Esther Newman

Esther Newman grew up in California. After college and a career in marketing and media production for Ohio’s Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, she returned to school to study twentieth century American history. While in graduate school, she became interested in her family’s history which led to research on topics affecting the Japanese Diaspora including internment, migration and assimilation. She is retired but her interest in writing about and supporting organizations related to these subjects continues.

Updated November 2021

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Farewell to Manzanar—DVD Introduces Film to a New Generation

The Actors’ Perspective

Farewell to Manzanar, adapted from the memoir that Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston penned with her husband, James D. Houston, tells the story of the injustice suffered by 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II by focusing on a single family, the Wakatsukis, as seen through the eyes of seven year old Jeanne. It was directed by Oscar and Emmy award winning director, John Korty, and featured an almost entirely Japanese American cast and crew. Farewell to Manzanar had a profound impact on viewers when it was originally telecast on NBC in 1976 but the movie also had lasting effects on the actors…

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The Morey Family: A Self-Guided Walking Tour through Little Tokyo History

Four generations of the Morey family have been a part of Little Tokyo’s business community. Three generations of the Morey family have also been a part of the Japanese American National Museum, since its inception nearly thirty years ago. In fact, much of the Morey family history has taken place within a two-block stroll, west, from the Museum plaza. 1. Your tour starts on the broad steps of JANM’s 85,000 square-foot pavilion designed by Gyo Obata who is also principal architect of the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. 2. Walk west to the third door in the original Museu…

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Farewell to Manzanar—DVD Introduces Film to a New Generation

An interview with John Korty, director of "Farewell To Manzanar"

          “I was always out to change the world...”John Korty’s remarkable success in the film industry—an Oscar and two Emmys among numerous film awards—doesn’t mean he’s “gone Hollywood.” The director of Farewell to Manzanar has consistently chosen projects focused on themes of social justice from very early in his career. Anti-war activism, racism, the civil rights movement, and adoption of special needs children are just some of the issues Korty’s examined in film. Farewell to Manza…

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Farewell to Manzanar—DVD Introduces Film to a New Generation

Timeless and Timely

Nearly seventy years have passed since the first busload of Japanese Americans arrived at Manzanar, forced from their coastal California homes to spend the duration of World War II behind barbed wire and beneath the gaze of armed soldiers perched in perimeter guard towers. The incarceration of 120,000 American citizens and residents based solely on their Japanese ancestry is a painful chapter in U.S. history. Even now, it’s a subject about which many don’t know, others don’t want to know, and yet, more than ever, everyone needs to know. That’s what makes the release of…

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Henry and Helen Yasuda: Family Values, Nikkei Values - Part 2

Read Part 1 >>Only a few days after Henry and Helen’s wedding ceremony, Henry left for Korea where he was stationed for eight months before transfer back to headquarters in Tokyo. Helen joined him there. “The first chance we had,” said Henry, “I took her to Yamaguchi where my parents were still living and introduced her.” Helen drolly remarked, “you know how Japanese mothers size up their son’s wives.” “She took her through the whole village, introducing her,” replied Henry. “She had no other choice!” laughed Helen.…

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