About this project
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WHAT IS GOOD LUCK SOUP INTERACTIVE?
Good Luck Soup Interactive is one component of our transmedia storytelling project documenting and sharing stories of the Japanese American and Japanese Canadian experience after they left the internment camps. This web-based, interactive component will complement, reinforce, and encourage participation in the larger effort to preserve this history through social media, participatory storytelling and community events.
Our transmedia project also includes a feature-length documentary film. Titled Good Luck Soup, the film tells the post-World War II story of one Japanese American family that we hope encourages others to tell their own story through our interactive and participatory website, Good Luck Soup Interactive.
This story will be told through the following channels:
1) Interactive Website: Good Luck Soup Interactive is an interactive documentary and participatory storytelling project that will reveal what's happened to the Japanese American and Japanese Canadian Internment Camp victims since the camps closed nearly 70 years ago. The stories will be told through uploaded text, photographs and videos from internment camp victims and their families and will be shared through an interactive website.
- WHAT IS PARTICIPATORY STORYTELLING? In Good Luck Soup Interactive, the stories of the various Japanese American and Japanese Canadian Internment Camp victims will be told by the victims themselves or their family members through photo, text or video submissions. The story that we are telling is the story of a community, and we want to provide Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians with an outlet to share their own experience and story.
- WHAT IS INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING? Interactive storytelling refers to storytelling experience on digital computer-based systems which respond to the user's actions by presenting content such as text, graphics, animation, video, audio, games, etc. Good Luck Soup Interactive will be an interactive website that will allow the visitor to choose and interact with the storytelling experience.
- WHAT IS TRANSMEDIA STORYTELLING? Transmedia storytelling (also known as transmedia narrative or multi-platform storytelling) is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies. Our story will be told through film, community events and the Good Luck Soup Interactive website.
2) Good Luck Soup Interactive community events: We will travel to various cities throughout the United States and Canada to document the stories of Japanese American and Japanese Canadian Internment Camp victims through community events and information gathering sessions, which will then be shared via Good Luck Soup Interactive.
3) Good Luck Soup feature-length documentary: Project Director Matthew Hashiguchi is currently in post-production on the Good Luck Soup feature-length documentary. The film, which tells the post-World War II story of his Japanese American family in the American Midwest, has an estimated completion date of mid-2015.
Funding from this Kickstarter campaign will go towards Good Luck Soup Interactive, not the documentary film (view trailer for the film below).
HOW IS OUR STORY DIFFERENT?
Over 120,000 Japanese Americans and over 20,000 Japanese Canadians were incarcerated during World War II for the crime of being of Japanese ancestry. Despite the lack of any concrete evidence, Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians were suspected of remaining loyal to their ancestral land. Anti-Japanese hysteria increased throughout both countries because of the large Japanese presence on the West Coast. In the event of a Japanese invasion of the American and Canadian mainland, Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians were feared as a security risk.
Succumbing to popular opinion, in 1942 President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Mackenzie King ordered the forced incarceration of all Americans and Canadians of Japanese ancestry into internment camps in the interior of the United States and Canada. In the United States, there were ten main internment camps and in Canada, there were various labor camps, internment camps, POW camps and "self-supporting" camps. Four years later, by 1946, the ten main Japanese American Internment Camps had been closed. In Canada, those incarcerated were told to choose between “repatriation” to Japan or immediate movement east of the Rocky Mountains. So, what happened to the 120,000 Japanese Americans and 20,000 Japanese Canadians immediately after the camps closed? Where did they resettle and how did they get there? How did they rebuild their lives? Those are the stories we want to tell.
Our story will go beyond the experience of the Japanese American and Japanese Canadian Internment Camps to reveal what life was like after the camps closed. We want to update the Japanese American and Japanese Canadian story by revealing what has happened since the camps closed nearly 70 years ago.
GOOD LUCK SOUP INTERACTIVE GOALS
Long Term Goals
- Update the stories of the Japanese American and Japanese Canadian Internment Camp victims by revealing what happened to them after the camps closed.
