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.
Video and audio excerpts of oral histories from Japanese Americans and Chicagoans
Images of several newspaper clippings and government documents
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.
Full Spectrum Features NFP
Reina Higashitani and Eugene Sun Park
Eugene Sun Park
Jason Matsumoto, Yuki Sakamoto Solomon, Reina Higashitani
Ashley Cheyemi McNeil, PhD
Jasmine Alinder, PhD · UC Santa Cruz
Sarah Sheya · JusticexDesign
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
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