Film Spotlight on June Inuzuka’s “Dharma Road: A Personal Journey”

July 08, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As many of you know June Inuzuka is a documentary film maker in Denver Colorado and also happens to be my mother! She is the creator of the Asian American film “Dharma Road: A Personal Journey” which speaks on a number of different levels about how we remember our history, from large camps to the smallest rural town.  Its taken years of dedicated research and development to get to this point but the film has finally reached it’s shining completion and will be submitted to film festivals in the US this year. Amazingly, the whole family chipped in! Sam Dreskin illustrated an amazing poster,  Andrea Dreskin is the talented P.R. rep and I happened to create a small animation in the film.

It is the product of passion that was lucky enough to have June’s unique voice to unearth the story’s most intriguing features. The film is about June’s real life investigation of a lost ancestor who died in a coal mining accident somewhere in Wyoming around 1920. The realities of her findings are as poetic as they are unbelievably true and wrapped in a very attractive package to boot.

For updates and information please visit:

www.facebook.com/dharmaroad

 


“The vast majority of the Asians they enticed to the other side of the Pacific were young men in their prime working years, most of whom came without wives, parents, or children.  Abused and maligned, their deeds unsung, these men were an indispensable workforce that helped to build the American West.”  

 

 

 

—Sucheng Chan, Asian Americans, An Interpretive History

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1987 while sitting in her grandmother’s kitchen in Boyle Heights, California, June Inuzuka found out her grandmother had once had a brother, Hyasuke Yamasaki, who died in a coal mining accident in Wyoming between 1919-1925.  Grandma Umeko regretted never visiting his gravesite.  She didn’t know where it located in Wyoming.  The last time she saw Hyasuke was when he left Japan with their father for America in 1902.  She was two years old at the time.  It would be another seventeen years before she would be reunited with her father in the United States.  By then, Hyasuke was already in Wyoming working as a coal miner.  All Umeko remembered was her father leaving for Wyoming to bury her brother.  June and her grandmother were very close.  She didn’t know when or how, but she promised her grandmother that someday she would try to find Hyasuke for her. 

Twenty years later she got that opportunity when Reverend Kanya Okamoto, a Buddhist priest at the Denver Buddhist Temple, agreed to let her accompany him on his annual outreach trip through Wyoming.  In the summer of 2008, June, now a film student, embarked on a journey with Reverend Okamoto.  This trip through Wyomings small, Japanese communities would take her back to the days of 1900’s Wyoming and the heyday of the first transcontinental railroad built by immigrant labor.  In searching for her great uncle, she discovers the buried history of what were once Wyoming’s “Jap Towns,” the Japanese role in Wyoming becoming the first state to allow Asians into the United Mine Workers, and their participation in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.”

Please visit www.dharmaroad.net for more information 

Thank your for visiting, come back next week for more!

Fuji

 



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