- We recognize that many camp victims will not be familiar with our web-based storytelling platform. Good Luck Soup Interactive will activate younger generations of Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians to share the stories of their family and community through contemporary storytelling platforms, social media and participation.
- Give voice to the thousands of Japanese American and Japanese Canadian Internment Camp victims, whose freedoms and voices were taken away over 70 years ago, by offering them the ability to share and tell their own stories through our web-based, participatory documentary.
- Educate those outside the Japanese American and Japanese Canadian communities of these experiences.
Short Term Goals
- Develop and design the Good Luck Soup Interactive website.
- Gather additional stories of internment camp victims through community gatherings to include in the initial launch of Good Luck Soup Interactive.
WHY WE NEED FUNDING
Our minimum goal of raising $15,000 through Kickstarter will directly support the two facets of production for Good Luck Soup Interactive which will happen concurrently. Upon completion of a successful Kickstarter campaign, we will immediately begin to arrange community events with national organizations like the Japanese American Citizens League, during which we will log and document stories from internment camp victims to include in the project's launch. The funding will also allow us to begin the design and development of the interactive website (the interactive website design and format is subject to change throughout the creative process).
Good Luck Soup documentary film: Filming for the feature length documentary is complete. Director Matthew Hashiguchi is currently in post-production and will be complete with the final cut by mid-2015.
Community Events: Over the past year, we've logged several stories through informal meetings, interviews and discussions with Japanese American and Japanese Canadian Internment Camp victims and their families. In late-2014, we will document additional stories through community events with the Japanese American Citizens League in New England, Philadelphia and Cleveland to include in the initial launch of the Good Luck Soup Interactive website. And, on a rolling basis additional community events will be scheduled throughout 2015 in both American and Canadian cities to include in Good Luck Soup Interactive.
Good Luck Soup Interactive: Upon completion of our Kickstarter campaign, our team will begin developing, designing and coding the Good Luck Soup Interactive website, which includes database interaction, implementing functionality, implementing design, polishing and refining. We have an estimated launch of early-2015. Following our launch, we will distribute Good Luck Soup Interactive via various social media outlets, blogs, websites, Facebook groups, Twitter posts, e-mail and word of mouth. The internet will allow Good Luck Soup Interactive to be accessible and participatory for both consumers and storytellers.
Matthew Hashiguchi is an award winning documentary filmmaker and adjunct professor at Emerson College whose work focuses on the diverse cultural, social and ethnic stories of American society. His most recent films, People Aren’t All Bad and The Lower 9: A Story of Home, have screened in film festivals throughout the world and in May 2013, People Aren't All Bad screened at the American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival.
Matthew is currently in post-production for his latest documentary film, Good Luck Soup, which tells the post-World War II experience of his Japanese American family in the American Midwest. In addition, he is also developing Good Luck Soup Interactive, a web-based, community storytelling project on the victims of the Japanese American Internment Camps.
Russell Goldenberg is an interactive news developer at the Boston Globe where he creates data visualizations and interactive stories. He recently worked on the Peabody award-winning interactive documentary Hollow. He earned his MFA in Interactive Media from Emerson College and a BS/BA from Union College in Computer Science and Visual Arts.
Billy Wirasnik is an award winning sound designer and accomplished pitch percussionist based out of Boston, Massachusetts. His work has been heard in film festivals in Pakistan, Brazil and throughout the United States. He was the sound designer of the 2014 Peabody award winning interactive documentary Hollow. In 2010 he was a runner up in the Avid Sound Design competition and in 2009 the winner of Hollywood Edge's Sound Design competition.
Billy is a passionate collector of sound - whether it be the sounds of the city, old records, synthesizers, forgotten electronics, or a windy hilltop. He adapts with each body of work by using a naturalist approach to design sound. Creatively reusing location audio as much as possible, he keeps the aural aesthetic of each project genuine. He is a strong advocate of the importance audio plays in storytelling and its role in the future of media.
