Skip to comments.San Pedro Cancels "Tora, Tora, Tora" because it might offend Japanese-Americans (Barf Alert)
Posted on 11/12/2002 2:12:37 PM PST by FreedomCalls
Mixed feelings over San Pedro film event
NO SHOW: Insensitivity to Japanese-Americans is cited. Vets are stunned.
By Donna Littlejohn DAILY BREEZE
It was going to be a night to remember. Ushers dressed in World War II military uniforms, vintage cars pulling up to the curb, Pearl Harbor survivors and a recently restored 1940s military searchlight would be on hand Dec. 7 to greet the crowds at a special anniversary showing of Tora! Tora! Tora! at San Pedros historic Warner Grand Theatre.
The 1970 film a joint American and Japanese production is considered one of the most accurate depictions of events leading up to the 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Expected to attract hundreds, the showing on the 61st anniversary of the attack was to serve as a fund-raiser for the Fort MacArthur Military Museum in San Pedro.
But now the show is off.
Why? Veterans and museum members say its simply a case of political correctness run amok.
While there was a previous theater booking for Dec. 7, according to theater manager Lee Sweet of the citys Department of Cultural Affairs, which manages the facility, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn concluded that the event would have been insensitive to the Japanese-American community.
I wanted to be very sensitive to the Japanese-American community, Hahn said. Dec. 7 is a tough day, especially for the second and third generations of Japanese-Americans. Why do we want to do something that makes it more difficult? The showing was planned this year to take the place of the Fort MacArthur Military Museums annual Pearl Harbor Day observance.
With World War II veterans passing from the scene or becoming too frail to attend the shrinking ceremony each year, volunteers were looking for a way to reach the wider community with their story.
Volunteer Bob Meza, an NBC engineer, said Warner Grand personnel initially told him no print of the film was available. Through his industry connections, though, Meza was able to get a print from a private collector for the special showing on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day, at the 1930s-era movie theater in downtown San Pedro.
But objections from the city soon followed, Meza said, including liability concerns and then worries that the projection equipment wasnt adequate.
Those were all resolved by volunteers, who agreed to carry the insurance for the film.
After that, volunteers said, city officials told them two weeks ago that the event couldnt be held because it might be offensive to members of the Japanese-American community.
Hahn, who was asked to intervene on the museums behalf to show the film on Dec. 7, said that after talking with Japanese-American friends, including state Assemblyman George Nakano, D-Torrance, she agreed with the citys concerns.
Sweet said he didnt suggest the movie would be insensitive. He said it was because the theater already had something happening that day.
The city, as far as Im aware, is not in the business of censorship, he said. The date was booked.
The theater, he said, originally was going to show the film Boys Town but now has set aside that night for Mayor James Hahns community holiday party. Volunteers contend the date was open according to the theaters Web site.
Next year (on Dec. 7) is open and as far as Im concerned, the first yell gets it, Sweet said, inviting the group to reapply.
Hahn said she was told by the city that there was a previous booking for Dec. 7 this year. But Sweet also told her he had concerns about the sensitivity issue, Hahn said.
Seeking another venue
Museum volunteers, who already had begun printing invitations, are now scrambling to find another venue to show the film.
The citys made their decision, said Joe Janesic, vice president of the volunteer board of directors at the museum. The association isnt insensitive to the Japanese-American community. This is simply the best movie on the subject.
In fact, Tora! Tora! Tora! was criticized by some as being sympathetic to the Japanese position when it was released 32 years ago. The movie was co-produced by American and Japanese directors and attempted to tell the story of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in a documentary fashion from both sides.
Volunteers said a Japanese-American newspaper in Los Angeles expressed support for the screening, saying relatives of many of the films extras would like an opportunity to see it.
Its a G-rated movie, Janesic said. They show it in high schools and colleges to teach history.
Veterans, he said, are up in arms over the citys refusal.
Ive had a lot of calls from VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) people who were looking forward to turning out to see this film, Janesic said.
A political hot potato
Its a political hot potato, said World War II Navy veteran Joe Stecker of Wilmington. All were asking is for the space to show this, and were being refused because it offends someone else.
