THE CATS OF MIRIKITANI


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This comment area is closed to new submissions. Visit ITVS.org to continue the conversation about this film.

Read an update on Jimmy Mirikitani on The Film page. Visit the filmmaker's Web site for contact information for Jimmy Mirikitani and news about the availability of his artwork.

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9/6/2010
Laura
Astoria, OR

such a moving and inspiring film and a testament to a horrifically shameful chapter of american history. and working from anger to light is a hard thing to do and not everyone gets to experience it. i appreciated experiencing it through jimmy. a brilliant film that i hope inspires people for a long long time.


7/6/2010
J.R. Marrero
New York, NY

I was truly touched by Jimmy Mirikitani, in every sense of the word. To me, he embodies the power of Creativity and how life sustaining it could be. I have never experienced this type of friendship with anyone, yet what a great example of what friendship and humanity should be. Most of us are in search of meaning and answers to life, this documentary informs us on many levels. Both Jimmy and Linda are pure delight and yes the artist in me has been resuscitated. Thank you J.R.M.


5/3/2010
Lillie
New York, NY

Thank you -from my heart for this beautiful film.


5/2/2010
Poppy

i caught the program this morning on my out back to do yard work. it stopped me in my tracks and there i sat, on my couch in my grubby clothes and my flowered gardenig gloves still on, so sad i was crying but amazed and proud of this man. he is truely a unique human. my father-in-law faught in WWII and Korea. i have listened to his harrowing stories and watched the pain on his face. It was a wonderful learning expierence for me to hear Mr.Mirikitani's words as well. His art has inspired me to forgo my yard work today and practice my sketching. Thank you Jimmy Mirikitan for sharing your art and some of your stories with the public and thank you PBS for existing and showing that program.


5/2/2010
Joysprings
Berkeley, CA

This was a truly beautiful and inspiring story like many I have seen on Independent lens. It reminds me of the greatness and ability to create art that each of us are endowned with, although some are more talented than others. I also loved the poetic way that Jimmie summed up his return to Tule Lake. As a California resident, African American and history teacher, it makes me want to go there. Maybe the day will come when we that were robbed of our family, heritage and prior history will have the same opportunitiy to forgive and reclaim our true selfs as well. Much love and deep and sincere respect to Sensie JM.


03/23/2009
Doreen

I watched THE CATS OF MIRIGITANI with a lump in my throat. It speaks to me of how one person can make a difference. Linda reached out to Jimmy, not imagining where the road would lead. It led to liberation, friendship, forgiveness, closure, recognition, reunion, reclaimed citizenship. The film both a gift and lesson to all of us. It should be part of our high school education. Thank you PBS, INDEPENDENT LENS, Linda and Jimmy.

03/21/2009
mami suzuki
brooklyn, ny

Linda is one amazing person. This story should be watched at every school. Mirikitani san is one great artist. They inspire me to do something more to the society. I know that people do things for reasons and based on the experiences and environments that they have had in the past. We often see only the results or status of things. This story tells you beyond the surface. We all should try to see more deeper levels. Each terrorist has their own stories of why they are what they are. If we try to feel for each other a little more, we can be a little closer to each other. love, peace, and art


09/19/2008
Dirk Blanchart
Gent, Belgium (Europe)

I just saw The cats of Mirikitani on Dutch television & I was deeply moved by it. It is a truly beautiful hommage to friendship. Makes me realise that I should spend more time with my father while that's still possible. I'm a musician and one could say that the art of music sculpted me as a human being. I had some true friendships with elderly people, but I guess I was too young & ambitious & restless at the time to really understand the deeper meaning and depth of those friendships. But in hindsight, I really cherish them as being of great value and importance in my life.

8/7/07
Fort Worth, TX

I thank you for this movie. It is testament to art, to transformation, and to a human spirit's ability to survive against all odds.

I am a survivor of a very different sort of trauma, and I was struck deeply by Sensei Mirikitani's words at the end of the film. I want to remember them. I am disabled and can't afford the DVD, and I don't have the ability to stop or record shows. Is it possible to get a transcript of those last few lines?

If I remember them correctly, they began like this:
"I'm not mad any more, you know.
Just passing through.
Passing through memory..."
Perhaps that is the essence of healing: not to forget, but to touch, to pass through, and to return to this moment.

