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History and Memory: For Akiko & Takashige

About the Film
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During WWII, after the US was bombed by the Japanese in Pearl Harbor, the US government ‘relocated’ Japanese Americans living in the US seizing their property and houses. Japanese American director Rea Tajiri recalls her parents experiences during internment through personal and cultural memories. History and Memory is a film that, through traces and fragments of images and poetry, unravels a history of memories that were denied and distorted by the official history that America presented through Hollywood motion pictures and film footage.

-Kim Seon-A, 12th International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul

Poster Image: 
Film Director: 
Production Info
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Filmmaking Team
Writer's Name: 
Rea Tajiri
Rea Tajiri
George, Rea Tajiri
Primary Cast: 
Sokhi Wagner, Noel Shaw
Exhibition/Distribution Info
Women Make Movies
Where to find it/How to get it: 
Direct from Distributor
  • Whitney Biennial  (1991, World Premiere, Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association)
  • San Francisco International Film Festival (1992, Special Jury Prize: "New Visions Category").
  • Atlanta Film and Video Festival (1992, "Best Experimental Video”).
  •  Named as one of the Top 100 American Films by Women Directors, Spring 2008 Mediascape (UCLA’s Journal of Media Studies).
  • Fukuoka Asian Film Festival (1998, Grand Prix – Strawberry Fields)
Personal Film Review and Cultural Context: 

Rea Tajiri’s History & Memory: For Akiko & Takashige provides a haunting account of the Japanese-American experience after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Crosscutting historical, personal, and found-footage, Tajiri juxtaposes various accounts of the Japanese American internment calling to question whose story has most often been heard. Having screened in over 250 venues around the world since its 1991 Whitney Biennial premiere, History & Memory, one of Tajiri’s first video art productions, is now considered a staple for courses on Asian Independent cinema. Through intimate interviews with previously interned family members, Tajiri complicates the relationship between historical memory and cinematic representations. This intricate manipulation of perception and perspective engages with the theoretical in a visual way, bringing forth a stunning examination of untold histories and silenced voices.  Currently in development on a new dramatic fiction project, Venus’ Celestial Beauty, and completing post-production on an experimental short, Bridge, Tajiri continues to explore the interplay between social history and personal memory.

-Kate Elliott

  • Deirdre Boyle: “History and Memory: On Visual Media and the Collective Memory of the Japanese American Internment”
  • Kathleen Hulser, “Film Reviews—History & Memory directed by Rea Tajiri”, The American Historical Review, 1142.
  • Robert M. Payne, “History and Memory: Who’s Going to Pay for These Donuts, Anyway? Visions of Silence” Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 67-76.