DVD Days of Waiting

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When Estelle Peck Ishigo followed her Japanese-American husband into an internment camp during World War II—one of the few Caucasians to do so—she created a legacy of works that live on as a painful reminder of one of America's darkest periods, and as a testament to an extraordinary woman who refused to give in to prejudice and injustice.

Through vivid use of Ishigo's own memoirs, photos, and paintings, as well as historic film footage of the Japanese-American internment, Steven Okazaki's Days of Waiting, winner of both an Academy Award and Peabody Award, recreates the shattering experience of relocation from an "outsider's" perspective.

Estelle married Arthur Ishigo despite the fact that interracial marriages were illegal in California. Thirteen years later, in 1941, the Ishigos and some 110,000 Japanese-Americans, most U.S. citizens, were placed under "protective arrest." Estelle and Arthur spent more than three years living in two relocation camps, the first in Pomona, Calif., the second at Heart Mountain, Wyo.

When he was introduced to Estelle's works, Steven Okazaki, a filmmaker committed to reclaiming Asian American history, learned that she was ailing in a convalescent hospital. Unwilling to accept the hospital director's claim that she was insane, Okazaki persevered, and as he suspected, found her heavily medicated but able to comprehend what he wanted. "I've been waiting for someone to tell my story to," she said. "Then I can die."

28 minutes