Copyright 2014. Leonard Zane Productions.

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During World War II, the U.S. Office of War Information and the British Political Warfare Mission (BPWM) recruited Japanese Americans who had been partly educated in Japan to participate in their propaganda efforts. From a shared studio in Denver, a small group of them translated news reports from the New York Times and the Associated Press into Japanese, combined these reports into scripts, and recorded the scripts for broadcast. From Denver, the programs were transmitted to San Francisco, where they were recorded onto special vinyl-coated glass discs and aired via shortwave radio to Japan. Filmmaker Ono provides a fascinating examination of this little-known program through interviews with many of the participants, who describe their work and their living conditions. Isolated from other Japanese American internees, the group developed close bonds as they faced resentment and prejudice from the community around them. For Ono, the story is a deeply personal one: his father, Sam Masami Ono, worked as an announcer for the BPWM. VERDICT This small group of U.S. citizens provided a vital service to their country, and their story deserves to be more widely known.

Recommended for all libraries.

This documentary tells the unheralded story about a group of Japanese Americans who as civilians served America during World War II, even as their families and friends were incarcerated in concentration camps. This one-of-a-kind story is now depicted for the first time in history. While the battle records of Japanese American soldiers are now legendary, little is known about the vital role played by these U.S. citizens who did language translation work and short-wave radio broadcasting to Japan, assisting in the war efforts of Britain and the USA. Through actual recordings and first-person interviews with the participants of those broadcasts, Calling Tokyo is a fascinating documentary of a unique effort to help hasten the end of the war.​

Watch the First 6 Minutes Below!

CALLING TOKYO telecast by PBS stations in May 2014


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