cities, in three states, filming Japanese war brides and their families. Among our interviewees were two historians; one—Regina F. Lark—who had written a 450-page dissertation on the subject of Japanese war brides.

In this post, Your Hip Hapa would like to present another important historian. Because so much of world history has not always been good, it’s crucial to know what’s behind us so we can avoid repeating it. And Jessica Viana, a native of Portugal, intends to do what she can to make sure of that.

Here’s her story in her own words:

Jessica snapping photos in Madrid
“I am writing a historical fiction novel about WWII Japan which focuses, apart from the whole society panorama of the time, on the secret biowarfare research units that the Japanese developed and concealed across their occupied territories in China. I've considered giving it the title of White Souls, reflecting the racial aspect of the Second Sino-Japanese War as a whole, which coincided with WWII in time.

I heard about the secret Japanese biowarfare research units through my History teacher in my senior year of high school. He introduced the topic in the way that showed he was shocked at how almost nobody knew about it and how close it was in proportion to the dimension of the German camps and experiments. I became instantly drawn to the subject, and in the next summer the idea of writing a novel persisted in my head, with that topic never fading away.

Jessica in Oriente, Lisbon
I have never visited Japan, although I am fascinated by Japanese culture and tradition. Contrary to my generation's manga and anime fans, I have never watched too many random Japanese films or anime series, but I appreciate the Japanese art of filmmaking and it always reminds me of how different the Eastern and Western worlds are—and that in certain aspects, the Japanese have evolved far earlier than Western countries.

Buddha Eden Garden in Portugal
In my process of writing this novel, besides living my normal life of studying and working, I have spent two years collecting and analysing research papers, books and films/documentaries, which don't seem to ever end! Despite having found out that in Japan people try to bring this to the public’s knowledge, I still believe there isn't enough coverage of these important historical events in the English-speaking world, and I hope that my work—once released one day—will help build some understanding. I do not mean to blame any parties, as much as I simply want to do my work as a writer, which I believe is to portray the truth.


Praia dos Beijinhos (Little Kisses Beach) in Algarve, Portugal
In order to depict the reality of a society which, to me, is slowly coming out of the dark, I have approached a few people with family and/or friends who might have experienced the WWII years first-hand or knew someone who did. These stories are the purest gold you could ever give me, as the detail of recalling an episode of one's life always brings so much more than what's documented in books.”

Arrigatou, Jessica! If any of you in our Watermelon Sushi World have personal family stories about WWII, please contact us and we’ll put you in touch with Jessica.

Meanwhile, we’ve added some new crew to the War Brides of Japan documentary:

Below, on the left, is Alfred Chan, an animator who recently helped bring my illustrations to life.

On the right is LA CAt, an amazing musician currently composing music for the War Brides of Japan documentary.

Alfred Chan
LA CAt
And, here are the usual links to learn more about the film:

War Brides of Japan videos:

War Brides of Japan websites:

War Brides of Japan in the news:
DIFT 
NBC 

War Brides of Japan on Facebook:

War Brides of Japan on LinkedIn:

War Brides of Japan on Twitter:

War Brides of Japan on G+:

War Brides of Japan blogs:

A War Bride's artwork:

We’re still accepting your 100% tax deductible donations, so please check out our Network for Good account to make your contribution.


Until next quarter, ja!

Your Hip Hapa,


Yayoi