A black and white still image shows a young teenage girl peering out from behind a rack of clothes. A title in the center reads: RESETTLEMENT: CHICAGO STORY


Resettlement: Chicago Story follows the Yamamato family – Mary, Kimiye, and Sam – as they adjust to life in postwar Chicago after being unjustly incarcerated by the U.S. government during WWII. The Yamamotos were among 120,000 people of Japanese descent imprisoned during the war solely because of their ancestry, without due process or regard for citizenship rights.

When the war was almost over, the U.S. government permitted the Yamamotos to leave the concentration camp. But instead of letting them return home to the West Coast, the government “resettled” them to Chicago and demanded they reject their Japanese language, culture, and traditions.

Resettlement brings learners into 1950 Chicago. After Mary gets suspended from a school for causing trouble with another student, her chance of going to a dance contest now depends on her mother, Kimiye’s, decision. In order to win her mother’s favor, Mary helps run the family’s struggling dry cleaning business. When a customer’s clothing goes missing, she has to come up with a plan to save face for the family.

Primary sources

Historical photographs

Video and audio excerpts of oral histories from Japanese Americans and Chicagoans

Images of several newspaper clippings and government documents

About the Project

Following the award-winning educational model developed through The Orange Story, Resettlement: Chicago Story is a cinematic digital history project that explores one Japanese American family's experience of rebuilding their lives in Chicago after they were released from the incarceration camps in WWII. The cinematic digital history project consists of a narrative short film and an immersive educational website for learners of all ages who are interested in post-WWII U.S. history.

Utilizing the power of cinematic storytelling, the educational website builds upon both the characters and historical themes of incarceration and resettlement introduced in the film. The film functions to create emotional investment in the characters and the time period and builds the world for the website, which provides the context of the historical period through primary and secondary sources carefully curated by a team of historians. Resettlement: Chicago Story is aimed towards 6-12th grade students but is easily adaptable to other grade levels and the general public.



National Council on Public History (2018) - Outstanding Public History Project: Honorable Mention
Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival (2017) - Best Lead Actor
IndieWorks (2017) - Silver Whiskers Award
Tribute Film Festival (2017) - Best Historical Short
Boston Asian American Film Festival (2017) - Best Short Narrative
Chicago Feminist Film Festival (2017) - Audience Choice Award: Best Fiction
HYART Film Festival (2017) - Best Heritage Short Film
Show Me Justice Film Festival (2017) - Audience Favorite: Short Film
Thin Line (2017) - Best Short: Panavision Prize
Riverside International Film Festival (2017) - Audience Favorite: Historical Short

Educators’ Reviews

The Orange Story is a very effective tool and is a reminder that storytelling is one of the most effective ways to teach history. Watching the story evoked student empathy, one of my goals as a teacher.”
Craig Blackman, High School Teacher
The Orange Story is exactly how I want to teach history! I want to use personal stories to help teach about the past and I want to include stories of people that historically have been left out. Thank you so much.”
Melissa Politan, 11th Grade Teacher, US History


Film & Website produced by:

Full Spectrum Features NFP

Film Directed by:

Reina Higashitani

Screenplay by:

Reina Higashitani and Eugene Sun Park

Executive Producer:

Eugene Sun Park

Film Producers:

Jason Matsumoto, Yuki Sakamoto Solomon, Reina Higashitani

Web and Impact Producer:

Katherine Nagasawa

Project Management and Development:

Ashley Cheyemi McNeil, PhD

site Design and Production:

auut studio

Lead Academic Advisor and Content Curator:

Jasmine Alinder, PhD · UC Santa Cruz

Curriculum specialist:

Sarah Sheya · JusticexDesign


Clara Bergamini

Patrick Hall

Educational Advisory Board:

Lisa Doi · PhD candidate & Chapter President, JACL Chicago

Mary Doi, PhD · Board member, Chicago Japanese American Historical Society

Patrick Hall · PhD candidate & High School teacher

Jacalyn Harden, PhD, LPC · Race relations scholar & Family Counselor

Mas Hashimoto · Retired HS teacher, community elder, former Poston incarceree

Kristen Hayashi, PhD · Collections Manager, Japanese American National Museum

Matt Lauterbach · UX designer and accessibility specialist

Emma Saito Lincoln · Legacy Center Director, Japanese American Service Committee

Erik Matsunaga · Chicago-based historian and journalist

Jean Mishima · President, Chicago Japanese American Historical Society

Alice Murata, PhD · Professor & Co-founder, Chicago Japanese American Historical Society

Brian Niiya · Content Director, Densho

Stephanie Nishimoto Lorenzo · Middle school teacher, Francis W. Parker School

Meredith Oda, PhD · Associate Chair & Associate Professor of History, University of Nevada

Ting-Yi Oei · Education Director, 1882 Foundation

Beth Seltzer, PhD · Educational Technology Designer, Stanford University


logo of the National Park Service in the shape of an arrowheadseal of the US Department of the Interior

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

This material received Federal financial assistance for the preservation and interpretation of U.S. confinement sites where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability or age in its federally funded assisted projects. If you believe you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to:

Office of Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240