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Films >> Come See the Paradise (1990) >>

1) Some people today seem to want to absolve themselves of the guilt of the internment by pointing out that these weren’t, after all, the savage death camps of World War II Germany, but the toll that the incarcerations took on families becomes clear in the movie. (Tom Matthews 42)

2) The rage that burns just beneath the surface of "Come See the Paradise" speaks eloquently to dreams of freedom that were lost and to love that survived. (Caryn James 42)

3) Their crime? Just that they happened to look like the enemy. (John Tateishi, qtd in Stewart 104)

4) Whatever you think of Parker's films they've never been boring. Toning down his usual hysteria may be an act of contrition, but why then was it necessary to tell the story once again from the vantage point of a white hero? (David Ansen 54)

5) “I set out to do an interracial love story, [Parker] says, “and that just happens to be the most significant thing that happened to that particular ethnic group, the fact that they were interned and they had their civil rights taken away from them. So I couldn’t just ignore it.” (Alan Parker qtd in Sara Frankel)

6) The same vast western spaces that had so inspired early landscape photographers now loomed beyond the fences, conjuring an entirely different set of emotions, among them isolation, fear, and bitterness. (Natasha Egan, qtd in Stewart 11)

7) When [U.S. war veterans] were overseas and expressed outrage over the shocking revelations of the Holocaust, the Europeans often taunted them by saying, “But look what you Americans did to your Japanese.” The veterans had no idea what their hosts were talking about. (Yamada, qtd. in Harth 39)

8) Having successfully persuaded many Americans that Japanese Americans were a threat to national security, [after the war] the U.S. government now faced the daunting task of convincing employers and landlords to hire and rent to former internees. (Karen J. Leong, qtd in Stewart 27)

9) We cannot tell you the damage done to our souls at the sight of the future facing us in those desolate desert surroundings. (John Tateishi, qtd in Stewart 107)

10) The reason I happen to choose difficult dramatic backgrounds is because I think they are the most interesting backgrounds for films that I want to do. . . . Sometimes, people get upset with me and do not appreciate the films for what they are because the arguments and the controversies sometimes take over. The whole movie could have been prior to December of 1941. And if I had done that, people would have said, ‘How could you possibly make a film at this period without bringing in the most traumatic thing that ever happened to these people?’ With subjects that are based in historical truth comes another layer of responsibility. And, therefore, they are examined on a totally different level, which is irritating at times.
(Alan Parker qtd in John Horn)

11) And the stoic heroism with which the impounded Japanese Americans behaved after their lives had been torn asunder and their property stolen from them must always remain a miracle of American history. (James A. Michener, qtd. in Weglyn 31)

12) Taken together, the Hopland, Turlock, and other [violent racial] incidents reinforced the Japanese immigrants’ reading of the 1924 Immigration Act. To them, the act came to symbolize not only their legal rejection by the United States, but also their persecution by lawless white elements. (Yuji Ichioka, Issei 251)

13) Are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the United States on combat duty, wherever ordered? (Application for Leave Clearance: Question 27)

14) The inappropriateness of putting such questions [ as numbers 27 and 28 from the Application for Leave Clearance] to incarcerated enemy aliens or to women seems not to have occurred to anyone in the WRA until after the first questionnaires had been distributed. (Roger Daniels, “Prisoners” 69)

15) That night, as I listened to Daddy's fatigued but resolute voice, my understanding of the meaning of American citizenship became as solid as the book lying on his desk. By the light of the lamp shining on that well-used American history book, America and its ideals were eloquently explained to me by an immigrant, a wartime "enemy alien," a concentration camp internee, the husband of a renunciant of her American citizenship -- my father. (George Takei 108)

16) We dare celebrate the Fourth of July even in this place [of Pinedale Assembly Center, California] because we complied with the evacuation order to show our patriotism to this nation. Others are showing their patriotism in other ways. Unfortunately ours had to take this form of expression. Nevertheless, our being here is no less an evidence of our loyalty to the USA than going to war is with others. So it is as loyal citizens of the USA that we are going to celebrate the Fourth of July. What then should follow this celebration? What is our future as loyal citizens of this great nation? Time will show what great things are expected of us. Let us therefore take heed lest we should deteriorate while we are in this state of temporary custody. (Daisuke Kitagawa 68)