Rob Buscher, Programming Director of Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, is a film and media specialist who has worked in many aspects of film including production, administration and distribution. Due in part to his multi-racial Japanese American heritage, Rob’s expertise is Japanese and East Asian Cinema although he has worked as a professional film programmer in a wide variety of genres. Some of his career highlights include co-founding Zipangu Fest - the UK’s premier Japanese Film Festival, co-hosting and programming Philadelphia Japan Arts Matsuri Tohoku Earthquake charity film festival and creating the Japanese Cinema Studies curriculum at Arcadia University. Rob is an active member of Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia and serves on the National Strategic Planning Committee of Japanese American Citizens League and Philadelphia Chapter Board.
Ron Mori is a manager in AARP’s Multicultural Markets and Engagement department in Washington, D.C. His expertise lies in corporate grant management, public affairs and marketing. In 2011, Ron joined AARP to increase the association’s social impact work and membership outreach within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.
Prior to joining AARP, Ron was a director at Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, where he played an intricate role in overseeing the company’s brand and managing the corporate giving program. A native of Chicago, he has also served as the Executive Director of The Allstate Foundation. Under his direction, the Foundation made its first, national grants to address hate crimes in the AAPI communities.
Ron is a former Board member of the Donors Forum of Chicago and the Chicago Fire Department Survive Alive House Foundation. In addition, he was a volunteer crew captain supporting multiple fire departments in suburban Chicago. He also is a former Chair of the Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy Chicago Chapter. In 2003, he was a co-founder of Chicago’s first Asian Giving Circle, in partnership with the Chicago Community Trust.
Currently, Ron is an active member of AARP’s Asian Strategic Engagement Employee Resource Group, and a JACL D.C. Chapter Board member. He is also a returning OCA Business Advisory Council member.
Ron received a bachelor’s of science degree from Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana.
Emily Ferrier is an information professional and researcher living in Boston, Massachusetts. Her interests lie in exploring how new media types and interactive media can help improve information literacy, reduce the technology infrastructure and knowledge gap in the United States and around the world, and help preserve cultural heritage materials in a way that also makes them accessible and enjoyable to the general public. She holds an undergraduate degree in history from Northeastern University with a minor in East Asian Studies and is currently pursuing a Masters in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University.
DIRECTOR'S STATEMENTGrowing up, I often heard my grandmother talk about her time in “camp,” and as a kid, I wasn’t sure what she was talking about. A day camp? A summer camp?
As I grew older, I began to realize what “camp” was. It was the internment camps and they were incarcerated because they were Japanese and viewed as dangerous.
I was born and raised in an Irish neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, and the topics of race, culture and identity were prevalent in my life at a very young age. As I looked at my group of friends, whom were mostly Irish, I felt not that we were different but that I was different. This difference had become obvious in others around me as well. Looking somewhat Japanese and having a Japanese last name in a predominantly Irish Catholic grade school did nothing to downplay these dissimilarities. My inability to blend in translated into my own personal struggles and I rejected my Japanese heritage. I just wanted to fit in.
Throughout high school and college, I continued to hear my grandmother talk about her struggles as a Japanese American. Not only while in the internment camps but also as a Japanese American living within a society that vilified and discriminated against her. And, it was through her stories that I was able to overcome my own obstacles. Her ability to discuss these painful memories, with no resentment, gave me the courage to embrace the heritage and identity of my self and family.
I want to offer the power of storytelling to other Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians, both young and old, whose lives have been impacted by the internment camps. I want to preserve these experiences, so that future generations are reminded of past struggles and adversity. And, I want to create a location where we can share these memories, so that we may educate, empower and inspire others, just as my grandmother has done for me.
SOME OF OUR REWARDS
The Lower 9 DVD:
The Lower 9: A Story of Home is a documentary showcasing four determined Lower-Ninth-Ward residents who share their most intimate stories of home, as they resume their lives over seven years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged their neighborhood. The individual’s stories find voice in a narrative that intersperses contemporary interviews, abstract cinematography of destruction, and powerful scenes of present-day lives.
People Aren't All Bad:
In this short documentary, 88-year-old Yutaka Kobayashi shares his struggles as a Japanese American before and leading up to the World War II Japanese American Internment Camps. Surprisingly, it was during this dark period that he experienced compassion and kindness from where he least expected it, a gun tower guard from within the Topaz Internment Camp.
