The Ito Sisters: An American Story
Film - Documentary: Center for Japanese Studies | February 15 | 5-7 p.m. | Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, Multicultural Community Center
Antonia Grace Glenn, Director/Producer; Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley; Michael Omi, Associate Professor, UC Berkeley
Join us for a screening of the film "The Ito Sisters: An American Story," followed by Q&A with the Director/Producer Antonia Grace Glenn and Processor Evelyn Nakano Glenn and Michael Omi.
THE ITO SISTERS captures the rarely told stories of the earliest Japanese immigrants to the United States and their American-born children. In particular, the film focuses on the experiences of Issei (or immigrant) and Nisei (or first generation born in the US) women, whose voices have largely been excluded from American history. At the center of the film are three Nisei sisters: Natsuye (Nancy), Haruye (Lillian) and Hideko (Hedy), who were born on a farm in the Sacramento River Delta and whose lives were directly impacted by some of the most significant events of 20th-century America, from the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 to the Great Depression to World War II. The film also explores the lives of the women's parents, Yetsusaburo and Toku Ito, who came to the United States to earn money so they could return to Japan, but whose plans were repeatedly thwarted.
Featuring interviews with the three sisters -- conducted in their 80s and 90s -- the film is also brought to life through family and archival photographs and documents; verbatim quotes from prominent historical figures; commentary and analysis from renowned scholars; and artistic illustrations. THE ITO SISTERS reveals a little-known chapter of American history, focusing on life in what was essentially a California plantation system between the world wars, with Asian and Mexican laborers working the fields of white landowners. The film explores themes that remain timely today: the meaning of American identity and citizenship for immigrants and their children; and tensions between new Americans and anti-immigrant forces.