07/22/2008

If I ever meet linda Hattendorf I will give her a big hug and kiss, truly a delightful and thought provoking documentarie on artist Jimmy Mirikitany and his life and art. 1- To answer your questions I think all the injustice that come mainly from plain evil, cowardice as well as ignorance and fear can best be prevented by courageus people like linda Hattendorf sheding a spotlight that bring about documentaries that while works of art to be enjoyed also forces people to confront that which people often chooses to keep in the dark and not to think about, but that must be acknowledge and understood in order to prevent similar situations that lead to human and civil rights violations.

2- Art has been God sent to me, even from the time I was a small child I would amaze people with my talent in Art, then I came to America full of dreams from Bolivia when I was 13 to live with an aunt who had asked for me, I thought she could help me, instead she was extremely physically abusive to me, I was a servant to her family and she behaved with a hatred towards me I never understood. Now even at 43 years old, I am barely now trying to better understand just how inmensely the damaging efects of verbal and physical abuse this woman caused in my life. Even though from the time I arrive at her house until a ran away I did not realise that I had not escape the effects of that abuse that for many years after have changed my life. I ended up homeless for many years and gone through many trials. a pastor recently helped me find a place to live of my own here in Svannah GA. very small but is still the only home I've seen in many years. Art has been my refuge from the beginning till present, All through my wonderings to and fro few people have seen my art and their reaction is extremely positive many times telling me they would be rich if they had my talent. However I have never known what to do with my Art other than along my past wonderings give it away along the way, as I do not know what to do with it once I finish, I ju st draw more and continue drawing. I thank God for my Art that has allowed me to want to live and has allowed me to bring small joys to others along the way and has help me search for forgiveness for the hurt done to me. I certainly agree with Jimmy, " make Art not war" motto, yes indeed Art has influenced my life and has been a life saver. but also left me with what ifs.

3-Unfortunately I have not enjoyed a special kind of frienship with noone, as I have mostly kept to myself. God bless.

06/03/2008
D. Cartmer
Ontario, Canada

Brilliant. I came in part way through it on Independent Lens and have been telling everyone about it ever since.

05/22/2008
Tanumba
Troy, NY

Perhaps Linda is the reincarnation of that little boy who followed Jimmy around at Lake Tule...the ghost boy come back to help Jimmy find the path to wellness. What a wonderful film...missed the beginning but was immediately PULLED into the story. One can always see their culture through the eyes of an outsider and Jimmy was forced into that role by America. And to know he found his sister...what a GREAT story!! Thank you!

05/15/2008
clay binkley

Thank you. Very moving and well done!

05/15/2008

Well done and beautifully told. Mirikatani-san is a great artist and it is a privilege to be able to watch him come to terms with his past and the tragic and bleak circumstances he found himself in so long ago. This is a humbling experience to witness. Thank you for sharing and showing this. I am grateful to have learned from it and inspired to be more than I am as a person and an artist. How many more sad and brutal experiences will people force upon others before they learn that we are all one? The answer is not in revenge or power but in ourselves and to see ourselves in others is the way to peace.

05/15/2008

I find myself deeply disturbed by some of the comments I have been reading in relation to Jimmy's attitude toward his internment and the U.S. government in general. As it may have only been three and half years that he physically spent in illegal detainment, it was emotionally a great deal more. It's not like this was an excuse to get away. He and many others were forced by a supposedly "peoples government" to be rounded up like cattle with no regard for their civil liberties and rights. This should never be forgotten. The danger of this type of thinking is that it can be directed toward anyone. In a way, with the passage of the Patriot Act and other measures to limit our civil rights, it already has. Furthermore my great grandmother's last name was Ulheimer, which is about as German as you can get. Neither she nor any of her family were ever looked on with any kind of suspicion much less forced to live in a camp. Jimmy's anger is quite warranted. This experience has obviously affected the course of his whole life in ways that no one who hasn't been through it can imagine. I wish Jimmy well and am glad I got to experience his story if only just a little

05/15/2008

Wow! This was an amazing & touching indi film! It hit me on so many levels. I had to tell everyone I know about it. Linda & Jimmy give me hope for human goodness.

