Skip to Content

Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of Hawai‘i

Directed by Ryan Kawamoto
  • 2018
  • 78 mins

While the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II has been well documented on the U.S. Mainland, new information about the sites and untold stories continue to emerge from Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i who endured this dark chapter of history. “Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of Hawai‘i” explores the personal stories of O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘I and Hawai‘i Island Japanese Americans from their initial arrest to their transfer and interrogation, and incarceration in far away places like New Mexico, Arkansas and Arizona. The film also takes an archeological journey through 19 former World War II confinement sites in Hawai‘i and the relevance of history upon civil liberties today. Written, directed and edited by Ryan Kawamoto. Executive Producer: Carole Hayashino.


About the Director:

Ryan Kawamoto is a television and film director based out of Honolulu, Hawai‘i represented by Kinetic Productions. His latest film, “Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of Hawai‘i,” presented by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i was awarded a 2020 Preservation Honor Award by the Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation. He previously directed two feature films including the documentary film, “The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i.” The film was commissioned and presented by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i and ran theatrically and was broadcast on PBS Hawai‘i. His other feature film is, “Hang Loose,” an Asian American comedy starring Kevin Wu aka YouTube Celebrity KevJumba, Dante Basco (“Hook,” “The Debut”), and Justin Chon (“Twilight,” “Gook”). The film was nominated for Best Feature at the 2012 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Ryan Kawamoto is a Yonsei (fourth generation) Japanese American and was born, raised, and continues to reside in Hawai‘i.


Featuring a post-film discussion with filmmaker RYAN KAWAMOTO and former Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i Executive Director CAROLE HAYASHINO, moderated by University of California, San Diego Ethnic Studies Professor CHRISTEN SASAKI.