PRINTS AND CANVAS REWARDS
If your family was incarcerated, where were they before WWII and where did they go after WWII? For $100, we will create a custom image using map locations that reveals their journey. The images within the body are from the War Relocation Authority archives are have no extant copyright.
Risks and challenges
1) One of the biggest obstacles within this project will be filling it with stories and content from Japanese American and Japanese Canadian Internment Camp victims and their families. This storytelling project is reliant upon the entire Japanese American and Japanese Canadian community and their active participation in telling their own story or the story of a loved one. Through partnerships with organizations like the Japanese American Citizens League, Asian American Journalists Association, universities, museums, word-of-mouth communication, social media, e-mail and community events we will reach deep into the tightly knit Japanese American community to share and gather their stories. Multiple members of our team are also life-long, active members within the Japanese American community and can reach the community through personal and familial connections.
2) For myself, this is an extremely personal project. The entire Japanese American side of my family was incarcerated during World War II and I even have relatives who were born in the camps. Growing up, I heard many tales of the camps from my grandmother but I never understood what it was or how it affected my family. It was only within the past decade that I've realized how important it is to continue the conversation on this experience. This project is a labor of love and it will be difficult for me to overcome any bias or preconceived notions on the internment camp experience.
3) A disconnect has grown within the Japanese American and Japanese Canadian community between its elders and youth. Factors such as cultural assimilation have certainly contributed to this gap, but I believe the divide is largely a result of the limited presence of Japanese American and Japanese Canadian culture, stories and experiences in today's media. Good Luck Soup Interactive will provide an outlet for younger Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians to experience the history of their culture through cutting edge technology and contemporary storytelling platforms.
4) Interactive storytelling is relatively new. The form is still evolving but its allowed us to experience storytelling in ways that has never been done before. One of our obstacles will be telling an accessible and compelling story through an unfamiliar, interactive medium. We must balance both and we believe that will be achieved through an approach of simplicity and story first.
5) The window for gathering these stories is quickly closing. Countless photographs have already been lost to time, as have many lives which contained the memories of this experience. Long term preservation of these materials is crucial. Not only the visual and physical documents such as photographs, but also the internal memories, feelings and emotions of each camp victim. Good Luck Soup Interactive will digitally preserve these artifacts. But, we must act extremely fast, as those who were in the internment camps are becoming fewer with each passing day.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
I was recently asked why this story needs to be told, which is a legitimate and good question to ask of any story. Existing programs such as Densho and The Remembrance Project provide a great amount of information and stories on the World War II internment camp experience. So why do we need another one? The internment camp experience is not the story that we want to tell. The stories we want to share are of what happened after the camps closed. Where did the victims move to and what happened? The experience of being Japanese American and Japanese Canadian goes beyond the incarceration and we want to expand upon that story.
I also think Japanese American and Japanese Canadian youth (mixed or not mixed) are becoming distanced from the history of their elder family members. They may know of the camps and that their grandparents or great-grandparents were incarcerated, but do they know the struggles they experienced after World War II? Or the reason why they live in Michigan or Cleveland or Chicago? For many, World War II and the internment camps are directly related to the answers of those questions.
If we want this history to exist beyond the camp victims or their children, it has to be presented in a contemporary way. Today's youth consume media in very different ways and if we want to engage them, these stories must be revealed utilizing modern tools of storytelling such as web interactivity, participatory storytelling and social media. In addition, the contemporary design of our website will expose these stories to those outside the West Coast, Japanese American and Japanese Canadian communities.
If you look at modern media and storytelling, many stories are re-told. We have new Batman movies, books that are made into films, songs that are covered… and with each re-interpretation comes a new experience for younger generations. Whether it’s the updated computer animation of the new Godzilla movie, the visual oddities of Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or the reinterpretation of The Joker through Heath Ledger, each example tells a familiar story through a new lens and for a different audience. With Good Luck Soup Interactive, we will bring the post-World War II history of Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians to a new audience and generation.
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