ABOUT THE PROJECT
Seppuku is about making a piece of art. For us, art is about speaking from a personal, vulnerable and soulful place. It’s about providing a platform for a voice to be heard, in this case, the Japanese American voice. A voice that is not often heard within the film industry but is an important piece to the American puzzle.
On February 19th, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which authorized the Secretary of War to imprison over 100,000 Japanese Americans. Amongst these people were many of my family members. They were stripped of everything that they owned. My great grandfather lost 2 of his coffee shops in Downtown Los Angeles, one of which was brand new. My family was stripped of their photos, property, money, everything that they have worked so hard to attain.
The conditions of the internment camps were brutal and degrading: severe dust storms, barbed wire fencing, overly crowded housing, less than appetizing meals, and the list goes on. In addition, guards and in some camps, even tanks would watch their every move reminding them of their insignificance.
After years of having to endure these conditions, they were released back into a world where they had to build back a life that was taken from them solely because of their ethnic background. As they tried to build back a life, they had to face a lot of racism and discrimination which limited their opportunities and progress.
My family was treated like the enemy even though they were American citizens. They were herded like animals even though they were human beings.
These years were dark times for my family as well as for other Japanese Americans. This part of our history impacted all the generations that followed. A lot of my personal demons and family’s demons stem from this part of our history. This is the root of Seppuku’s story.
Seppuku is about seeing the world from a Yonsei’s (4th generation Japanese American’s) perspective. It’s about the questions we ask ourselves: How do I fit within the American culture? What makes me American? What makes me Japanese? How has the internment camps impacted the way we see ourselves? How has the internment camps affected the concept of family?
It’s about the demons we face: I can’t be Japanese and American, I’m not good enough, I’m not working hard enough, I’m a disgrace, I can’t have the “American Dream”.
Through these themes, we hope to spark discussion about what it means to be an American. We hope to challenge the stereotypes that psychologically confine and hinder us from unlocking our full potential as human beings. We hope to deepen our understanding of the Japanese American culture. We hope to grow spiritually.
We hope to shake up the status quo, stir in the diversity of cultural perspectives and give rise to new understandings.
Social Media Info:
Mari Yoshimori holds the U.S. record for the fastest 400 meter time in track and field. Shortly before Olympic trials, she learns that she has a potentially career-threatening torn hamstring. This news crushes her soul. Not listening to her doctor or mother’s advice, Mari keeps training, and pushes herself too far. So far that the powers of nature thrust her into the depths of a psychological purgatory. While there, she meets her spiritual sidekick, Bettari. Petite, cute and mysterious, she communicates through a handwritten sign as she playfully lures Mari deeper into her domain. Only Mari can decide whether Bettari intends to guide or destroy.
We plan to submit Seppuku to all the relevant film festivals and then release the film online once the film festival circuit is complete.
Seppuku is a Japanese-American cinematic folk tale that chronicles the ritual death and rebirth of Mari Yoshimori. It looks through the lens of a psyche molded through generations by the legacy of internment, a tragic event tucked away in the dark corners of America’s past.
See Campaign: http://www.seedandspark.com/studio/seppuku
Daryn Ryo Wakasa