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Letter to the Editor

By August 14, 2020 August 31st, 2020 No Comments

Dear Editor,

Grant Ujifusa claims that funding was pulled from “Right of Passage.” That is a lie! In fact, the film was completed and premiered in Washington, D.C., to a full house, with screenings at the Skirball Center, universities and festivals nationwide. Ujifusa claims we did not credit the 442nd and 100th in the film for their part in winning redress. Another outright lie! The film begins and ends with a tribute to Kazuo Masuda, with multiple accolades within the film for the heroics of Japanese American soldiers during World War II. The problem is, by his own admission (and he ignorantly wears this lack of first-hand knowledge like a badge of honor), Ujifusa has not seen the film, yet pompously criticizes it because it does not reconcile with the half truths he has spewed the last 30 years about how redress was won.

“Right of Passage” interviewed more than 50 people, unearthed thousands of documents and every assertion is backed up with a paper trail straight from the Reagan White House, Library of Congress, National Archives, the Mike Masaoka Collection (University of Utah) and more.

Audiences — this includes respected academics and scholars on the subject — who have seen the film hail it as the most balanced, informed and honest telling of the redress story — an impossible victory won by the selfless effort of hundreds of people (Ujifusa was one), community organizations and Japanese American WWII veterans.

His continued bashing and trashing of the film is not surprising. After all, he proudly claims his allegiance to the Republican Party. So, of course he is going to pull from the Donald Trump playbook of deluded falsehoods and egotistical assertions.

I would be happy to send him a copy of the film, but I doubt he could watch it objectively, since it does not celebrate him or his exaggerated involvement. A Johnny-come-lately in the battle for redress, his role was nowhere as significant as he keeps claiming.

But I guess, when he has repeated his “fantasy” version as long as he has, he probably now believes his own fabrications and concoctions as the truth, which sadly, now, maybe his senility cannot separate from the actual facts.

I am compelled to write this rebuttal because Ujifusa’s persistent attacks on facts presented in the film is a direct attack on my credibility, which in turn discredits me and affects my ability to earn a living as a researcher and documentarian.

I will not allow him to impugn my work, and by extension my reputation. If he wants this war of words to end, he should stop printing baseless nonsense. If he wants to pick a fight, however, bring it on!

I will not show the restraint of Japanese Americans here in L.A. who ignore him and dismiss his petty, vindictive vitriol as sour grapes of an “old fool.”

Sincerely,

Sreescanda Subramonian
Writer/Editor/Researcher of “Right of Passage”