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THE ITO SISTERS is a feature-length documentary film that captures the stories of three Japanese American sisters, interviewed in their eighties and nineties, as they recount how their immigrant parents struggled to make a life in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. The family’s chronicle is set against the backdrop of the anti-Japanese movement in California, a 60-year campaign by politicians, journalists, landowners, labor leaders and others that culminated in the evacuation and incarceration of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast during World War II. THE ITO SISTERS is written, directed and produced by Antonia Grace Glenn, the granddaughter of the middle of the three sisters.


THE ITO SISTERS captures the rarely told stories of the earliest Japanese immigrants to the United States and their American-born children. In particular, the film focuses on the experiences of Issei (or immigrant) and Nisei (or first generation born in the US) women, whose voices have largely been excluded from American history. At the center of the film are three Nisei sisters: Natsuye (Nancy), Haruye (Lillian) and Hideko (Hedy), who were born on a farm in the Sacramento River Delta and whose lives were directly impacted by some of the most significant events of 20th-century America, from the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 to the Great Depression to World War II. The film also explores the lives of the women's parents, Yetsusaburo and Toku Ito, who came to the United States to earn money so they could return to Japan, but whose plans were repeatedly thwarted.


The film will be followed by a panel with:
Antonia Grace Glenn, Writer, Director, and Producer of Film
Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Lead Scholar of Film

The panel will be moderated by Prof. Velina Hasu Houston 


To view a trailer of the film, go to: https://www.itosisters.com/.


This event is presented by the Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture, and co-sponsored by the East Asian Studies Center, USC School of Dramatic Arts, and the USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association

Event Details

  • Lisa Pon
  • Binh Tran
  • Michael Kanazawa
  • Alan Kita

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