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Namba: A Japanese American’s Incarceration and Life of Resilience

Directed by Emily Hanako Momohara
  • 2022
  • 45 mins

A coming-of-age journey in the midst of war and bravery, May Namba goes from the Minidoka concentration camp to become a community organizer, working collaboratively to create community events and spaces for healing and justice. In the film, May, granddaughter Miyako and other members of the Namba family travel to the Minidoka site. Miyako struggles to walk May’s journey. She imagines what she would bring with her in the limited luggage allowed, makes a mattress of hay in a horse stall for a bed, and visits many of the locations that shaped May’s life.

About the Director
Emily Hanako Momohara was born in Seattle, Wash. where she grew up in a mixed-race family. Her artwork and films center around issues of heritage, multiculturalism, immigration and social justice. Momohara has exhibited nationally, most notably at the Japanese American National Museum in a two-person show titled Sugar|Islands. In 2015, her work was included in the Chongqing Photography and Video Biennial. “Namba: a Japanese American’s Life of Incarceration and Resilience” is Momohara’s first documentary film. It was funded by a Truth and Reconciliation Grant from ArtsWave and a donation from the Seattle Chapter JACL. Most importantly, Namba was crowd funded by 80 individuals from the Japanese American and arts communities. Momohara lives and works in Cincinnati where she is associate professor of Studio Art at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and heads the photography major.

Plays in


Due to the vast number of entries this year, the Films of Remembrance Committee could not accommodate many of the films submitted for consideration due to limited programming time at our in-person screenings. However, we thought the following films were worthy enough to include as a special virtual-only program, making them accessible throughout the world. From the rare nature of Monterey, Calif. citizens to publicly welcome Japanese Americans back from concentration camps, to a coming-of-age documentary of a camp survivor-turned-activist, to the heartwarming joys of senior bowlers who continued to bowl in Salt Lake City, Utah into their 90s, these films provide unique glimpses of life after camp.