TOMIKAZU "TOMI" NAKAJI
Name: Kyler Ki Shim Sakamoto
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
Favorite School Subject: Science
Sisters/Brothers: Tyson & Taylor
Pets: Dog named Koa
Favorite Book: "The Giving Tree"
Favorite Scene in Under the Blood-Red Sun: The Sand Island swim; Tomi wanted to see his father so badly and wanted to tell those keeping him captive that they had the wrong man. Tomi built up the courage and swam a long way to get a peek of his father and the internment camp where his father was held against his will. This showed how courageous Tomi was. It depicted his determination to find out if his father was okay.
Shikata ga nai -- was not good enough for Tomi.
Skills: Singing, Tap Dancing, Jazz Dancing, Acting, Musical Theatre, Gymnastics, Aikido Martial Arts, Swimming, Diamond Head Theatre Shooting Stars (Hawaii's premiere youth performing arts group)
Hobbies: Body Boarding on the shores of Oahu & playing club volleyball and Punahou volleyball, filmmaking, watching Broadway shows, traveling and photography
Favorite Food: Loco Moco
Full name: Kalamakahaola Epstein, “Kalama” for short
Sisters/Brothers: I have 2 older sisters, Kulani & Dallas
Any pets: When I’m in Los Angeles staying with my Auntie Kelley, we have a Blonde Cockapoo Doodle whose name is Bailey.
Favorite School Subject: English because I love to read, and social studies because I love learning about History.
Favorite Book: 'Quarantine: The Saints' by Lex Thomas
Favorite Scene in Under the Blood-Red Sun: The scene where Keet puts the gun to Tomi’s head because it shows the true colors of both characters. It shows how crazy Keet is and it shows that Tomi is really very strong and he was never afraid of Keet, but that he needed to get past that in his head.
Skills: Parkour, Trampoline, Lacrosse
Hobbies: Parkour, Video Games, Body Surfing, Body Boarding, Hiking, Bike riding, Swimming, & Making Videos.
Favorite Food: I love Pepperoni Pizza!!!!!
TARO "PAPA" NAKAJI
Name: Chris Tashima
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Actor/Director in Theatre/Film/Television, who won an Oscar® 15 years ago, "but it's still pretty shiny."
None right now, but I grew up with a St. Bernard named Cleopatra, who shed and slobbered a lot.
Favorite scene in the book?
There is a moment when Tomi recalls Grampa telling him about how his parents met―his mother came from Japan as a Picture Bride, and his father was a lonely bachelor. Their story not only provides personal background, but tells of history—of immigration and of community, and of family love and devotion.
Reviving and tinkering with old bicycles, especially Schwinns.
Riding a unicycle (backwards, even), and playing the saw.
Most proud of:
My father's story. As a young boy, he was incarcerated at the Poston Relocation Center in the Arizona desert during World War II, and now he is a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He went from being wrongfully suspected of being a military threat (as a 7 year-old) and unjustly imprisoned, to currently serving at the second highest level of our government's Judicial Branch. I am not only proud of my father's own achievements, but his journey also reminds me of the importance of our Constitution, and the greatness of our country—for having recognized the injustice of the internment, and for providing opportunities for all people.
Name: Dann Seki
Hometown: Aiea, Hawaii
Favorite book: The one most in my mind is usually the one I've read most recently. Right now, that's Under the Blood Red Sun. Before that, it was The Giver.
I have a couple of favorites - 1) when Tomi swims to Sand Island to see his Dad. That took a lot of guts and the fact that he did it tells me that the family is going to be in good hands while Dad and Ojii-chan are away and 2) the baseball scene with Ojii-chan swinging the bat. Life goes on, even in the darkest of times.
Personal connection: I was born after WWII was over, but I have done many oral history presentations speaking the words of people who lived through December 7, 1941 and the period that followed. My father served with the famed 100th Infantry Battalion.
Hobbies: Storytelling and lauhala weaving
Favorite Food: I love all kinds of food - no real favorites although curry is on the short list.
What's it like to be a storyteller: Someone listening to a story has to use their imagination to "see" the characters and the action. Since they are "seeing" it in their head, everyone's vision of the story is going to be a little different. I find that fascinating. I'm telling one story, but the audience is "seeing" many different ones. I can create whole new worlds by using words.
Name: Autumn Ogawa
Hometown: Honolulu, HI
Brothers/sisters: Two older brothers, Quinn and Owen
Pets: So far I haven't been able to stay in one place long enough to have a pet. But I am an animal lover! Someday I hope to own an Akita.