05/15/2008

I just want to say thank you, to Linda Hattendorf for her kindness, patience and talent. Thank you for sharing your experience with the world, it gives me hope to see that in such a large and unforgiving city there are people who care. Jimmy's story is so moving it was very healing to see a man change so late in his life. Again my deepest thanks for placing a small but very bright light in my life. Peace for All

05/13/2008

Well done and beautifully told. Mirikatani-san is a great artist and it is a privilege to be able to watch him come to terms with his past and the tragic and bleak circumstances he found himself in so long ago. This is a humbling experience to witness. Thank you for sharing and showing this. I am grateful to have learned from it and inspired to be more than I am as a person and an artist. How many more sad and brutal experiences will people force upon others before they learn that we are all one? The answer is not in revenge or power but in ourselves and to see ourselves in others is the way to peace.

05/12/2008
Patrick McCauley
Baltimore

I'd just seen this marvelous film for the third time -- twice in 2007 and tonight's rerun on Maryland Public TV. I believe it should be broadcast as often as feasible, as, hopefully, a lesson for my and all future generations.I am some twenty-five years younger than Mr. Mirikitani, however I clearly identified with him, even as a somewhat ashamed U.S. Army Veteran of Vietnam. Thank you all (especially Ms. Hattendorf) for your kind efforts to produce this film. Ms. Hattendorf'd kindnesses toward Mr. Mirikitani warms my heart every time I think that such beautiful kind souls exist. 05/12/2008

This film is special because of the window it provides into a seemingly simple man's loneliness. What initially seems like an impenetrable barrier is suddenly breached by Linda's willingness to listen, and not force her suggestions like getting social security for Jimmy without his wanting it. A sensitive and touching movie about 2 sensitive, deep souls. A-1 in my book.

05/12/2008

Thanks for an outstanding show on the Japanese artist of New York who was imprisoned during WWII. And special thanks to Linda, the producer, who not only did an outstanding job, but whose kindness touched me deeply. May she forever be protected and successful.

01/15/2008
Enfield, C

Woke up at 3 a.m. and could'nt get to sleep, turned on the TV and saw this film. What a Brilliant work of art and inspiration to all. Makes Television worth watching. Thanks to all involved who made this story possible.

01/15/2008
Enfield, C

Woke up at 3 a.m. and could'nt get to sleep, turned on the TV and saw this film. What a Brilliant work of art and inspiration to all. Makes Television worth watching. Thanks to all involved who made this story possible.

01/08/2008
Nevilla E. Ottley

Such an unbelievably wonderful documentary. They way that Linda Hattendorf would take a bent over old artist, broken and bitter by the injustices of this country in the past--to trust to bring him into her home and life, take care of him, and see him develop at the age of 80-82 from an old man to a man with purpose (teaching art), with hope (having his own home and art studio), with family (reuniting with his absolutely beautiful sister), see him walking straight with comfort in his heart, a smile on his handsome face, and finally coming "home" to Tule Lake where he could put his past to rest.


7/25/07
Michael Healy
Newport Rhode Island

What an absolutely stunning documentary. I was riveted to it. I cried and laughed, there was such poignancy to this piece. Not only should this win awards,the filmmaker showed such a Christian/Human side that it was truly moving. It was like watching a miracle unfold.The most moving piece I have ever watched, can't stop thinking about it. Kudos!!

7/25/07
Maureen H D Dooley
Providence, RI

This is by far one of Independent Lens' masterpieces.**

This talented, intelligent, resourceful and resilient treasure maintained his determination to live via his art, personal beliefs and fierce determination and the comfort of his ability to see beyond his surroundings. What good fortune that this marvelous art instructor and filmmaker found encountered him and were generous in their largesse, whilst respecting his wishes. I can still recall my own disbelief when I learned of these internments as a college students; and have been outraged again with each renewal via article or film ( or legal case ) that I have become aware of. The film maker's presentation and skill in using select images is masterful. Few have the social sensitivity or selective intelligent to present the salient, inclusive facts without sacrificing the artistic visual and narrative jewels. My unusual frienships were with two older Jewish women (when I was in my twenties) who explained much about their traditional lives, religion and also their family experience with the Holocaust. This leads me to question: Why is there not a Nobel Prize for both fine art, and the composite visual arts...? Perhaps this is another historic omission that need to be addressed by all of us. Continue to locate such excellent documentaries.

5/31/07
Don Daminger

This is one of the best indenpent films I have ever seen. Linda Hattendorf should get an award at a film fest. How do we get her nominated. God bless her and Jimmy.

