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HR:442 Nisei Veterans and the Fight for Civil Liberties Exhibition @ Go For Broke

*Honored to have worked on this project. If you’re in LA, please come check out the show when it opens (August 4)

THE JAPANESE AMERICAN REDRESS MOVEMENT AND SOCIAL JUSTICE TODAY: THIRTY YEARS OF THE CIVIL LIBERTIES ACT OF 1988
Japanese American National Museum, Go For Broke National Education Center to Explore Civil Rights, Role of Nisei Veterans in Redress in New Exhibitions; Original Civil Liberties Act of 1988 from National Archives to Be Displayed

LOS ANGELES (July 25, 2018)- The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) today announced new and expanded exhibitions that will explore social justice, due process and the role of Japanese American World War II veterans in the redress movement as the nation marks the 30th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. The landmark Act, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on Aug. 10, 1988, provided a formal government apology and monetary reparations to survivors among the approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated without due process during World War II.

JANM’s “Common Ground: The Heart of Community” exhibition, which chronicles more than 130 years of Japanese American history, will unveil a newly expanded final section that further explores the unprecedented social and political campaign for the Civil Liberties Act and the historic accomplishments of the redress movement. As part of the opening celebration, two original pages of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, on loan from the National Archives in Washington, D.C., will be on display from Aug. 4 to Sept. 23, 2018. These will include the page with the signatures of President Reagan, Representative Norman Y. Mineta, and Senator Spark Matsunaga. (Mineta subsequently served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Transportation.)

On Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, at 2 p.m., JANM and GFBNEC will present “Reaffirmed Commitment: A Conversation with Norman Y. Mineta.” The program will feature Mineta, who, along with Sens. Matsunaga and Daniel K. Inouye, was a driving force behind the redress bill; and Dr. Mitchell T. Maki, GFBNEC President and Chief Executive Officer and co-author of the book “Achieving the Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress.” For more information, please visit www.janm.org. RSVPs for this program are strongly encouraged; click here. Admission to JANM and the program on Aug. 4 is pay-what-you-wish. JANM is located at 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012.

In a complementary exhibition, GFBNEC will host “H.R. 442: ,” from Aug. 4 to Sept. 16, 2018. The exhibition will explore the role of Japanese American WWII veterans in the fight for redress. Despite rampant discrimination and the incarceration of many of the soldiers’ families, the Nisei veterans’ selfless bravery became the moral foundation upon which the redress movement was built. Grant Ujifusa, a key player in the Japanese American Citizens League’s campaign to support redress, put it simply: “No Nisei soldier, no redress.” The special “H.R. 442” exhibition will be included with pay-what-you-wish admission to GFBNEC’s “Defining Courage” exhibition located in the historic Nishi Hongwanji building (now JANM’s historic building) at 355 E. First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. For more information, please visit www.goforbroke.org.

Additionally, on Aug. 10-the anniversary of the actual signing date of the Act-JANM will again be pay-what-you-wish and will host an afternoon of reunion, reconnection and reaffirmation of its commitment to democracy and justice. JANM President and Chief Executive Officer Ann Burroughs, GFBNEC’s Maki, and an additional special guest will speak. Attendees will have the opportunity to pledge their ongoing personal commitments to civil liberties by signing a Commitment Banner. Group photos of those involved in the redress movement will be taken. RSVPs are strongly encouraged at www.janm.org.

“Thirty years after the historic achievement of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, the United States government is once again engaging in deeply unfair and discriminatory practices. But unlike the 1940s, when virtually no one stood up against the government’s reprehensible treatment of Japanese Americans, today JANM and others across the country are standing with those who are now the targets of prejudice, discrimination and exclusion,” Burroughs said. “Our commemoration of the Civil Liberties Act in August is the prime opportunity to remind the American people and our leaders of the grave injustices of the 1940s and of how easily the tragic lessons of the past are ignored when policy is determined by the politics of bigotry and discrimination.”

Maki of GFBNEC noted that the Japanese American redress movement has strong relevance in today’s political climate. “The redress movement reminds us that we must remain vigilant in protecting Constitutional rights for all, including equal justice under the law and due process,” Maki said. “As President Reagan said in signing the act into law in 1988, ‘For here we admit a wrong; here we reaffirm our commitment as a nation to equal justice under the law…. The ideal of liberty and justice for all-that is still the American way.'”

