Citizen Tanouye: Japanese-American WWII Hero’s Story Explored by Students, Produced by Glendale Resident


Glendale resident Robert Horsting produced and co-directed the award-winning documentary Citizen Tanouye, which will be screened August 14, 2014, 7pm at the Glendale Central Library.

Citizen Tanouye follows the life-changing journey of eight Torrance High School students who set out to uncover the story of Ted Tanouye, a Japanese-American Torrance High School alumnus, World War II hero, and Medal of Honor recipient. As the ethnically diverse group dig in to discover Tanouye’s story, they uncover the civil rights abuses suffered during the war years by Japanese Americans such as Tanouye’s family. The students plowed through archival materials, searched online, and conducted insightful interviews with war veterans to get to the bottom of what Tanouye and his family experienced.

Tech/Sergeant Tan Tanouye died at the age of 24 as a result of wounds received from a mine blast during an approach on the Arno River in Italy. He was a member of the renowned 442nd Regimental Combat Team, comprised mostly of Japanese American soldiers. Tanouye’s valiant actions earned him the accolades of his fellow soldiers and many posthumously awarded medals, including the Medal of Honor. Tanouye’s family was incarcerated at internment camps with other Japanese Americans, including confinements at both Jerome War Relocation Center and Rohwer Relocation Center, eve as he served and eventually died an American war hero. The students bring Tanouye’s story into sharp focus as the relevance of his experiences to their own lives becomes all too apparent.

Horsting, a documentary filmmaker, produced and co-directed this film with Craig Yahata. His work on the film stemmed from his voluntary participation in the Hanashi Oral History Program of the Go For Broke National Education Center, designed to preserve the legacy of Japanese American soldiers in the US Army during WWII, and of other minorities such as the Tuskegee Airmen and Navaho Code Talkers. Original music for the film was composed by Stephen James Taylor, a frequent composer for Disney Imagineering and an Eagle Rock resident.

The Glendale Central Library’s screening of Citizen Tanouye is free and open to the public. Free parking is available (3 hours with validation at the circulation desk) at the municipal parking structure across the street.