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

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

War Brides of Japan: Still in Post

a war bride before she was a war bride
Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez

At the risk of repeating last quarter’s blog, we are repeating last quarter’s blog. 

For those of you who are filmmakers, it’s likely you know why. For those not, please know that filmmaking is a long, involved process and right now our documentary, War Brides of Japan, is still in post.

If you’re interested in learning more about the mixed race experience, please join our Hip Hapa Homeez group page on Facebook. That’s where we discuss everything about ethnicity, nationality and multicultural living.







You can also join our Japanese War Brides and Their Children group page on Facebook to participate in discussions about your war bride mother--or any war bride you may know.

Meanwhile, enjoy these links to info about the War Brides of Japan documentary. If the main (first listed) website doesn’t work, please revisit it later as we have very recently changed web hosts.

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.

War Brides of Japan animator Michelle Jericho Poppler...
...has a surprise for you!

Enjoy your summer and arrigatou gozaimashita for your support and encouragement!

Your Hip Hapa,

Yayoi

visiting Masako White (l) in New Jersey

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

War Brides Of Japan: Helping Change U.S. Immigration Laws

Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez.

Since the U.S. immigration ban fiasco of a few weeks ago, it’s notable how timely our War Brides of Japan documentary is. 

me with my father at right
Remember, the Immigration Act of 1924 prevented Asians from entering the U.S. However, during the American occupation of Japan following WWII, many GI’s—including my father—wanted to bring home the Japanese wives they’d married while being stationed there.

But, in order to make that happen, legislation had to be enacted to allow those marriages and subsequent arrivals of Japanese war brides in America. Thus, the War Brides Act of 1945 was passed. Even though history has rarely acknowledged this monumental effort, some suggest it might have taken longer for other Asians to immigrate to America had it not been for the brave war brides of Japan. Ladies, we salute you!




One of two historians in our film, Regina F. Lark, discusses in detail the impact of that law on screen. 

camera operator Sean Hardin sets up for Regina F. Lark interview
Meanwhile, our editors are moving forward with the project. Please welcome Lynn Hammonds, author of Becoming Misako Kikuchi, who’s assisting with music licensing for the film.

associate producer Lynn Hammonds holds her book, Becoming Misako Kikuchi

However, we still need help through your 100% tax deductible donations. Please visit our Network for Good account and contribute what you can:


We of the War Brides of Japan documentary HEART you and your generosity!

Japanese war brides: Yuriko with BFF Emiko
Also, for more info, please check out our links below. If you haven’t for awhile, we have some new ones:

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:

Arrigatou gozaimasu to all our loyal supporters. And, Happy Hanami! (flower viewing in springtime Japan)

Your Hip Hapa,

Yayoi


Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Those Bad Ass Brides!

Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez.
For those of you in the know, you must be aware that today is the anniversary of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor which eventually led to the U.S. occupation. It also happens to be the first Wednesday in December, the day we post this blog with its recent focus on the documentary film War Brides of Japan.

While our film doesn’t really delve into details surrounding the bombing of Pearl Harbor, we do look at how the succeeding World War II affected the lives of Japanese women who met and married American GI’s. Stay tuned as we hope to have War Brides of Japan edited by spring.

Meanwhile, we have some good news, and we have some bad. First, the bad. This Watermelon Sushi World blog will change to a new format in 2017—publishing only quarterly. So, we’ll be publishing the first Wednesdays of the following months: March, June, September and December. The good news is that the new format is due to the success of War Brides of Japan. In other words, we just don’t have the time to blog while we’re making this movie.

Your Hip Hapa is also lining up more interviewees from mixed-race, interracial relationship, transracial adoptee and cross-cultural communities for this blog. If you, or someone you know, would like to participate—hollah! Meanwhile, visit our Facebook group page, Hip Hapa Homeez, to engage in discussion of relevant topics.

As you know, Your Hip Hapa has been diligently seeking, finding and interviewing Japanese war brides, their adult children and grandchildren. In September, our crew traveled to California, Arizona, then driving through Oregon to Washington and, even stopping in British Columbia Canada to film participants and conduct photo ops with some of our generous donors and wonderful supporters.

Take a peep at some of our fabulous friends:

Dale Head of Wai'anae Hawai'i is one of our generous donors
so is Paz Cateil, a wonderful realtor on the Westside of O'ahu
Eric Gould is a Seattle-based donor;
here we are at Alki Beach in Seattle
donor Gil Asakawa (right) lives in Denver with his wife Erin Yoshimura;
he's also the author of "Being Japanese American" and a blogger himself
Diana Martinez Portugal (right) is the daughter of a Japanese war bride;
she and her husband (center) live in Clovis, and Diana arranged our interview for KPCF 88.1 Fresno
host Michael Medrano interviewed us on his show on KPCF 88.1 Fresno

camera operator Sean Hardin is dwarfed by Paul Bunyan in Klamath California during our first shoot
here's Sean Hardin setting up for Regina Lark's interview at her West LA  home office during our second shoot;
Regina wrote her dissertation on Japanese war brides
Your Hip Hapa (center) gets ready to leave Moorpark following our second shoot with
Roleta Fowler Vasquez (right), daughter of a Japanese war bride, and her husband, Joe
Check out our latest trailer!


Our Network for Good account is still active, so you can make your 100% tax deductible donation here:


Arrigatou gozaimasu for being there for us.

