Sunday, June 30, 2019

Arriving Soon: "War Brides of Japan"

Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez.

Yes, we know we’ve been saying it for three years. But our docu*memory series, “War Brides of Japan”, really is arriving soon.

In fact, some pieces have been arriving for the past few months. Along with numerous trailers, several of the 5 chapters have actually been entered in film festivals around the world.

On June 10, two entries won prizes. The trailer, “This Doc Rocks! (Buddha)”, and the 5th chapter (of 5 chapters) called “BFF’s; Buddhist Friends Forever” won Best Trailer and Best Concept, respectively, at the Buddha International Film Festival in Pune Maharashtra India.

Here are our banners:

And, a short explanation of this complicated film project:

In September and November 2016, I interviewed 13 different individuals along with many of their family members. Thus, I was left with over 13 hours of footage. In an effort to give every single person a voice, I cut the footage into 13 short films. Then, I edited them again into 5 short films—pairing them according to similarity of subject matter.

Chapter 1.

“HERSTORY" features two historians, Lily Anne Yumi Welty-Tamai (“Dekasegi”) and the incredibly intelligent Regina F. Lark (“Japanese Brides, American Wives”) discussing the first war brides and their arrival in the U.S.

Chapter 2.

“THE BRIDES” is war bride Asako Sakaguchi Miller Kimes (“The Best Ambassador”) with her grandson and daughter, and Fumiko Kiyamura Caine Alderman (“Kitchens and a Priest”) with her two daughters. While Asako married a white man, Fumiko married a black man—which put them on two very divergent paths in America.

Asako and daughter

Fumiko and daughters

Chapter 3.

Roleta on right
“THE KIDS” is Roleta Fowler Vasquez (“The Entertainer’s Daughter”) talking about her war bride mother who was a talented entertainer. Andy Campbell and the three McClanahan sisters—Elaine, Naomi and Joan (“hafu") discuss their mothers and their own experiences growing up Japanese and black in the U.S. Jean Lahn (“Remembering Her Mother”), who recently lost her mother, remembers her with fondness and tears.

Jean's mother


Chapter 4.

Diana on right
“THE CULTURE” features M Fumie Craig with her daughters ("Cactus…Cranes…Cooks…") creating origami and cooking Japanese meals. Diana Portugal and her daughter (“Tamales 4 Bon Odori”) talk about their Mexican roots and Diana’s experience of being rejected by the local Japanese community because of it. Yoshi Childs (“Bringing Japan Home") shows off her collection of Japanese souvenirs before preparing a Japanese lunch.


Chapter 5.

Doris and Castora
“BFF’s; BUDDHIST FRIENDS FOREVER” links three families with Buddhist mothers. Dottie Putney (“Missing Her Mom”) talks about her late mother who practiced Buddhism daily. The Farrison’s—with mother Mihoko, father Theodore, son Kim, and daughters Doris and Castora (“Family Fortune”)—discuss their parents’ enduring marriage and their mother’s best friend and fellow Buddhist, Fumiko. Siblings Doris and Mike, children of Fumiko (“Disowned/Reclaimed”), fondly recall their parents along with Doris’ granddaughter weighing in.

Mike, Doris and family

Here’s the pdf that further explains the chapters:

There’s something for everyone in these 5 films, so follow me on Vimeo for updates:

Or, like our “War Brides of Japan” Facebook page:

You can also check out our website regularly for any news:

On a sad note, we had to say goodbye to our dear friend and long-time Watermelon Sushi supporter, Nashville dramaturg Jaz Dorsey. Sweet dreams forever, Jaz! We miss you already.

Nashville dramaturg Jaz Dorsey
See you Hip Hapa Homeez on September 30, or at a theater near you!

Your Hip Hapa,