With Honors Denied
One of the darker aspects of recent American history is the detention of Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II.  They were detained only because they looked different.  There was no rationale why these American born citizen should be suspected of spying on America.  It was just a convenient thing to do.  It still evokes many bitter memories from surviving internees.  The surprising aspect about With Honors Denied is that director Mimi Gan, who co-wrote the story Jim Dever, manage to personalize the story in such a way that minimalizes many of the negatives feelings, and highlights some of the other things that came out it.  With Honors Denied is a powerful short documentary, and Gan presents a highly emotional story in a very informative manner.

Much of this focuses on Yukiko Kubo Shiogi, a second generation Japanese (Nisei).  Shiogi was unlike the quiet, timid stereotype that people had of Asian women.  She was loud, popular, active in her high school student government, and getting ready to give her speech as Valedictorian at her high school graduation.  Pearl Harbor changed this.  Shiogi and the other Japanese students were sent to internment camps, close enough so that their friends could bike to visit them. The rapport with the guards was good, and the guards didn't know why they were there.  Her entire life was thrown into turmoil.  Any future she had was now in jeopardy.

Shiogi met her husband there, and as years moved on, didn't really talk about her experiences.  The viewer gets to see the world through Gan's eyes.  She is still lively and has a friendly, open personality. She never got to do something as simple as graduating high school. This teenage rite of passage was denied her for reasons that were clearly wrong.  In 2002, Shiogi's son came up with an idea that would help his mother finally graduate from high school.  It is moving and highly emotional, and clearly affected everybody involved.  With Honors Denied was narrated by George Takei (Noon Blue Apples, Mulan), who, as a child, also spent time in internment camps.  One can only imagine what these people when through.  Gan and Dever do a marvelous job of showing the full range of quickly and efficiently giving a short history about Japanese interment, Shiogi, and the wonderful resolution that came about.
Gerf Rates It: Really Good.
15 minutes, Not Rated but would be a PG, possibly a G.

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