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Farewell to Manzanar (1976)

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, seven-year-old Jeanne Wakatsuki, her family and 11,000 other Americans of Japanese descent and their immigrant parents are imprisoned in the internment camp Manzanar in California.


John Korty


James D. Houston (book), James D. Houston (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Yuki Shimoda ... Ko Wakatsuki
Nobu McCarthy ... Misa / Jeanne Wakatsuki
Dori Takeshita Dori Takeshita ... Young Jeanne
Akemi Kikumura Akemi Kikumura ... Koro
Clyde Kusatsu ... Teddy Wakatsuki
Mako ... Fukimoto
Pat Morita ... Zenahiro
James Saito ... Richard Wakatsuki
Momo Yashima ... Alice
Gretchen Corbett ... Lois
Kip Niven ... Captain Curtis
Lou Frizzell Lou Frizzell ... Lou Frizzell
Frank Abe Frank Abe ... Frank Nishi
Vernon Kato Vernon Kato ... Calvin
Seth Sakai Seth Sakai ... Joe Takahashi


Fact based drama about one of the internment camps used by the American military during World War II to detain some 100,000 Japanese Americans (most of them U.S. born) following Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. Written by Eugene Kim <genekim@concentric.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | War







Release Date:

11 March 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Abschied von Manzanar See more »

Filming Locations:

Point Richmond, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Featured in Slaying the Dragon (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

Overview of locations; over-long discussion of euphemistic language
18 October 2009 | by pahana_kapSee all my reviews

This film is quite faithful to Jeanne Houston's book "Farewell to Manzanar." It is also quite typical of 1970's made for TV films. The technical quality, lighting, costumes, and make-up definitely date this film. The trucking shots of the camp are over laughable models by today FX standards and reminiscent of 1950 SciFi movies. The exterior locations for this film are of historical interest. The "modern" (circa 1970's) exterior scenes of the Houston family revisiting the Manzanar Camp site are actually filmed at the Manzanar Site in the Owens Valley long before the camp became a National Historic Site. The "1940's" exterior scenes of Manzanar Camp were actually filmed at the site of the Tule Lake Relocation Camp in Northern California (recently dedicated as a National Historic Site in the summer of 2009). As for the discussion of concentration camps. Initially both FDR and the military initially referred to these places as "concentration camps." The term is technically appropriate. The term was initially coined during the Boer War at the turn of the 20th century in South Africa. The New Oxford Dictionary defines concentration camp as: "a camp where non-combatants of a district are accommodated, such as those instituted by Lord Kitchner during the South African War of 1899-1902." At that time the British forcefully removed the civilian Boer population from the frontier and placed them in guarded "concentration camps." "Internment camp" is a confusing term because, in its 20th century context, it refers to a facility to hold political opponents and enemy aliens. Over 60% of the people of Japanese ancestry held camps like Manzanar and Tule Lake were American citizens. The problem is one of euphemistic language. The Nazi "concentration camps" in Europe went well beyond the traditional description of concentration camps and should more appropriately be called "death camps," "forced labor camps," and "extermination camps." From the outset of the forced removal of people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast, there were many elements in the US government that suspected this process was illegal and unconstitutional (this suspicion was confirmed by the findings of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians in the 1980's). As a result of these suspicions, both the military and the US government began a propaganda campaign in 1942 to "legitimize" the removal of people of Japanese Ancestry from the West Coast. The military and government (the War Relocation Authority) propaganda films of this era are rife with euphemistic language, as are documents and reports of this period. Thus we are left with an official government record that speaks of "voluntary evacuation," "assembly centers," "relocation camps," and "residents" of the camps. Perhaps one of the most insidious uses of euphemistic language of the period appears on all of the 106 "Civilian Exclusion Orders" posters plastered on telephone poles and in public places up and down the west Coast. The order directs "all persons of Japanese ancestry, both alien and non-alien" to leave their homes. What is a "non-alien?" How would it look if the military was ordering "American citizens" from their homes? The film "Remembering Manzanar" portrays, as does Jeanne Houston's book, the injury and pain associated with the forced removal of 120,000 people Japanese ancestry from the West Coast and the subsequent incarceration of 110,000 of these people. This film also shows these people of Japanese ancestry as typical humans with strengths and weaknesses and helps dispel the myth of a "model minority" who displayed super-human composure and turned "concentration camps" into "happy camps."

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