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