Movie Screening and Q & A

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Association &

Japanese American Citizens League of Houston presents:

“Only the Brave” Film Benefit

Q&A Session with veteran Asian American Actors

Tamlyn Tomita (Karate Kid II, Picture Bride, Come See the Paradise)

Yuji Okumoto (Pearl Harbor, Karate Kid II, Knots Landing)

Lane Nishikawa (playwright & director: The Gate of Heaven, Life in the Fast Lane, I’m On a Mission from Budda, Migune and Me, When We Were Warriors, Forgotten Valor, Gila River, When We Were One)

Saturday – May 20th, 2006

Rice University Media Center

Rice University Entrance #8 (on University Blvd. & Stockton St.)

5:30 pm Screening 1 w/ Q&A

7:00 Reception

8:00pm Screening 2 w/ Q&A

$35 benefit donation

To purchase tickets:

For more information, log onto

The Story

“ONLY THE BRAVE” is the first motion picture about the 100th/442nd as seen through the eyes of the men who lived it. Written and directed by award-winning playwright Lane Nishikawa, the story was based on the actual experiences of his three Nisei uncles who served in the 100th/442nd – as well as other veterans who shared their memories with him over the years.

The film captures the personal tragedies and sacrifices of the soldiers – played by Jason Scott Lee, Mark Dacascos, Yuji Okumoto, Greg Watanabe and Ken Narasaki – during the final days of their rescue of the Texas “Lost Battalion” (represented by Jeff Fahey and Guy Ecker).

Nishikawa also stars as the platoon leader, who is haunted by the death of his father (Pat Noriyuki Morita) and the hardships on the wives and girlfriends left behind (Tamlyn Tomita and Emily Liu).

In 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, there were 5,000 Japanese Americans serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Overnight, these second-generation citizens were stripped of their official duties – simply because they looked like the enemy. On the mainland, 120,000 innocent men, women and children were rounded up and swept into remote internment camps, where they would remain behind barbed wire for the duration of the war.

Determined to prove their loyalty, the discharged Hawaiian Territorial Guardsmen of Japanese descent successfully petitioned the U.S. government to allow them to serve. These 1400 Hawaiian Nisei (second-generation Japanese-Americans) became the 100th Infantry Battalion. In July 1943, after rigorous training, they were sent to North Africa, then Italy. Fiercely courageous, they suffered so many casualties the 100th was soon dubbed the “Purple Heart Battalion.”

In June 1944, they were joined by the 442nd – comprised of Nisei volunteers from the internment camps and Hawaii – and proceeded to liberate five towns in Northern Italy. That September, they were shipped to Southern France and freed three more towns, before being recruited for what would become one of the top ten most important battles of World War II – the impossibly-dangerous rescue of the Texas “Lost Battalion.”

Two hundred and seventy-five men of the Texas’ 36th Division had been trapped for more than a week on a high plateau in France’s Vosges Mountains, surrounded by 7000 experienced German soldiers. Allied planes tried dropping them food and ammo, but the supplies kept rolling out of reach down the ridge. When attempts by much larger regular-Army units failed to break through, the 100th/442nd was ordered to finish the job. Though their ranks were already decimated and the Nisei were unimaginably exhausted, they spent four days and nights in brutal uphill hand-to-hand combat – while suffering frostbite and trench foot so severe they could hardly walk.

The Nisei saved 211 out of the 275 Texans, but suffered more than 800 casualties of their own. During two years of combat, their extraordinary valor resulted in an unparalleled 21 Medals of Honor, 9486 Purple Hearts, eight Presidential Citations, 53 Distinguished Service Crosses, 588 Silver Stars and 5200 Bronze Star Medals – making them the most decorated unit of their size and length of service in American military history.

A Mission From Buddha Production, “ONLY THE BRAVE” was produced by Karen Criswell, Eric Hayashi, and Jay Koiwai and funded in part by grants from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program and donations from families of veterans who served in the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service – spearheaded by the National Japanese American Historical Society.


After expenses are covered, the revenue from each $35 donation will be divided $25 to Lane Nishikawa for promotion of Only the Brave and $10 to APAHA and JACL for staging the play, The Gate of Heaven. The mission of APAHA is to promote the culture and heritage of Houston’s Asian/Pacific Americans through education and celebration – focusing on May, National Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. The mission of JACL is: To preserve the history and culture of Japanese-Americans through education. To protect the civil rights of Japanese-Americans and other people.

Only the Brave

The producers (Eric Hayashi, Karen Criswell and Jay Koiwai) of Only the Brave are seeking to raise the balance of $200,000 to sell the picture across all media forms and rights. We will be doing a process called a D.I. (digital intermediary) that will produce a High Definition “finish” master from which we can strike all other digital forms of output including cable, broadcast, satellite video playback tapes. We are also going to be doing a 35 mm tele-cine transfer to have a print ready with the purchase of the motion picture. We will do a final color correction during this time as well. In doing so we will have all our collateral materials complete for a sale to global markets. Producing marketing packages and ongoing costs attributable to screenings and the festivals that we have been playing make up the balance (Ongoing business and survival!) of the monies that we will need to get this into public distribution. I can say that the DI process by itself is more than $100,000!

The Gate of Heaven

APAHA and JACL-Houston are working to present the stage play, The Gate of Heaven, written by Lane Nishikawa and Victor Talmadge. The budget for this production is $35,000. $7,000 has already been raised by a grant from the City of Houston. The Gate of Heaven is a compelling story of friendship between two men of diverse backgrounds, Japanese-American soldier Kiyoshi “Sam” Yamamoto and Leon Ehrlich, an East European Jew rescued by Yamamoto from the Dachau concentration camp and the end of the Second World War.

The Gate of Heaven project examines the themes of coexistence. The play traces the bond between two people of diverse backgrounds and their journeys through the American experience. Hawaiian-born Sam maintains a strong sense of duty and patriotism, a war hero still marginalized by his country. Leon, a survivor whose community, family and very humanity were stripped away by the Nazis, struggles to find meaning in the new life he’s built in America.

The Gate of Heaven celebrates diversity by building a bridge of understanding between Japanese and Jewish American experience. The production recognizes the importance of ritual to a culture – and by presenting it as a play, itself a form of ritual, the authors offer a new ceremony to honor both the similarities and differences between Jewish and Japanese. The inclusion of kurokos, shakuhachi music and klezmer music in the play inspires the audience to recognize the similar journeys of each character, as their bond illustrates the enduring power of friendship to overcome adversity.

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