A young girl trapped within Japanese American incarceration laments her dull surroundings. Bored, she chooses to paint flowers to contrast the lifeless environment around her. Her colorful creations, inspired by Japanese traditional wagara patterns, come to life and light up her world. She experiences a beautiful, yet transient “flower viewing” or “hanami,” embracing a Japanese American identity despite persecution.
About the Director:
Lisa Maeda is a 2D traditional animator and visual development artist. Growing up, she was shaped by both Western and Eastern types of storytelling due to her Japanese American upbringing. Today, she’s hoping to bridge these two influences to create nuanced art. She is also deeply passionate about creating wholesome, emotionally-rich children’s media. Her primary inspirations are Gyo Fujikawa and Rosemary Wells. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Fine Art in 2D Animation at SCAD Atlanta.
Using old photographs, Super 8mm film and FBI documents, a Japanese American filmmaker tells the story of her family’s struggle to prove their American identities during World War II. Standing in flux between the identity of “Alien” and “Citizen,” Mika Yatsuhashi explores the effect of her family’s Japanese immigrant history on her American identity today.
The impact of art in capturing — and interpreting — the tragedy of the wartime incarceration is examined in this collection of vivid and thoughtful shorts. From a hopeful and imaginative animation, to an avant garde and rare glimpse into the East Coast Japanese American experience, to a spiritual journey by artistic descendants of the camps, and finally in giving voice to a noted artist and author, these shorts take the viewer on an artistic journey into history.