Personal connection to the story? My father, Dr. Dennis Ogawa, was born in Manzanar. My mother was born on Maui.
Favorite scene in the book? The scene where Mama tells Tomi that he is brave.
Hobbies: Painting and cooking
Skills: Singing, Dancing, Gymnastics, Choreography, Musical Theatre, Stage Combat
Favorite food: Acai bowls, spam musubi, portuguese sausage/egg rice, and my mom's pot roast!
Name: Wil Kahele
Hometown: Kapahulu, O'ahu
Favorite spot in the islands: Anywhere there is white sand, ocean and friends
Hobbies: Oil painting, Acting, Camping, FIshing
Skills: Jack-of -all-trades, master at none...but still trying
Favorite Food: Anything "local" as long as it's not spicy hot, but really am fond of Italian cuisine
Name: Mina Kohara
Hometown: Honolulu, HI
Brothers/sisters: I have a big sister, Aya
Pets: Kona the cat. He loves to play, and hangout on our hammock.
Favorite book: The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Skills: jazz dancing, ballet, gymnastics, abacus & bilingual (Japanese and English)
Hobbies: reading, dancing, swimming & cooking
Favorite food: beef bowl, green tea ice cream, mabotofu
Favorite toy: spy glasses
Full Name: Bryce Lee Moore
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
Favorite School Subject: History
Sisters/Brothers: Joey-my older sister
Favorite Book: Gone by Michael Grant
Favorite Scene In Under The Blood Red Sun:
Keet gives birds to Tomi as a gift from his mother. Keet must show self control, because everyone knows how much he wants to smash Tomi, but he must control himself enough to hold a conversation with him.
Favorite Movie: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Skills: Acting, Photography, Soccer, Bodysurfing
Hobbies: Going to the beach, spending time with family, playing soccer, taking photos of waves
Favorite food: Mochiko Chicken
Name: Benen Weir
Hometown: Newburyport, MA
Pets: 2 cats Charlotte & Hoku
Favorite book: Ranger's Apprentice Series
Favorite scene in Under the Blood-Red Sun:
When Tomi & Billy sit in a tree and witness the attack on Pearl Harbor because at this moment they don't feel separated by their race. They are both just afraid together.
Hobbies: mountain biking, video games, reading, working out
Skills: cross country running, photography, body boarding
Favorite food: Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Name: Aidan James
Hometown: Hawaii Kai
Brothers/sisters: Aya, 8 y.o
Favorite book: Wimpy Kid series
Hobbies: Musician, Actor, Filmmaker, Magician
Skills: Ukulele, guitar, any "techy"stuff, sleight of hand
Favorite food: Chicken Katsu
2014 summer tour: Washington DC, New York, Hard Rock Las Vegas, House of Blues in LA. Then to Japan with performances Shibuya and Hard Rock Roppongi.
Name: MARCO FERRY JOHN S. LOPEZ
Hometown: Kapolei, Hawaii
Sisters: Twins, Mieca and Myca
Pets: Fish named Flame, and two turtles named T-rex and Humphry.
Favorite Book: The Outsiders
Favorite scene in Under Blood Red Sun Book:
My favorite scene in the book was when Rico punched a Japanese boy because the Japanese boy was insulting Billy and Rico. I really loved this scene because it shows that Rico will do anything for his brothers and friends (Tomi, Billy , Mose).
Hobbies: Tennis, and Basketball.
Skills: Singing , Acting, and playing guitar.
Favorite food: Chicken Pasta.
Name: Shiro Kawai
Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
Favorite scene in Under the Blood-Red Sun: Tomi's visit to Sand Island; what Tomi did was so brave. But I can also identify with his dad when he sees Tomi right outside of the fence. What surprise, joy, and concern he felt!
I also like other more subtle scenes, such as Tomi and Billy's visit to Sanji's surviving family. It's not an action-packed scene, and on the surface not many things are happening. But the internal transition Billy goes through is as strong as Tomi's Sand Island scene.
REIKO - fisherman SANJI'S WIFE
Name: Ming Kay Miyamoto
Hometown: Hong Kong
Brothers/sisters: 2 brothers (both bullies!)
Favorite scene in the book: Tomi didn't care about anything and swam all the way to the other side of the beach to find his father. It was BRAVE!
Most proud of: Being a wife, mother, business woman and student at the same time. Already playing 4 roles in reality!
