Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cinematize "Dear Miss Breed"!

I remember there were comments on the Internet that said "let's make Dear Miss Breed' a movie like "99 Years of Love - Japanese Americans"! It sounds like a great idea. It could be a joint Japan-U.S. production. (I'm attaching one of the comments below, which is in Japanese). The '99 years of Love - Japanese Americans' was a five-episode TV drama (Episodes – 1: America; 2: Generations; 3: Concentration Camp; 4: Japanese American Regiment; and 5: Reunion) in 2010, produced by Tokyo Broadcasting Station (TBS) commemorating its 60th Anniversary. The mini-series won the Grand Prix Prize at the 2011 Tokyo Drama Awards. The locations used were Seattle, Washington, Los Angeles and Manzanar in California. Broadcast in Japan, reportedly 20 million Japanese tuned in and saw it evoking many emotions. That's one fifth of the population and from that, I assumed that most Japanese knew where Manzanar was, as the film shows the beauty of its wilderness, and the awesome snow covered Mt. Williamson mountain range.

Written by Sugako Hashida, who created her 'war and peace' chronicle, this love story depicts a story of a family of Japanese immigrants who moved to America 99 years ago. When World War II breaks out, the family encounters racism and segregation. The two daughters, who were sent back respectively to Hiroshima and Okinawa, experience the suffering from the Atomic Bomb and Okinawa disasters. The eldest son, Ichiro, joins the 442nd and is killed in Europe.

The last reunion scene takes place at Safeco Field ballpark where survivors including the brother, sister, and nephew (second son and daughter who was sent to Okinawa and their nephew, Ichiro's son) are reunited.

If made into a movie "Dear Miss Breed" would surely be a hit in both Japan and the U.S. I feel strongly that the day may come when an inspired Japanese American film student becomes motivated to make this happen, perhaps supported by a successful Japanese American business tycoon.

In fact, there was a daring attempt to dramatize 'Dear Miss Breed' in 2007. After receiving a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program through the California State Library, San Diego City Library asked the author, Joanne Oppenheim, to create a stage version. The resulting play was performed at the San Diego Lyceum Theater for two weeks in September 2007. It was produced by Andy Lowe, a playwright with the Asian Story Theater. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to see it but my San Diego friend reported that it was a great play worthy of the book, mixed with drama, humor and laughter. I obtained the script from Joanne and contacted several school drama departments, all in vain to date. I asked Joanne if there had been any further attempts at stage production in the U.S. but the answer was sadly no. I recently found a YouTube video excerpt of the play. Please enjoy.

Cinematize "Dear Miss Breed" comment:


クララ・ブリードさんの話を映画化してほしい。。 ブリードさんは南カリフォルニアのサン・ディエゴ市の若い図書館司書 でした。第二次大戦中、強制収容された日系二世、三世の子供たちに、 本をはじめ様々な物を贈り続けました。子供たちは手紙を書きブリード さんは返事を出し続けました。

TBSドラマ「99年の愛 Japanese Americans」でも、マンザナの 収容所の子どもたちが描かれていましたね。各地の収容所内で、日系人 たちは、自分たちで学校を作って子供たちに教育を続けさせました。 ブリードさんの本も、きっと、子どもたちをどんなに支えたことでしょう。

ブリードさんは、戦後も、図書館勤務を続け、館長になりました。 戦争中の勇気ある愛の行いについて、ご自分では何にもおっしゃらなか ったそうです。でもお葬式にはたくさんの日系人が参列したとか。

「親愛なるブリードさま」(柏書房)(今村亮・訳)は2008年に 日本で翻訳が出版されました。原作は“Dear Miss Breed”(ジョアンヌ・ オッペンハイム、2006年)です。

その本は、日本人とアメリカ人にとって、貴重な歴史資料であり、興味 深いドキュメンタリーであり、心温まるドラマがたくさん潜んでいます。 日米合作の映画になりえます。私のイチオシです。

※翻訳本の在庫が断裁処分されるそうです。惜しいです。 あなたの近くの図書館にあるかどうか、確かめてみてください。

1 comment:

rio imamura said...

I was one of the 20 million people who watched 99 Years of Love. Judging by the video of the stage production of Dear Miss Breed, it would also be a hit.
Judith Johnson

Thank you, Judith. Your comment encouraged me. rio