Hahn said the movie isnt the problem, but rather the events planned around it.
I was told they were going to have 1940s swing dancing and bring in old cars, Hahn said. Its just not really a cause for celebration.
The evening was never planned as a celebration, Janesic said.
How could anybody think we would ever dare do that? Janesic said. This is not a time to celebrate. Its a time to remember.
It should be a time to reflect on those who sacrificed, Stecker said.
This is a commemoration of the date and the people who died there, he said. But I cant get that through to these politicians.
Organizers said there were no plans for dancing.
Weve made that clear to them 100 times, Janesic said. All were going to do is show up at 5 p.m., pull out some 1941 restored searchlights, open the box office and have guys in uniform as ushers. We dont have the people, the money or the time (to do more), quite frankly.
Hahn said the program would be fine on any other night but Dec. 7, but organizers said doing it on another date misses the point.
Hahn said shes taken lots of heat for the decision, but still thinks the program would be inappropriate on the anniversary of the attack.
People here lost their property, they lost their families, right here in San Pedro, she said of the local Japanese-American community. My father was a veteran of the war, and I was raised to be very supportive of veterans. I just wanted to be very sensitive to the Japanese-American community.
This Hahn woman, however, is the issue. She clearly doesn't know the difference between Japanese and Japanese-Americans. Actually, your post has the same flaw. But nevermind. Ms. Hahn is obviously little more than your typical obnoxious liberal ignoramus.
"Second" - "Third"?!!
Does this woman think JAs just now got off the boat? I personally know some "fifth" generation JAs, and just recently held in my arms a "sixth" generation JA!
There are possibly much older JAs in terms of generations. The Shogun of Japan thought highly of Napoleon and sent him 24 of his best samurai, along with their entourage. Napoleon sent them on to America. These men were well trained in the art of fighting from boats. Although history seems to have lost track of them, the War of 1812 has a famous battle or two on Lake Erie, a body of water with a great deal of similarity with the Inland Sea in Japan. The Perry family went on to fame in opening up Japan to the world.
I have met JAs who had GGrandparents who knew the Perry family. They didn't count generations in those days.
Ms. Hahn is an idiot.
This may be the reason right here, the city manages the place.
This theater is run by the city's Department of Cultural Affairs, what a joke.
Every time a Japanese-American sees a Studebaker, he feels hurt? Bullcrap.
How about we yell "BANZAI!!!!"
You may have something here. They probably thought that the sappy, crappy Pearl Harbor was a fine movie because it starred liberal male-bimbo Ben Affleck.
Question-- Do we stop showing The Patriot lest we offend our British allis? Maybe they should no longer show The Alamo lest it offend those radical Latinos and guilty white libs who want to give Texas and the Southwestern U.S. back to Mexico.
Liberals tick me off.
She should be sent back to her homeland.
There was supposed to be a second bombing followed by the landing of Japanese marines to occupy Hawaii. If it had been carried out, then nearest deep water port the U.S. would have had to the Japanese Empire would have been San Francisco.
We might have had VE day, but there would have been no VJ day.
I just wrote Miss Hahn as follows:
Dear Miss Hahn:
Your caving to anecdotal evidence that a few Japanese would be "offended" by a screening of Tora Tora Tora is PC correctness run amok.
Firstly - the producer of the film was Japanese. The film, when originally screened, was widely accused of being too sympathetic to the Japanese.
But far more importantly, you are trampling on the rights of the fighting men and women that have fought, many times at the cost of their lives, to keep America free. Political Correctness, bleeding-heart sensitivity, what ever you call it, it is wrong. Who launched the suprise attack? Why are your sympathies with them?
In a few years we may be screening movies about the September 11th 2001 attacks on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon. Would you call a screening of the movie to suvivors and loved ones insensitive because a few citizens of Saudi Arabian extraction complained.
Withdraw your obstruction of the rights of America's Veterans, or withdraw from public life.
Sincerely: name, address, email
End of letter.....sick and tired of these unthinking, psuedo-sensitive, lets-all-get-along types. Damn... I'm mad!! Hope you will write her too. Address in message #5 - this thread.
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