Name: Lisa Barnes
Hometowns: Indianapolis, Indiana and Palos Verdes, California.
Favorite scene: The boys out playing baseball and the bombs going off. Just that innocent juxtaposition as they think it's just another day of military exercises, and it's the moment where lives are going to be changed forever.
The book woke me up to what happened so unfairly to the Japanese in this country. All those people punished for nothing - horrifying. And that it took until the 1980's to apologize!? The wonderful humanity in the book makes this all so accessible.
Favorite books: "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "Life of Pi"
Name: Tom Holowach
Hometown: Oneonta, NY
Favorite scene in Under the Blood-Red Sun:The most pleasant scene to visualize was the fishing trip. I felt like I was right there on the boat. The most intense, of course, is Tomi's brave visit to Sand Island.
Personal connection to the story?I was a photographer for years, and assisted Ansel Adams in his Yosemite Summer Workshops. We became friends and I interviewed him for a magazine story and he told me about how during the war he had photographed Manzanar, the “Relocation Camp” that was on the other side of the Sierras from Yosemite, in the desert, where I had never driven.
Years later, on a photo-taking trip to Death Valley, I finally got to see the country Manzanar was built in and was shocked, because I had visited Hawaii a lot and the contrast between here and there was stark and depressing. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like, being forced to move from here to the high desert to live in a prison.
Name: Gregory Suenaga
Fav Scene: Chapter 15: Grandpa katana scene, Grandpa ritualistically hands Tomi the katana from his ancestors and is torn between the pride of the sword and the shame of the attack. It is so deep and powerful, as earlier in the book, Grandpa was so proud to be Japanee.
Personal: My grandfather had a dual US/JP citizenship and was taken to Sand Island for questioning during the attack. Although he wasn’t interned, he suffered the bullying attacks and bigotry during that period. Although it was a painful time for him, I know he would be proud that I am a part of this important project.
Name: Howard Bishop
After reading the following, I think you will understand why this project holds a special place in my heart. My wife Roberta, is Japanese, and her parents met in Los Angeles when her dad was going to the USC Medical School. Her dad was from Hawaii, and her mom, also Japanese, was from Colorado. After the outbreak of WWII, they, and my wife’s oldest sister Shirley, were detained, and sent to Camp Amache, a Japanese internment camp in Colorado.
My wife’s dad, Kenneth Ozaki, had a younger brother, Robert Ozaki, who enlisted to prove his loyalty to the United States. He was from Hawaii, and was sent to fight in Europe with the 100th. He was wounded, and sent to a Military hospital, oddly enough in Colorado, where succumbed to his wounds, and died. He was buried in Colorado, and through great efforts by the Ozaki family, he was repatriated, and given a heroes’ burial with Military Honors, at Punchbowl Cemetery in 2012. Chicken skin does not even begin to describe this experience.
One brother was wrongfully detained with his family, while the other brother fought for our country, and made the ultimate sacrifice, by losing his life. My wife Roberta, has a fraternal twin Robert, and they were both named in honor of their uncle “Robert Ozaki” who fought, and gave his life for our country.
While fighting in Europe, Robert Ozaki led a bayonet charge against the Germans. In those days, medals were not as readily bestowed on the Japanese Americans.
In 2012, Senator Daniel Inouye, himself a highly decorated warrior, was made aware of Robert Ozaki’s heroics during the war. He opened an investigation regarding Robert Ozaki’s actions. There were several remaining 100th members still alive, and they had to be interviewed, and needed to corroborate the story being told. Once the proper investigation was completed, Senator Inouye led the way to honor Robert Ozaki.
Senator Inouye was instrumental in seeing that justice and honor was rightly bestowed on Robert Ozaki. He was duly awarded the Silver Star for Bravery- posthumously- for his bravery and sacrifice. This medal was given to the Ozaki family by Senator Inouye at a private ceremony in his Hawaii office in 2012. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the extended Ozaki family, and was in attendance at this Medal Ceremony.
Needless to say, this film has some great personal resonance for me because of the experiences of my wife’s family during WWII.
Name: Wayne Cordeiro
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
Favorite book: Bible
Favorite scene in UNDER THE BLOOD RED SUN: The final scene when Tomi asks Keet to be friends.
Connection to story (WWII): My father enlisted after Pearl Harbor was attacked. I also had uncles that were placed in internment camps on the West Coast.
Hobbies: Horses, ocean paddling.
UNDER THE BLOOD RED SUN
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