My wife and I were both deeply moved watching a filmed performance of George Takei’s Broadway musical, “Allegiance,” set primarily in an isolated internment camp holding Japanese-Americans during World War II.
While according to Wikipedia, the play exaggerates the anti-Japanese racism and conditions at the camps in pursuit of the salable story, it has a whole lot to say about ethics, families whose values conflict, and prejudice—98 percent of which still applies even if that is true. Each major character pursues his or her own truth, and acts in the way s/he feels is best for both the person and the wider Japanese-American community. But those ways are in such conflict that a family is torn asunder for 60 years.
Even if the story hadn’t been so engaging, the quality of singing is amazingly high, especially from Lea Salonga (Keiko) and Christopheren Nomura (Tatsuo).
Takei (who is absolutely brilliant as the grandfather and also plays the very emotional role of the male lead as an old man) says he worked on this project for 10 years. But the show ran only several months. Fortunately, it was preserved on film.
It is worth remembering that the Japanese-Americans, many of them citizens, were rounded up during the administration of FDR, a liberal Democrat. That their property was confiscated, their freedom taken away, and the conditions in the camps were often miserable. And that once they were allowed to enlist, Japanese-American men were put in situations where massive numbers would die.
Now, under a right-wing Republican president Takei could not have anticipated when he and his colleagues started work, other ethnic and religious groups are being targeted. We who are not part of those groups must ensure that what happened to the Japanese in America and their Japanese-American US citizen children must never happen again to any ethnic or religious group.
I would like to see this movie shown far and wide. At the moment, I can’t find anything about future showings, but http://allegiancemusical.com/article/allegiance-film-encore/#DPrWhbgSL6O53Ckf.97 would be the place to request that.