17) You were made to feel apologetic, almost, about complaining of our “treatment.” But I do remember being annoyed during one of these discussions by a remark, “Well, at least YOU weren’t gassed or anything.” (Yamada, qtd. in Harth 49)

18) Yeah, if you’re a prisoner in a concentration camp at seven years old, you think everybody is. (Mako Nakagawa, qtd. in Fugita 47)

19) I remember very vividly the three of us sitting on the train, carrying my mother’s ashes. And what we discussed, that's all I could remember, not where we would live or what we would do, but what we were going to eat. And we were hoping that it would be breakfast so that we could have waffles and ham and eggs and that kind of thing. So we went to a Japanese cafe on Jackson Street called Jackson Cafe and had our first meal as free people. (Chizuko Norton, qtd. in Fugita 105)

20) If I’m honest with you, it’s important for (Japanese-Americans) to like it. . . . It’s important that you see I didn’t cheat. I might not get it right, as you might not with any film, but from the point of view where my heart is, you can’t but see that my heart is with that (Japanese) family (in the film). Not a day went by that I didn’t agonize that I got it right. When you go through an experience like “Mississippi Burning” and the aftermath and the controversy, it would be very foolish of me not to become more sensitive to what I’m doing and what it means to people. (Alan Parker qtd in Renee Tawa)

21) We are all orphans psychologically, confused; cluttered up with our past, with the past of our immigrant parents; afflicted with our faces --all of which, of course, involves also America, which, cluttered up with her own past, thinks she is still the America of a hundred or fifty years ago, when the great majority of people here were Anglo-Saxon Americans. (Louis Adamic, qtd. in Ichioka, Before 139)

22) Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of American and faithfully defend the United States from any or all attack by foreign or domestic forces, and foreswear any form of allegiance to the Japanese emperor, to any other foreign government, power or organization? (Application for Leave Clearance: Question 28)

23) But what will become of the Nisei . . . if in the process of becoming Good Americans we are objects of unjustifiable and humiliating racial prejudice and discrimination? (Uno, qtd. in Ichioka, Before”162))

24) [Regarding the draft of Nisei in 1944] Why should we fight for the United States Government as soldiers, when the United States government distrusts us? Why do they now want us to serve when they consider us to be disloyal? Why do they want us to serve when they have taken us out of our homes and schools and businesses? (Chuman, qtd. in Gordon and Okihiro 73)

25) All this bristly armament [around Tule Lake] was positioned to keep imprisoned a people who had been goaded into outrage by a government blinded by hysteria. Half of the 18,000 internees in Camp Tule Lake were children like me. (George Takei 47)

26) [The title comes] from a poem by the Russian writer Anna Ahkmatova -- a poem that inspired Parker, he said, to compose his own poem in order “to try and say what I’d hoped the film would say.” His poem reads: We all dream our American dreams / When we’re awake and when we sleep / So much hope that grief belies / Far beyond the lies and sighs / Because dreams are free / And so are we / Come see the Paradise. (David Baron)

27) There’s so much going on around the edges of the story that Parker couldn’t have hoped, even in the 2 1/4 hours he takes, to dramatize all of his story’s ramifications. (Ed Blank)

28) If this sounds like a film with incredible impact, it could have been. But the film is frustrating because it wanders around a huge terrain of social messages without ever focusing. (Janis Froelich)

29) Asian-Americans are demanding more roles in mainstream movies and on Broadway, but when they get them, they simply end up perpetuating ethnic stereotypes, a professor of drama says. “If they want to be in the mainstream, they have to understand that they are acting in complicity with stereotypes,” says James Moy, an associate professor of theater and drama at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (Floyd Takeuchi)

30) I wanted to do an interracial love story. . . . I decided on Japanese-Americans because it was a very dramatic period of American history that hadn’t been told. (Alan Parker qtd in Renee Tawa)

31) The internment of Japanese-Americans in prison camps during the outbreak of America’s involvement in World War II is one of the saddest chapters in this nation’s history. Finally, a film has been made about it. Unfortunately, Alan Parker made it. (Michael MacCambridge)

32) The film is important as a footnote to history but could have developed into a full chapter with a different focus. (Bob Polunsky)

33) In the course of the movie’s longish 133 minutes, the strangest thing happens: Parker shies away from his subject. (David Lyman)