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Note to Media: “Go For Broke” was the motto of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated Army unit composed of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland. The term was Hawaiian slang for “shooting the works,” or risking everything for the big win in gambling-as the Nisei soldiers did while fighting in the field in WWII and facing prejudice at home in the U.S.

About the Japanese American National Museum
Established in 1985, the Japanese American National Museum promotes understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. Located in the historic Little Tokyo district of downtown Los Angeles, JANM is a hybrid institution that straddles traditional museum categories and strives to provide a voice for Japanese Americans as well as a forum that enables all people to explore their own heritage and culture. Since opening to the public, JANM has presented nearly 80 exhibitions onsite and traveled 20 of its exhibitions to locations around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Ellis Island Museum in the United States, and several leading cultural museums in Japan and South America. The museum’s core exhibition, Common Ground: The Heart of Community, chronicles 130 years of Japanese American history, from the early days of the Issei pioneers through the World War II incarceration to the present.

About Go For Broke National Education Center
Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation that educates the public on the valor of Japanese American veterans of World War II and their contributions to democracy. Our goal is to inspire new generations to embody the Nisei veterans’ core values of courage, sacrifice, equality, humility and patriotism. Founded in 1989, GFBNEC maintains the Go For Broke monument and the interactive “Defining Courage” exhibition in downtown Los Angeles, as well as extensive oral histories and archives, education and training programs, and other initiatives. For more information, please visit www.goforbroke.org.

About the National Archives
The National Archives is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. These holdings contain photos, videos, and records that chronicle the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, including records of the War Relocation Authority and photos taken by Dorothea Lange of the internment camps. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and online.

Media Contacts:

Pauline Yoshihashi
Strategic Communications
Director of Marketing and Communications
For GFBNEC
323-683-8191
pyoshihashi@earthlink.net
Leslie Unger
Director of Marketing and Communications
Japanese American National Museum
213-830-5690
lunger@janm.org
Miriam Kleiman
Public and Media Communications
National Archives, Washington, D.C.
202-357-5300
public.affairs@nara.gov

 

Announcing my newest project: Santa Vs. Zombies

Super excited to announce my newest feature film and graphic novel: Santa Vs. Zombies.

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Santa Vs. Zombies
Written by: Dr. John Mayer and Koji Steven Sakai
Produced by: Koji Steven Sakai, Ray Ellington, Motion Pictures Media Group, and Dr. John Mayer

Santa’s having a mid-life crisis. He hates his job and wishes he was doing anything else other than being Santa. He’s just going through the motions, and that’s why he doesn’t notice the zombie apocalypse until it’s almost too late. Saved by two kids, he tries to get back to the North Pole…only to discover that his reindeer have been eaten.

On the run and just trying to survive, Santa befriends the kids and falls in love with their recently-divorced mother. Soon Santa rediscovers his Christmas spirit and does everything he can to save Christmas for the kids – even if it means risking his own life.

To keep up with the project go to: www.santavszombiesfilm.com/

And be sure to follow us on:

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First Asian American Stand Up Series  Comedy InvAsian  Being Produced By Viva Pictures and To Stream Exclusively on Hulu on August 1st

First Asian American Stand Up Series 

Comedy InvAsian 

Being Produced By Viva Pictures and

To Stream Exclusively on Hulu on August 1st

Los Angeles (July 6, 2018) — Viva Pictures has sold the first Asian American stand up series, Comedy InvAsian, to Hulu.  The show’s first season will stream in North America on August 1, 2018.  The deal was negotiated by Viva’s topper Victor Elizalde, also producer of Comedy InvAsian alongside Koji Steven Sakai and Quentin Lee.

 Created by Koji Steven Sakai and (also directed by) Quentin Lee, Comedy InvAsian features the nation’s top and unique Asian American comedians each performing a one-hour special.