Here are more links, links, links!

War Brides of Japan videos:

War Brides of Japan websites:

War Brides of Japan news:

War Brides of Japan Facebook:

War Brides of Japan LinkedIn:

War Brides of Japan Twitter:

War Brides of Japan G+:

War Brides of Japan blogs:

A War Bride's artwork:

Dear Hip Hapa Homeez, we will reach out to you in March just in time for hanami—cherry blossom viewing time.

Your Hip Hapa,

Yayoi


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Your Hip Hapa Films War Brides Of Japan

Gommenasai, Hip Hapa Homeez!

director Yayoi with war bride daughter
Diana and her husband in Clovis
There are always firsts, and this is definitely a first. For the first time since 2008, and Your Hip Hapa’s regularly scheduled posts, we are late.

But you’ll understand why when you learn that all our time has been devoted to filming and editing our documentary, War Brides of Japan.

Besides, Your Hip Hapa’s calendar got soaked from a bottle of water that spilled inside her bag while she was on the road filming. Consequently, everything written in ink got smeared—including deadline dates.

Apologies! Meanwhile, here we are ten days late with news from our travels.

Please enjoy!

>>from Hollywood, to Oxnard, to Fillmore, to Laguna Woods, to Tucson, to Clovis and Fresno, to Elk Grove and Sacramento, to San Jose and San Francisco California, to Tacoma and Kirkland Washington and beyond--we've been meeting and filming the most amazing war brides, their adult children, grandchildren, hosts and hostesses, donors and many others.

see for yourself (all production stills courtesy Sean Hardin):

war bride daughter Roleta with her husband Joe and dog Ozzy in Fillmore

war bride Asako-san with her daughter Margaret in Laguna Woods

war bride daughter M. shows off kimono with husband Steve in Tucson


war bride Fumiko-san flanked by daughters Diane and Myokei in Elk Grove

war bride daughter Yoshi-san holds up pix of her mother and aunt making mochi in Sacramento

war bride daughter Jean shows off Chinese zodiac in San Jose

J-town in San Jose

donor Lenore with director Yayoi in San Francisco

donor Kareem in Seattle

donor Silvia with director Yayoi in Tacoma

war bride son Mike with his wife, sister Doris, their Japanese cousin and Doris' granddaughter Alana in Tacoma

war bride daughters Doris and Cassie in Tacoma
remember, we're still fundraising at Network for Good where your donation is 100% completely tax-deductible:<<


And, here are more links!

War Brides of Japan videos:

War Brides of Japan websites:

War Brides of Japan news:

War Brides of Japan Facebook:

War Brides of Japan LinkedIn:

War Brides of Japan Twitter:

War Brides of Japan G+:

War Brides of Japan blogs:

A War Bride's artwork:

See you next bi-month, on December 7--a significant day for War Brides of Japan.

ja, mata ne!

Your Hip Hapa,

Yayoi


Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Bad Ass Brides: Keep On Keepin’ On!

Konnichi-wa, Hip Hapa Homeez!

beautiful brides: Mrs.Wright, Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Winfrey
Until our War Brides of Japan feature documentary is on the screen, we’re going to be blogging about it a lot.

If you’re interested in discussing being biracial or a transracial adoptee, or being in an interracial relationship or just crossing cultures, please go to our Hip Hapa Homeez group page on Facebook where we do just that.

Otherwise, we’re all about War Brides of Japan right now.

First off, a BIG UP! to all our donors. You know who you are, and we’ll mention you by name in another post. That is, if you haven’t chosen to remain anonymous. We’ll have to get your permission first, so let us know.

For the rest of you who haven’t yet made a 100% tax-deductible donation to the War Brides of Japan documentary, you can do so by clicking here: PLEASE DONATE!

best friends: Yuriko-san and Emiko-san,
who loved wearing Chinese dresses
Next, here’s a correction about our last blog post that indicated all Japanese war brides entered into interracial marriages with either black or white American military men. We have since learned that there were some Japanese American Intelligence Officers stationed in Japan during the Occupation. Some of them also married Japanese war brides. However, since those men did work that was highly classified, few people know of their stories. If you have such a story, please let us know.

Further, we recently located a Japanese war bride married to a Mexican American GI, another rare exception. If you know of a Japanese war bride who married someone other than a black or white American, please drop us a line. In fact, if you know any Japanese war brides at all, tell us about them, too.
in the kitchen with Yuriko-san
mover over, Julia Child!
Even though we have scheduled interviews with about a dozen war brides and or their adult children, it’s good to be aware of any others out there—especially on the West Coast where we’re going to begin our filming. We will keep you posted, Hip Hapa Homeez!

To know more about the War Brides of Japan documentary film project, please check out the links below:












We have also created a closed group page on Facebook called Japanese War Brides and Their Children. Please request membership if you’re interested in joining us.

Yuriko-san, back in the day with her ocha and ciggies
And, of course, we still have our Watermelon Sushi narrative film project although it’s understandably on hold right now:

Yayoi Lena Winfrey fan page on Facebook (sorry, but Your Hip Hapa can’t add any more friends to her regular profile page) 

There, that should hold you for awhile! See you in a bi-month, Hip Hapa Homeez. And, don't forget: PLEASE DONATE!

ja, mata ne!

Your Hip Hapa,

Yayoi