1979/1980 - Hito Hata: Raise the Banner

Duane Kubo and Robert Nakamura's HITO HATA: RAISE THE BANNER (1980) is VC's first foray into long-form narrative filmmaking. With production starting in 1979, the story is led by a cast including legendary APA acting luminaries as Mako, Pat Morita, and Yuki Shimoda, drew upon the realities of Little Tokyo redevelopment struggles throughout the 1970s and the displacement of longtime Japanese American residents as gentrification set in. This excerpt from the 94 minute film depicts the first meeting of Oda (Mako) and Tatsumi (Hiroshi Kashiwagi), two Issei laborers, during the 1934 Nisei Week Grand Parade. To execute this scene and others like it throughout the film required the consent and goodwill of local Little Tokyo businesses to allow street closures of Little Tokyo to allow filming — a policy that was rarely granted by Little Tokyo businesses even today.