34) Feb. 1, 1991: Civil liberties groups express concern that the FBI is calling on Americans of Arab descent, checking to see that they are not subject to harassment as a result of the Persian Gulf War. Feb. 19, 1942: The FBI, in response to Executive Order No. 9066, starts calling on American citizens of Japanese descent, telling them that they must sell their possessions and report to train stations. (Jeff Millar)

35) This richly detailed movie is less an attack on government-sponsored bigotry than it is a sorrowful, almost matter-of-fact chronicle of the social injustice that is so much a part of this country’s history. (Joe Baltake)

36) When the movie follows the father’s death . . . with cute stuff . . . what world are we in? That of TV docudrama, where everything is balanced and softened. (David Elliott)

37) In a sense, “Come See the Paradise” is about a paradise lost and a promise revoked. (Eleanor Ringel)

38) [Regarding Parker’s version of a Japanese American family] The Kawamura family has made a comfortable middle-class life for themselves. . . . It’s pretty much Andy Hardy time with a few Far East touches. (M. Scot Skinner)

39) For a movie that works hard at setting up departures, reunions and reconciliations, “Come See the Paradise” is much less moving than it means to be. It never quite transcends its own emotional distance.
(Ed Blank)

40) [With the new film] I was writing a story from scratch myself, so I could tell the story exactly as I wanted to. With “Mississippi Burning,” I tried to politicize a story that was already set, and therein was the difficulty. (Alan Parker qtd in Renee Tawa)

41) This film is a well-meaning history lesson that fails to come fully to life. (Dennis King)

42) These were not death camps to which the Kawamuras had been sent, but enormous damage was done. It was not our country’s finest hour. And now is a good time to be reminded of this. (Jeff Millar)

43) Parker is very careful to make the Kawamuras as American as possible (Lily’s two older brothers are hepcats). It’s as if he’s afraid that anything Old World would alienate us. (Joe Baltake)

44) Hollywood should be applauded for shedding light on this disgraceful chapter in American history. The issues it raises are especially timely now, considering the current sentiments of some Americans toward the Iraqi people. Another unjust roundup is not out of the question. (M. Scot Skinner)

45) “I’m quite proud of the fact that I wrote a good part for an Asian American woman,” [Parker] says. “The only roles they usually get to play are hookers in B movies, or maybe waitresses. I mean, no one had written a part like that for someone like Tamlyn.” (Alan Parker qtd in Sara Frankel)

46) When elementary school teacher Aki Kurose told colleagues she planned to attend a preview of “Come See the Paradise,” a new film depicting the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, one of them said, “Oh, Aki, can’t you just forget that?” (Joe Haberstroh)

47) “When we got on the bus [that would take them from Seattle to the temporary camp], no one said a word,” she said. “It was absolute silence. But I saw the tears on my mother’s face. It was the only time I saw her cry.” (Tama qtd in Robert Seidenberg)

48) I think Jack’s character eventually reflects a Japanese-like quality in accepting the situation and persevering with what you’ve got. He learns that he should try at least, that there’s no guarantee that he is going to just ride in on a horse and sweep everybody off their feet and get them the hell out of there. (Tomita qtd in Robert Seidenberg)

49) Parker doesn’t know whether to make a film about the U.S. government’s incarceration of Japanese citizens during World War II or the gritty life of an outspoken union organizer or a cross-cultural romance. So he makes all three. (Candice Russell)

50) As inextricably identified as I am now with soaring galactic voyages, to a boy in Los Angeles more than fifty years ago, gazing up to the stars and dreaming, the idea would have been the sheerest of fantasies. For that Japanese American boy and his family were on another, quite different, journey. Their world was collapsing around them in a chaos of cataclysmic events. I was that boy. And my personal journey began in the turmoil of World War II. (George Takei 7)

51) Parker the director . . . fills the movie with his own rage against injustice. . . . But Parker the writer seems bent on sabotaging his director at every opportunity. (Michael Wilmington)

52) The best sequences are the ones that focus on the Japanese-Americans and their bewilderment at their sudden loss of status in a land they have embraced as their own. (Michael Mills)

