Typhoon of Steel, a 19-minute video released on 7 May 2013, was directed by Gena S. Hamamoto with support from the Center for Ethno Communications of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and many other sources that are listed at the end of the video. Here’s a brief introduction provided by Hamamoto:
Typhoon of Steel is a short community-based documentary film that explores the lives of two Okinawan American Kibei Nisei [Frank Seiyu Higashi and Takejiro Higa] who served in the U.S. military as linguists in the Battle of Okinawa during World War II. [The formation of this top secret Military Intelligence Service, or MIS, was suggested by Sergeant Tom Ige.] While Japanese Americans on the West Coast were incarcerated in camps, these men risked their lives to prove their loyalty to America. Born in the U.S. and raised in Okinawa, their cultural and linguistic skills were a tactical asset to the military. But emotions ran high as they saved their own families, and witnessed civilian casualties and the devastation of the island they once called home.
The following is a brief bio of Hamamoto:
Gena is an independent filmmaker and media arts educator. From incarcerated youth to Bangladeshi high school students living in Koreatown to senior filmmakers, Gena has had the pleasure and privilege of working for media programs with diverse communities of all ages and skill levels throughout Los Angeles. She discovered community-based filmmaking as a graduate student in the UCLA Center for EthnoCommunications program, where she currently works as Assistant Director. She produced her first feature narrative film, The Crumbles, which is currently being distributed on Amazon and Vimeo On Demand.
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