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Rabbit in the Moon 1999
Description: Like many Japanese Americans released from WWII internment camps, the young Omori sisters did their greatest to erase the memories and scars of life under confinement. Fifty years soon acclaimed filmmaker Emiko Omori asks her older sister and another detainees to reflect on the private and political consequences of internment. From the exuberant recollections of a typical teenager, to the simmering rage of citizens forced to sign loyalty oaths, Omori renders a poetic and illuminating picture of a deeply troubling chapter in American history.
Released: 01 Jan 1999 Director: Emiko Omori Writers: Emiko Omori Actors: Emiko Omori, Chizuko Omori, Frank Emi, Aiko Yoshinaga-Herzig Genres: Documentary, Biography, History
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Rabbit in the Moon Reviews:

This film was a true eye-opener to the racism and hysteria caused by Pearl Harbor. I was unaware of Japanese internments detrimental results on Japanese-American culture until this film. Forced into internment camps, some of which were on Native American "reserved" lands, they were striped of all of their livelihood. Japanese-Americans lives were utterly disrupted shredding the fibers of their economic, social, and family help structures and mind you without any credible evidence of Japanese-American espionage. Not until some 50 years soon under the Regan administration were efforts taken by the U.S. government to right this wrong. This movie is tactfully directed and portrays an untold storyline of diminished Japanese-American culture in the U.S.


Japanese Americans may have received reparations from damages incurred during WWII but the happenings of the camp are long lasting, as shown in this movie. What an eye opener this film is. I had thought that the JACL (Japanese American Citizen's League) was an organization that stood for the rights for Japanese Americans but from the film it seems the group was hardly representative of the people. The clips from old news reels produced by the government showed the wonderful effort that was place into making the general public trust that the camps consisted of "model homes" and that the prisoners were "evacuees" and that the Japanese folks believed Uncle Sam to be a type "master." The film could be watched by all who want to understand the power the government and the media has over history. It teaches folks that history is owned and what we trust is real is oftentimes what we are allowed to trust is true. The only criticism that I have is that I want there was a possibility for members of the JACL to justify or refute what was told about them in the movie.


Rabbit In The Moon, which I saw at the 1999 SXSW Movie Festival but which also aired on PBS, is Emiko Omori's elegiac documentary/memory trip about Japanese "internment camps" during Globe Fight II in America. These were, of course, concentration camps, but the internees were ashamed at the time to test the words, because of the inevitable connotations they bring up. Simultaneously, Rabbit In The Moon examines both the general impact of these camps upon Japanese and Japanese-Americans (there really is a significant difference) and the specific impact upon Emiko Omori's family. Omori (who served as assistant cameraman on other elegiac film, Barbara Sonnebaum's Regret To Inform) interviews her family and another former internees. She's obviously making this film for herself, rather than for her audience, which is the challenge for the audience. Compelling interviews and old propaganda footage will only receive you so far, and after a while, attending somebody's self-exorcism gets a wee bit boring. Still, an necessary documentary, one of a very several on the subject.



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