You Can Help “The Song” Become A Reality During Final Days of KickStarter Fundraising Campaign

by Kazuko Golden

After leaving her sister and moving to the United States, a Japanese American mother finds herself desperate to communicate with her sister while incarcerated in the Manzanar Internment camp after she learns of rising tensions in Hiroshima. The Song intertwines the “duality of the World War II Japanese American internment,” by telling the story of Sachie and her sister Hiroko. Produced by Kazuko Golden, with an expected release in the Summer of 2014, the film shows how family survives through great distance and emotional struggle. With determination, and using the inspiration from music and a Japanese folk song Yuuyake Koyake, Sachie holds steadfast onto the dreams of family and a future that she came to the USA to fulfill but had denied by the incarceration of the Japanese Americans during World War II.

KickStarter Fundraising Campaign Is In Final Days

We have just a few days to go before our Kickstarter campaign must meet our $6,000 goal for my Senior Thesis Short Film, The Song. We have raised nearly $4,500. We are so close and thankful to all who have supported us thus far. We are starting another campaign on Indiegogo later this month because we have recently discovered that our shoot will take longer than originally expected resulting in overnights in Manzanar and the exorbitant costs of shooting in this National Park.

Our new campaign will be much different. For every $10 dollars raised on Indiegogo we will give $1 to the Manzanar National Historic Site towards rebuilding the barracks. Our goal is to raise $20,000. Many people will ask why they should not just give $10 just straight to the National Park. We actually would support this as well however we hope to be pioneers to virally share the message that Manzanar needs funding to rebuild the barracks.

In The Song, we wanted to film scenes were we could re-enact how the camps actually looked when the Japanese Americans were imprisoned there. We learned in our preproduction that in order for us to do that we will have to employ special effects to superimpose the look of barracks existing because after the war everything on the camps except for a few administration buildings was torn down.

Our intention is to educate and share the story of Manzanar through showing one family’s experience with their release and how the main protagonist attempted to connect to her sister in Hiroshima, Japan. As a backdrop of hope that the protagonist will be released and that she will one day connect again to her sister, Sachie, the protagonist sings a folk song to her son and newborn daughter. The folk song is Yuuyake Koyake and will be produced by two Los Angeles Music Producers, Scott Nagatani and Steve Mitchell.

We hope to inspire other future filmmakers to continue to make films about Manzanar because there are so many stories that are rich in value about the camp experience that have value to bring forward to the public. Not yet depicted much in cinema are stories about the orphanages at Manzanar, e.g. who were the orphans there; the story of Ralph Lazo, a Mexican American that was in Manzanar in an attempt to stay connected to his Japanese American friends; about the movie theater and what film culture existed there; what Japanese Americans had relationships with the US Army soldiers, how the Japanese/Japanese Americans were able to find work outside of the camps in order to gain their release, how sake was secretly produced under the mess hall, and what instances of rape or violence occurred at the camps.

Production of our film starts July 8. The film focuses on Sachie and Yoshizo (Jimmy) Yoshimura. These two unassuming, strong-willed, highly-principled human beings raised a family of 11 children who were imbued with their values and commitment to remember their Japanese heritage and to honor the family name. The script is based off a published story written by Yoshimi B. Golden, my mother. It is part of two other stories, Desert Birth, and High School Yearbook (available on the Manzanar Committee blog). Along the way, it has been wonderful to meet new friends who support our project. We thank everyone who has supported and continue to support us and we will continue to post updates about our production at

You can view a video detailing the film project below.

The views expressed in this story are those of the author, and are not necessarily those of the Manzanar Committee.

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2 Responses to You Can Help “The Song” Become A Reality During Final Days of KickStarter Fundraising Campaign

  1. Pingback: Short Story: June 1997: High School Yearbook | Manzanar Committee

  2. Pingback: Short Story: Desert Birth – June 1944 | Manzanar Committee

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