An extended scene from the documentary series Oregon Experience. Watch the full film on OPB. Screening on KQED in Northern California and Idaho Public Television in fall 2019.

Produced by Nadine Jelsing for Oregon Public Broadcasting, and edited by Dan Evans, Oregon’s Japanese Americans: Beyond the Wire tells the story of Oregon’s once vibrant Japanese American community. Centered on Old Town in Portland, and in the orchards of the Hood River valley, the community endured growing racial hatred in the early 20th century. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Imperial Japanese forces, the Japanese American community was decimated by forced relocation to what President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called American concentration camps.

“It was mass guilt based on race.”

– Peggy Nagae, attorney for Minoru Yasui

Oregon’s Japanese Americans shows how the first generation of Japanese Americans, the Issei, laid down roots in Oregon, how the Issei and their children, the Nissei, survived the persecution of World War II, and how the Japanese American community recovered and fought for justice. It is a timely story of the dangers of allowing racial prejudice to drive public policy.

Oregon’s Japanese Americans: Beyond the Wire is a production of Oregon Public Broadcasting. Produced by Nadine Jelsing. Edited by Dan Evans. VP of Television Dave Davis.

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