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Press Release


February 2005

tel/fax: (415) 566-3487

From a Silk Cocoon accepted to the 23rd San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival

From a Silk Cocoon will make its World Premiere at the 23rd San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival in at the AMC Kabuki 8 Theatres in San Francisco’s Japantown, on March 14 at 6:30pm.

Woven through actual letters, diary entries and haiku poetry is the story of a young couple whose shattered dreams and forsaken loyalties lead them to renounce their American citizenship while held in separate prison camps during World War II. They struggle to prove their innocence and fight deportation during a time of wartime hysteria and racial profiling.

According to Taro Goto, the Film Festival’s Assistant Director, “. . . the issues of renunciation and loyalty resonate deeply with the current concerns over war and patriotism . . . a very important film . . .

Mark Halverson of Sacramento News & Review reviewed From a Silk Cocoon for the recently sold out sneak preview screening held at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento and wrote that From a Silk Cocoon “. . . offers a cautionary tale of homeland security. . . . compelling . . . stretches beyond the basic facts of the Japanese-American internment experience into the dark and thorny corners of a perceived “military necessity” that is just as frightening and relevant now as it was when it happened. . . . In intimate portrait of a family under siege.

Lawson Inada narrates, Lane Nishikawa and Megumi provide the voices of the young couple, and Masayuki Koga performs the original shakuhachi (bamboo flute) woven within Fred Meggs' musical score. From a Silk Cocoon is produced by the Emmy-nominated Hesono O Production team of Satsuki Ina (Executive Director/Co-Director), Stephen Holsapple (Co-Director/Editor), Emery Clay III (Director of Photography/Co-Director), and Kim Ina (Associate Producer/Outreach Coordinator). For more details about the production, visit our Web site at or email

Partial funding for From a Silk Cocoon was provided by the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program (CCLPEP).

Preceding the From a Silk Cocoon World Premiere is the 27-minute short film "Hidden Internment: The Art Shibayama Story," which explores another little-known aspect of the internment: the forced evacuation to the United States of over 2,000 Latin Americans of Japanese descent, mostly Japanese Peruvians.

Immediately following the From a Silk Cocoon screening, there will be a short Q&A with filmmakers at the theatre, and then guests will be invited to a free reception hosted by the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC), located 1.5 blocks from the theatre at 1840 Sutter Street. There refreshments will be served, and filmmakers will be available to answer further questions.

Tickets are $10 for general admission, and $8 for students/seniors 65+/disabled. To order/purchase tickets, call the JCCCNC at (415) 567-5505 (member prices available). Tickets are also available through TICKETS.COM online, by phone, and at their outlets (processing fees apply), through the AMC Kabuki 8 Festival Box Office at 1881 Post Street, and by mail and fax at the SFIAAFF Festival Box Office (ticket forms can be downloaded from:

The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 acknowledged the wrongs perpetrated against the Japanese Americans and, in doing so, has made it possible for the complexity of the incarceration experience of Japanese Americans to more fully come to light. Until now, very little has been included in the existing body of educational materials regarding the World War II internment experiences of the Kibei, second generation Japanese Americans who were partially educated in Japan and who often held dual citizenship, or the experiences of internees in the Department of Justice internment camps. The purpose of the From a Silk Cocoon documentary is to shed light on yet another group of Japanese American prisoners, who were considered as neither heroic nor courageous.

From a Silk Cocoon delves into the experience of a young Kibei couple, Shizuko and Itaru Ina, that responded to the loss of their civil liberties by renouncing their American citizenship during their 4½ -year internment, and committed their hope for their children for a better life in Japan. It is based on personal documents recently discovered by Dr. Satsuki Ina, the film producer and daughter of Shizuko and Itaru, that detail a daily accounting of life and private emotional upheaval during incarceration, separation, and reunification.

After three years of research and translation of letters, poetry, and diaries, along with graphic government documentation of her father’s imprisonment in Department of Justice camps and interviews with other Japanese speaking former internees, the puzzle pieces formed a disturbing disclosure of the unjustified treatment and suffering of her family and others who ultimately sought refuge from their imprisonment by declaring their loyalty to Japan.

In contrast to retrospective oral histories and second person historical accountings, this documentary provides a rare, first person narrative of events as they unfold, and presents the backdrop, emotions, and reasoning for the decisions made by this young couple. It is a story of shattered dreams, forsaken loyalties, and the precarious balance between democracy and national security.

According to Ina, “The story reveals the insidious trauma of war and the threat to individuals, citizens or immigrants, who have links to a country that is suddenly identified as the enemy. Imbued with traditional Japanese values, yet betrayed by the country of their birth, thousands of Kibeis were forced to struggle with an excruciating loyalty bind that cast upon them a life-long stigma of disloyalty and cowardice. Only now is the story of their dissidence and resistance made more clear.”

Ina adds, “From A Silk Cocoon tells the story of the frightening and tragic outcome resulting from the wartime hysteria and racial profiling that occurred in the name of ‘military necessity.’ Chilling similarities in government decision-making, euphemistic language, and suspension of constitutional and human rights in the name of national security are echoed in today’s post 9/11 America. This film puts a human face and heart to a historical incident that should never be forgotten, lest it be repeated again.”

“It is our hope that by sharing this story we will not only educate, but inspire and strengthen community commitment to live by our cherished democratic principles, especially in time of great social anxiety.”

POWERFUL. I was . . . impressed with the film's honesty with respect to renunciation issues. This is art on film . . . the poetry and narrative come together so perfectly . . . Bravo, bravo!- John Christgau, author, Enemies: World War II Alien Internment

. . . particularly compelling because it is personal and well-documented . . . not much is known about the 5,461 Japanese American internees who surrendered their citizenship in the camps.- Dixie Reid, Sacramento Bee

. . . touching . . . it’s important to see this film, because it’s a very personal experience. You see how a family was disrupted.” - Former Assemblyman George Nakano

To receive news and updates about From a Silk Cocoon television broadcast(s) and distribution release, send a blank email to For more information about From a Silk Cocoon, contact Kim Ina, Associate Producer/Outreach Coordinator, at For more information on corporate sponsorship of the television broadcast of From a Silk Cocoon, contact Satsuki Ina at (916) 452-3008 or at