A coming-of-age journey in the midst of war and bravery, Namba introduces us to May Namba, a Japanese American woman incarnated during WWII. It’s a portion of American history not often told.
We learn the story of May Namba, narrated by her granddaughter Miyako Namba. Beginning with the summer of 1941, she chronicles the bombing of Pearl Harbor and President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 that sent Japanese Americans to prison camps, and the impact it had on those Americans.
May was incarcerated in Minidoka, one of 10 such prison camps. We follow as May loses her job and her father is taken away.
In the film, May, Miyako and other members of the Namba family travel to the Minidoka site. Miyako struggles to walk May’s journey. She imagines what she would bring with her in the limited luggage allowed, makes a mattress of hay in a horse stall for a bed, and visits many of the locations that shaped May’s life.
May goes on to lead a life of service, working collaboratively to create community events and spaces for healing and justice. She mentors many local youths who go on to become the leaders they are today.
May Namba’s patriotism, resilience, perseverance, and leadership is an inspiration for us all.
This film was created for educational purposes only. Class activities and resources forthcoming.
created by EMILY HANAKO MOMOHARA
edited by EMILY HANAKO MOMOHARA + MIKA YATSUHASHI
sound by SIMON TAM + JOE X JIANG
color by JIM BAILEY
Starring: MAY NAMBA + MIYAKO NAMBA
Featuring: BILL TASHIMA, BIF BRIGMAN, NEIL KING, AAREN PURCELL, ANNA HOSTICA TAMURA, DR. TETSUDEN KASHIMA, JIM NAMBA, HANAKO WAKATSUKI CHONG
Cast: RHEE LIGHTNER, SAM HERBERS, ANDREA PHANTU, SPENCER WHITEHEAD
DURATION: aprox 45 minutes
HISTORIC FOOTAGE: Densho, National Archives, Library of Congress
HISTORIC PHOTOGRAPHS: Library of Congress, National Archives, Wing Luke Asian Art Museum
IMAGES OF MAY: Ryan Kozu, Emily Hanako Momohara, May Namba, Namba Family, Arlene Oki, Eugene Tagawa, Teresa Tamura