The Hawai‘i Japanese Center, in partnership with the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, will present two showings of the documentary film, “Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of Hawai‘i Island,” on Saturday, April 28, at the HJC in Hilo. The showings are scheduled for 11 a.m. and
The film is part of the JCCH’s four-part series on Hawai‘i’s World War II confinement sites, with each segment focusing on the internment history of a different island: O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island. The film explores the personal stories of the Japanese Americans on the Big Island — from their initial imprisonment at Kïlauea Military Camp, their transfer to O‘ahu, and their eventual incarceration in places like New Mexico, Arkansas and Arizona.
While the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II has been well documented on the U.S. mainland, much less is known about the confinement sites and stories of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i. The film also focuses on the modern day relevance of civil liberties and takes an archeological journey through the former World War II prison sites on Hawai‘i Island.
Each screening of the 25-minute mini-documentary will be followed by a question-and-answer session led by the film’s producer, JCCH president and executive director Carole Hayashino, and the film’s writer-director, Ryan Kawamoto, who was born and raised in Hilo. Also participating in the discussion will be Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura, integrated resources manager and archaeologist at the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, who will present additional historical information on Kïlauea Military Camp, which was the main internment site on the Big Island.
The program is free and open to the public. This project was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program. For more information, email: contact@
hawaiijapanesecenter.com, or call (808) 934-9611, Wednesday through Saturday, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.