Toyo's Camera: Japanese American History during WWII


A Chapter of History through Toyo Miyatake's Lens!
What stories do distinguished photographers Ansel Adams and Edward Weston and Toyo Miyatake's photographs portray?


Knowledge of the internment of Japanese-Americans following the attack on Pearl Harbor remains surprisingly low in America and Japan.

Even though bringing in cameras to the internment camps was prohibited, one man managed to smuggle in his own camera lens and build a camera to document life behind barbed wires, with the help of other craftsmen in the camp. That man was Toyo Miyatake, a successful issei (first generation immigrant) photographer and owner of a photo-shop in the Los Angeles Little Tokyo district, and of one of the many Americans who was interned with his family against his will. With his makeshift camera, Miyatake captured the dire conditions of life in the camps during World War II as well as the resilient spirit of his companions, many of whom were American citizens who went on to fight for their country overseas. Miyatake said, "It is my duty to record the facts, as a photographer, so that this kind of thing should never happen again." Suzuki's documentary carries on the legacy of Miyatake's photography, addressing the historical context of the internment as well as the stories of other Japanese-Americans who were touched by this unfortunate chapter in American history.


Special Features
Short Animation
   "Japanese-American History of Racial Descrimination"
Japanese Subtitled Version

Film Info

  • Actors: Toyo Miyatake, George Takei, George Aratani, Tetsu Asato, Masafumi Fukagawa
  • Directors: Junichi Suzuki
  • Producers: Junichi Suzuki, Erica Jones, Haruhiko Kanazawa, Hiroshi Hayashida, Masao Ohshima
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Passion River
  • DVD Release Date: January 5, 2010
  • Run Time: 98 minutes