53) It seems the writer-director was hit with a classic Hollywood dilemma: should he make a film about an oppressed minority, focusing entirely on the minority, thus making a powerful, honest, but not especially commercial film? Or should he plop a white U.S. movie star in the middle of the project, diluting its impact but increasing the box office? (Jack Garner)

54) When we brought [the film extras] in from Los Angeles, the first time they saw the camp there were a lot of very, very, very tearful people because coming through the gates to do the film was not dissimilar from when they got off the buses and came to the original camps in 1942. So, you know, I -- I was obviously moved by that and -- and in a way gratified to think we’d got it right, you know. (Alan Parker, NPR)

55) In his ambitious reach for epic sweep, [Parker] may have heaped too much injustice into one film.
(Douglas Armstrong)

56) Parker conveniently gets rid of all the Kawamura men, so that only Caucasian Jack is left to support the family. (Joe Baltake)

57) There is educational value here (if you can stay awake for it). According to former prisoners who have seen the movie, the depiction of life in the camps is accurate. (M. Scot Skinner)

58) [Tamlyn Tomita, after reading about the internment in elementary school] So I went home and asked my father, “Did this really happen? Were you guys interned?” And he goes, “Yes,” and it shocked the hell out of me. (Tomita qtd in Robert Seidenberg)

59) “Some of the guys I’ve worked with in Alaska or in the Midwest have said, ‘Chuck, I heard you guys had to go to camps -- is that true?’ said Kato, a retired civil engineer. “Some of them just did not know what the hell was happening." (Kato qtd in Joe Haberstroh)

60) This is a democratic society, not a fascist society. . . . And here these people’s civil rights and freedom were taken away for racial reasons. That’s the tragedy. . . . I find it extraordinary this subject hasn’t been tackled (on film) until now. (Alan Parker qtd in Edward Guthmann)

61) Too bad that Parker couldn’t have simply focused on the Kawamura family. There is a powerful sense of what it means to be a first-born and second-born generation Japanese living in the United States -- feeling the hard arm of official prejudice. (Candice Russell)

62) I wish Parker’s extremely dull movie had more than rudimentary educational value. (Robert Denerstein)

63) It looks splendid . . . But, like “Mississippi Burning,” this is a seriously flawed film even though its accuracy seems incontestable. (Joan E. Vadeboncoeur)

64) Parker . . . treats the Kawamuras as politely as in-laws he’s meeting for the first time. In 1936, when we first see them in Little Tokyo, father, mother, and their six children are so happy and unified, they make Cliff and Clair Huxtable look dysfunctional. (Kristi Turnquist)

65) There was no way, Parker said, that he was going to be accused again of taking artistic license with history for the sake of dramatic embellishment. That meant no detail in “Come See the Paradise” -- from chopsticks to cups -- escaped Parker’s eye. And hundreds of Japanese-Americans gave Parker their input on the film. (Renee Tawa)

66) “Come See the Paradise” shows that many of the imprisoned Japanese were born and raised in the United States, and were as “American” as John Wayne. (Gary Thompson)

67) “I thought it (the movie) was very good, because they covered a segment of Asian-American history that people don’t know about. It was also very touching and sentimental in terms of the romance covered. I didn’t think the romance part was as convincing as the historical part. I think they just put it in there to make people attracted to the movie and Dennis Quaid. Overall, I think the history part of it was really good.” Sharon Fong, 23 student, Santa Ana. (Jeff Niesel)

68) “Most people are pretty ignorant of it -- it’s not the kind of thing that’s taught in schools very thoroughly,” Parker said of the internment. “The perception might be that these were Japanese aliens in the United States who were rounded up and put in camps. I don’t think many people realize that 50 percent of them were Nisei -- American-born and, therefore, American citizens.” (John Horn)

69) Of the 110,000 stories that could have been told about the unconscionable internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, director Alan Parker chose to make a movie of a situation that did not exist. (T.T. Nhu)

70) “You’re always judged by a different set of rules when you get into this (political) area of film making,” [Parker] said. “With 99 percent of the films that get made, no one gives a damn whether they’re accurate or not because they’re not dealing with a serious subject.” (Alan Parker qtd in Edward Guthmann)

71) “You have to get an audience in to see the movie,” said Tetsuden Kashima, director of Asian American Studies at the University of Washington. “And there aren’t that many Japanese-American actors who have the drawing power of a Dennis Quaid.” (Kashima qtd in Joe Haberstroh)

