Legacy of Resilience

The Japanese American community has been described as resilient, but resilience comes at a cost. Haunted by the events of World War II and the incarcerations of Japanese Americans, remarkable individuals in today’s generations consider the impact of their story on life today. Through a multigenerational lens, archival footage, and animation to fill in the picture, this documentary focuses on the people who are finding ways of moving forward and continuing to fight for social justice.


Director’s Statement

As a fourth generation Japanese American, I come from a family with a strong history. My grandfather used to always tell me,

“Your property, belongings, freedom and fundamental rights can be taken from you in a matter of seconds. But nobody can take your education, that belongs completely to you.”

Collectively, my grandparents have endured and fought in wars, been imprisoned in the Japanese American incarceration camps, survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and worked hard to create a better life for their children. The manifestation of these roots raises the question of how can I continue to honor their experiences as I pursue my own life.

I began to realize that the Japanese American community has bared the scars of the events that have happened seventy years ago and I saw the parallels of that story echoing throughout history and present day. I wanted to explore the telling an old story and reclaim the narrative in a way that allows the story to continue to move forward.

History of Resilience



This film is about the present day but acknowledging the rich history of the Japanese American community is also a huge element of my film. I didn’t want to use archival images in the way that a historical documentary does. I decided to present in a new and engaging way through a personalized lens of my collaborators.




HD, 26 min


Marissa Kitazawa

UCSC Advisors

Nancy Chen Jennifer Maytorena Taylor B. Ruby Rich


DanMichael Reyes

Sound Engineer

Ricardo Trujillo Velasco

Documentary, featured, Motion Graphics