 The first season features veteran Laugh Factory comedian and Kollaboration founder Paul Kim, young Japanese American comedian Atsuko Okatsuka (Comedy Central Asia, Disoriented Comedy, Laughing Skull Comedy Festival), gay Chinese Canadian Broadway Musical Youtube sensation Kevin Yee (Mary Poppins Broadway, Blue Whale Comedy Festival, Quincy Jones’ boy band Youth Asylum), veteran Filipino American comedian Joey Guila (Showtime, Filipino Kingz of Comedy Tour), transgender Vietnamese American comedian Robin Tran and veteran Japanese American comedian and actress Amy Hill (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Great Indoors, All American Girl).

“We are extremely thrilled to be launching this series and are pleased that Hulu understands the impact of the show,” commented Elizalde.  “We look forward to the success of Comedy InvAsian and to creating more targeted programming reaching wider audiences.”

About Viva Pictures

Viva Pictures Distribution, LLC. is an independent film distribution company offering a wide variety of channels for its partners. Led by entertainment industry veteran, Victor Elizalde, Viva Pictures is a leading distributor that understands and focuses on the needs of the independent producer.  The company is ideally positioned for creating a new, modern distribution model leveraging innovative technology and existing relationships with key retailer and rental channels on par with major studios.  Recent releases include Ozzy featuring Jeff Foxworthy and Frankie Quinones, The Monkey King: Hero is Back featuring Jackie Chan and Monster Family starring Jason Isaacs, Emily Watson, and Nick Frost.  For more information, visit http://www.vivafilmco.com.

#comedyinvAsian

California Civil Liberties Grant: 442

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Excited to announce that I was one of the 25 California groups that got the California Civil Liberties grant. With their support, we will be able to print physical copies of the 442 graphic novel (that I co-wrote with Phinny Kiyomura and that Rob Sato drew). Some of the copies will be donated to libraries, students, educators, and schools around the state and some will be made available for sale. We are hoping that by printing the graphic novel more people will find out about the heroism of the WWII Nisei vets and about incarceration.

Here is the official description of our project from the press release:

Visual Communications Media (fiscal sponsor), 442 Community Project
The team behind the creation of the digital graphic novel 442 will print physical copies of the work. The storyline of both the online and print version is of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up entirely of Japanese Americans and the most decorated unit of World War II.The project 442 centers on the 442’s most famous battle: The Rescue of the Lost Battalion. The copies of the graphic novel will be made available to schools, libraries, teachers and students throughout California. In addition, the authors and artist will lead public talks about the 442 and the incarceration experience to help bring awareness of that part of history.

You can read the rest of the press release here:  http://www.library.ca.gov/Content/pdf/pressreleases/CivilLibertiesGrantees2017-18PRESS-RELEASE.pdf

Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies re-released on Amazon Kindle

As many of you know, the company that published Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies went out of business. Many of asked where they can buy R&JVZ. I’ve decided to put it up on Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or free if you have Kindle unlimited.

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about… more info about my book below.

Buy it now on Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or get it free if you with Kindle Unlimited.

RJZ_bookfinal

“Fun mix of zombies, famous literary characters, and humor. Do you remember slogging through Shakespeare plays in high school? Romeo and Juliet is the least boring one to study. Montagues and Capulets hate each other. Their family feud causes violence in Verona. In Mr. Sakai’s book, a plague on both their houses turns star-crossed lovers into fighters. Juliet is a badass warrior like Brienne of Tarth. Romeo is a delicate flower, but mans up to battle the undead. I would love to see this on film.” Amazon Review.

Romeo and Juliet Vs. Zombies
“Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we raise our dead.”

Romeo — the only heir to the Montague name, a socialite who dreams of making a name for himself as a playwright and the consummate lover; he seems just as famous for his kissing skills as he is infamous for his inability to do much of anything else.

Juliet — Capulet heiress, born soldier; in most every way, the precise opposite of Romeo. She’s spent her entire life trying to find some way out of her insufferable life as a noblewoman, and so far she’s had precious little luck.

When a black plague breaks out in the city of Verona, these two feuding families are met with far more trouble than a mere feud, no matter how longstanding and bloody that feud has been. In this grim reimagining of Shakespeare’s most famous tragic romance, Romeo and Juliet must form an unlikely alliance if they ever intend to survive being overrun by a horde of ravenous, flesh-seeking un-dead.

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