72) Parker’s film may serve as a cautionary tale now that the United States is in another war and Americans struggle with another kind of ethnic prejudice. (Candice Russell)

73) [Paradise] is a story sadly rooted in still-recent history, and also one that hopefully offers lessons today as U.S. residents sort out their feelings about other residents who happen to be Arab-American. (Jack Garner)

74) [Discussing criticism of “Mississippi Burning”] It’s an argument that comes from minority groups which is part of this political correctness which we’re all bound by. But it’s what I call inverted racism, and quite frankly, you get sick of it because I think it’s -- it’s pretentious and politically narrow in its thinking.
(Alan Parker, NPR)

75) All of us wore numbered identification tags attached with soft wire firmly twisted into our clothes. I was number 12832-C. (George Takei 11)

76) Parker has so little faith that a general audience would care about watching Japanese-Americans that he turns a piquant story of civil-rights abuses into a bland interracial romance. (Carrie Rickey)

77) Parker’s most acute problem is a lack of conviction that a story about the indignities and imprisonment foisted on innocent Japanese-Americans could sustain an entire film. (Joan E. Vadeboncoeur)

78) Nothing on the silver screen perishes faster than good intentions. (Gary Thompson)

79) I have always wondered why the people who call themselves “American” most loudly are often the ones with the least understanding of the freedoms that word should represent. (Roger Ebert)

80) Did Parker make “Come See the Paradise” to educate the American public about a once-forgotten tragedy? “I suppose one is pleased to put something down . . . that educates, so that maybe it won’t happen again,” Parker said. “But I really don’t want to be didactic. It’s not my job to tell Americans about their own history.” (Alan Parker qtd in Edward Guthmann)

81) British director Alan Parker has come to the United States to make movies dramatizing our greatest national failures. . . . In the sarcastically named “Come See the Paradise,” he proposes to lecture us about U.S. internment of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans during World War II. (David Klinghoffer)

82) “The shower and latrine scenes were disturbing and real to me,” said [Aki] Kurose. “We all lost our sense of privacy for a couple of years, all stuck together. It was very powerful.” (Kurose qtd in Joe Haberstroh)

83) “Oh, it exaggerated some,” a middle-aged Nisei told me as we left the theatre, “and tried to do too much. The suffering that it showed in the camps was only a little of the suffering that went on.” (T.T. Nhu)

84) Parker says in the press notes that he was inspired to make “Come See the Paradise” by a Dorothea Lange photograph showing a Japanese man sitting with his two grandchildren in San Francisco in 1941, awaiting deportation and internment. “As with all great photographs,” Parker says, “the story behind the stares demands to be told.” (Kristi Turnquist)

85) The main problem with the film is that it starts off as a teary-eyed love story and ends up being something else. (William Arnold)

86) Steven Okazaki’s hour-long, Oscar-nominated 1985 documentary, “Unfinished Business,” was packed with similar information, and Okazaki’s interviews with real survivors of the camps had an impact that this romanticized film lacks. (John Hartl)

87) “I felt like I was reliving those times again as I viewed the film,” said Harold Harada, who was a prisoner in Poston, Ariz. (John Horn)

88) “He was in shock,” Tomita said of her co-star’s (Dennis Quaid’s) reaction. “He did not realize this chapter in history had occurred. He vaguely, vaguely remembered it in junior high school. He was raised in Houston, Texas, and said this is a story most middle Americans don’t know about.” (Renee Tawa)

89) Lillian Kato . . . owned figurines that represented the Japanese emperor, empress and the other members of the court. The ceremonial dolls usually were displayed on Girls’ Day and Boys’ Day, Japanese holidays honoring children. “I had a whole set of them, and they (her parents) burned them,” she recalled. “I feel the loss now because I would love to have passed them on to my children.” (Kato qtd in Joe Haberstroh)

90) “I get a little fed up,” [Parker] says of the complaints about historical verisimilitude in “Mississippi Burning.” “I’m not here to teach American history lessons -- I just choose the subjects because they’re interesting backgrounds in which to set dramas.” (Alan Parker qtd in Sara Frankel)

91) “Even though the movie was flawed, I’m glad it was made,” said Noriko Bridges, the widow of labor leader Harry Bridges. “Most people know so little about what happened to Japanese-Americans and why it happened during the war that this kind of movie brings the subject to the forefront and stops the denial.” (T.T. Nhu)

