[1] Wartime Documentary: Japanese Americans: Combining Historical Footage and Contemporary Interviews, Four Middle School Students Used Digital Video to Document the Japanese American Experience during World War II

By Davidson, Hall | Technology & Learning, November 2003 | Go to article overview

[1] Wartime Documentary: Japanese Americans: Combining Historical Footage and Contemporary Interviews, Four Middle School Students Used Digital Video to Document the Japanese American Experience during World War II


Davidson, Hall, Technology & Learning


There are 52 living Congressional Medal of Honor recipients from World War II. Four middle school boys, armed with camcorders, computers, and a mission for a History Day project, tracked down five of those medal recipients to tell their story.

The project began when the student team of Lester Pak, Joe Chen, Henry Priess, and Matthew Streshinsky realized that many people had never heard of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated Japanese American military unit that became, man for man, the most highly decorated unit in U.S. history. The students chose video as their medium to tell the story of the "Gaman Warriors" ("gaman" means "intestinal fortitude") because they felt it would be the most powerful way to showcase their primary source interviews.

The medal recipients interviewed by the students were "all of Japanese American ancestry, and all came from families in internment camps. The students also interviewed draft resisters from the camps, who exhibited a different kind of courage in their fight for the rights of Americans behind domestic barbed wire.

Under the guidance of teacher Maridean Mieres, the students researched over the course of an entire school year, using the Internet to find primary sources and pulling material from video and photo archives. They taped the interviews, then used Dazzle Digital Video Creator, MGI Videowave 4, and iMovie to combine the historical footage with their own material. …

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