“Out of Infamy: Michi Nishiura Weglyn” chronicles the life of Michi Nishiura Weglyn (1926-1999), a prominent civil rights leader within the Japanese American community.
After eight years as the costume designer for the Perry Como Show, Michi Nishiura Weglyn gave up a successful career in show business in the mid-1960s to write the book, Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America’s Concentration Camps. Providing factual evidence of governmental misconduct in the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, the award-winning book, published in 1976, was hailed as the “Bible of 20th Century Japanese Americans.”
Her interest in this subject was personal. She had been an American citizen, a teenager, held in one of those camps. Researching and writing in obscurity, Weglyn’s only support came from her husband Walter, who understood racial hatred better than anyone. A German Jew, he had narrowly escaped death in Nazi-occupied Holland.
Although Weglyn has been widely cited as an author whose importance to Japanese American history and the redress movement cannot be overestimated, little has been known about the complex, private woman behind the book. Using archival photographs and film and audio recordings of Weglyn, Out of Infamy: Michi Nishiura Weglyn paints a portrait of Weglyn’s dynamic personality, which evolved via incarceration in the Gila River, Arizona camp from California-born farm girl to New York City sophisticate to the Rosa Parks of Japanese Americans.
Written, Produced and Directed by
Nancy Kapitanoff and Sharon Yamato
Music composed by
Jon K. Oh
Running time: 17 minutes
• Special Jury Mention, 2010 Tribeca Film Festival
• Finalist, 40th Annual USA Film Festival/Dallas
• Programmers’ Recommendation, 2010 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
• Official Entry, 2010 Sedona Film Festival