92) “Come See the Paradise” is a fable to remind us of how easily we can surrender our liberties, and how much we need them. (Roger Ebert)

93) There’s a great movie epic to be made about Japanese-American internment camps in World War II, ditto for one about the U.S. labor movement during the Depression. The ironically titled “Come See the Paradise” is neither. (Mike Clark)

94) Japanese-Americans “don’t say much, because, for one thing, they were on a guilt trip,” said Chuck Kato, who was active in the efforts on the redress issue. “They asked, ‘Why were we put in the camp? We must have done something wrong.” (Kato qtd in Joe Haberstroh)

95) If I’m honest with myself I must have felt subconsciously that there was some sort of unfinished business with regard to my tackling a particular subject and making sure that I got it right. (Alan Parker qtd in John Horn)

96) Except for some subtle metaphors . . . “Come See the Paradise” does not give enough attention to the forces that fueled internment: war hysteria, racial prejudice and a failure of political leadership. “That’s all in there, but only if you know the real story,” Kashima said. (Kashima qtd in Joe Haberstroh)

97) With a research assistant helping find reference materials on the internment, Parker spent two months poring over more than 50 books, a box of videotapes and an assortment of newspaper and magazine articles. With two file folders bulging with notes, he then set out to write the screenplay. (John Horn)

98) A quarter of a million of the flower of our young manhood is worth a couple of Japanese cities. (Harry Truman, qtd in Walker 5)

99) The whole scheme of things in Tokyo does not make for an assurance of non-aggression in the future. (Franklin Roosevelt, qtd. in Robinson, Order 48)

100) Parker believes the main reason his films have attracted criticism in they’re among the few that tackle overtly political issues. “It’s the sheer lack of serious or political films,” he says. “They’re always considered like some bloody election platform. . . . I’ll tell you something, you have to be pretty resilient when you go into this area. You certainly don’t get any praise for being courageous.” (Alan Parker qtd in Sara Frankel)

101) The failure of "Paradise" was due, in part, to the fact that it dealt with issues too close to home. (Floyd Takeuchi)

102) If Parker had been content to focus on [the emotional havoc the prison camps wreaked upon the internees], he could have made a movie that would have left the viewers’ blood boiling. Instead he summons yawns as he moves away from very real violations of human rights to a fluffy love story. (Jeff Strickler)

103) Though [the Nisei interviewed] quibbled with some of the film’s details - - it’s profanity-laced script is not the language of the Nisei, they point out -- they found it deeply evocative of their own experiences. (Joe Haberstroh)

104) Although Parker interviewed 3,000 veterans of the camps, someone somewhere will find some minor error with which to brand the whole film invalid. (Marshall Fine)

105) Sometimes the line between patriotism and chauvinism blurs. (Terry Orme)

106) I didn’t make the -- their [Japanese-Americans] film; I made my film. I started with a love story, and a love story is what I wanted to tell. That’s my film. I didn’t set out to do a definitive story of the internment of Japanese-Americans. They might have wanted that, and they might have made that. They didn’t; I did. If it didn’t fit in with your Japanese friends’ lives, then they automatically don’t see it as something that -- that -- that they might have done. But this is what I did, you know. So I can’t tell everybody’s story. A hundred and ten thousand people were interned, and there were 119,000 different stories. This is just one. (Alan Parker, NPR)

107) What surprised me most about my visit to Manzanar was the immediacy of the experience. Although the landscape had been abandoned for fifty years, the presence of ten thousand internees was unmistakable. (Todd Stewart 3)

108) The incarceration of Japanese Americans is a nasty story. And it’s one that we must continue to retell, for even after the publicized national redress movement of the 1980’s, after sixty years’ worth of documents, histories, art, literature, media coverage, film, and video on the subject, the American public is still largely uninformed. (Erica Harth 1)

109) For Tamlyn Tomita, the young actress who plays Lily, it was the second time this history reared its ugly head. . . . “My father and father’s family were interned at Manzanar, during the war years, so it’s always been a part of my legacy,” says Tomita, who was born in Okinawa and raised in Los Angeles. (Robert Seidenberg)

110) “I always object to the word ‘manipulative,’” [Parker] says. “If you think that Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcock weren’t manipulative -- that’s what film is. Films have always been melodramatic, too -- it has always been larger than life, ever since somebody decided to make the screen 40 feet wide. Life is real, life can touch you, life can physically punch you on the nose, and it hurts. Film doesn’t, film is one-dimensional. It’s a chunk of celluloid that flickers up there, and it has to work on a totally different level. So there has to be manipulation and melodrama -- how could there not be?” (Alan Parker qtd in Sara Frankel)

111) This ambitious epic about the internment of Japanese-Americans in detention camps during World War II nails the myriad injustices of that era, but it fails to give textured dramatic life to its characters.
(Dennis King)

112) “Come See the Paradise" is a fable to remind us of how easily we can surrender our liberties, and how much we need them. (Roger Ebert)

113) It is the story of people who are punished for the crime of looking different, people who lost their rights, their status as citizens and their dignity or what little dignity this country let them have to begin with. And to draw us in, Parker has designed it less as an epic about the persecution of a minority than as a drama about the dissolution of one family. (Joe Baltake)

114) Going from the barbed wire confinement, monotony, and confusion of the internment camps to this explosive activity and bewildering variety [of downtown Los Angeles] was a revelation. I may have been born here, but I had no recollection of any of this. It was all so new. I felt like an alien in my own hometown. (George Takei 69)

115) On Parker’s office bulletin board is a photograph that helped inspire him before he wrote the story and throughout the film. It’s a haunting Dorothea Lange portrait of a Japanese man and his two grandchildren sadly awaiting internment in San Francisco in 1941. During the filming, he cast a woman who showed him a copy of the same picture -- “This is a photograph of my father, uncle and great-grandfather,” she said, to Parker’s amazement. (Renee Tawa)

116) Could such internments happen again? Yes, they say. Listen to the whisperings about Iraqis in the United States, they say. The conflict with Iraq could trigger such imprisonments, some believe. “Even when Iran had all of our hostages,” said [Chuck] Kato, “people were talking about rounding up all the Iranians.” (Joe Haberstroh)

117) It’s not [Parker’s] problem, he says, that no American filmmaker has tackled the subject. “So I’m suddenly responsible for telling the entire story of the internment of Japanese-Americans -- as if it’s my fault that no one ever touched it before or had the guts to do it,” he says indignantly. (Alan Parker qtd in Sara Frankel)

118) During recess one afternoon, Mrs. Rugen [Takei's fourth grade teacher] was standing chatting with another teacher. I was playing close enough to hear them talking, but I wasn't really paying attention. Then something Mrs. Rugen said shot out at me like a bullet. She referred to me as "that little Jap boy." I felt shock, pain, rage, and shame all at the same time. Those words stung me more than any of the other hurtful things she had done to me. But I found myself looking away from Mrs. Rugen, pretending I hadn't heard her. I just contained that terrible hot feeling inside. To this day, it angers me that I looked away. I didn't speak up. I swallowed my hurt. (George Takei 92)

119) The Nisei . . . found himself caught between the two Americas -- the one of his parents’ dream and the one in which he was to live. (Daisuke Kitagawa 22)

120) Even with all the mental anguish and struggle, an elemental instinct bound us to this soil. Here we were born, here we wanted to live. We had tasted of its freedom and learned of its brave hopes for a democracy. It was too late, much too late for us to turn back. (Monica Itoi Sone 124)

121) Those were days [in and around 1917] of such intense anti-Asian sentiment, there were billboards bearing signs that read, "Japs, don't let the sun shine on you here. Keep moving." (Yoshiko Uchida 4)

122) Because I was a person of Japanese ancestry, and especially because the judge had ruled that I was an "enemy alien," the jailers decided to keep me in isolation. . . . At first the guards would not let me out long enough to take a bath or to get a haircut or shave. At the end of several months, I was stinking dirty, although I tried to wash myself in the wash-basin with rags. (Minoru Yasui qtd in John Tateishi 81)

123) We were already familiar with social and economic discrimination, but now we learned what it was to be afraid because of our Japanese faces. We tried to go on living as normally as possible, behaving as other American citizens. Most Nisei had never been to Japan. The United States of America was our only country, and we were totally loyal to it. (Yoshiko Uchida 53)