5/29/07
Jon
HI

This was an absolutely great show. I cannot express the feelings I had while watching. Although my family is mainly in Hawaii, I have heard stories of the terrible conditions in those camps. Most Japanese- Americans in Hawaii were not required to go to an internment camp, but a few did. It is amazing to see this man facing the world with only his pride and talent. I thought his works of art were great. I remembered stories my dad would tell me of how they were treated during the war. Thank you very much for this great film!!

5/29/07
Jim Stratemeyer
Baltimore

I need someone like Ms. Hattendorf to find me and help me out and have an "Independent Lens" feature made about my work. I wish she would have found me in 2001 when I was homeless. But, what is historically interesting about being just another U.S citizen, over-the-hill, umemployable, white male artist? Just ain't eccentric enough I guess. I gotta find a better gimmick.

5/29/07
Maridol Garcia-Joy
Alexandria, VA

Art, as a vehicle to express his emotions saved his soul......

5/24/07
Anna Harrington
Fort Worth, TX

I would like to express my gratitude to all involved in the making of this documentary. I am a champion of peace and world citizenship. Educational formats, such as these documentaries, have allowed me to further my internal awareness. I am able to better understand the plight of humanity and open myself up to improvement and change. Please know these films are instrumental in experiencing the past in order to prepare for a better future. Thank you for giving me the tools of understaning, compassion, and the desire for change.

5/24/07
JWC
NY NY

I was stunned by the story of Mr. Mirikitani! First of all, he looks like a man a take of every morning who is the same age as he. He too was in the camps. The next morning after watching, I told him about it, and asked him which camp he had been in - he was in Arkansas, although he was born and grew up in Fresno. This man had been an actor, and the first thing you see when you walk into his apartment is a large, large, poster of the movie he had been in with Gregory Peck.

Watching this film, I suddenly understood him better. I was struck by the fact that the Internment was the Holocaust for the Japanese, and that like my friends who had had family in the German camps, they knew little about their lives there. What they dealt with were the reactions, the coping behavior of those traumatized, without fully understading what the behavior meant. Mr. H's family deals with the fallout of his feeling that somehow, and I understood this better from the film, he was never quite good enough, that no matter what he did, no matter how hard he tried, he was Japanese, and he had been tainted. When a group experiences a trauma, there is a lingering sense of shame and humiliation - as though they had done something wrong, but can't quite figure out what it is, and therefore can never quite right it.

His favorite word is "dummy". And he says that about himself or anyone else who has annoyed him. (We have come to an agreement that he can't call me that). His "failure" from his point of view, of not becoming a great and known actor, is that he was not smart enough, although his collection of books and artifacts belie that. He also taught at University. Yet the feeling of inadequacy persisted and, at the age of 88 this year, still does.

Mr. Mirikitani apparently did not marry or produce children, so his bitterness at his treatment, that although he was a born American, he was treated like a hated foreigner, did not spill into and onto another generation. My guess is that the experience, which separated him from his sister, the only other family he had in the US, left him completely unattached, unable to recreate a family for himself. He probably never saw his parents again. To be rounded up and put away, suddenly would be life-affecting. I can imagine that those Japanese who experienced it could never be sure it would never happen again.

There is more thinking to be done about this story. I am glad it was presented.

5/24/07
Ms. Holly G

A film like this one does not encompass words to match the feelings it gave me. What an extrodinary story to come from 9/11. It's a miracle. This film can heal anyone's spirit and I thank you for allowing me to live it also.

5/21/07
PBS Viewer
New Jersey

I absolutely enjoyed this independent lens documentary. I was disappointed to see it end in an hour. I was hoping to see more details of Jimmy's past and struggles in New York City. It was definitely inspiring and emotional. I hope you continue to bring forth such programming and even provide an encore presentation but with the director's cut.

5/21/07
Steve foster
Columbus, Ohio

Incredible story of an incredible person. Thank you for your presentation. His passion for life, his ancestry, and his life's gift and pursuit of art is very humbling.

5/21/07
Douglas Zook

...an absolutely brilliant film. in a sense, perhaps one of the greatest anti-war films ever made. poignant and unforgetable. thank you to linda and masa and of course master artist mirikitani.

5/21/07
Mary Gallagher
Brookline, MA

The Jimmy Miriditani's passion to create art was at the heart of this wonderful film. Throughout, I was saddened by what seemed a somewhat patronizing way of interacting with him and his art shown by the various helping professionals Linda contacted. So, I was thrilled to find out that he has actually received some of the critical attention his art deserves. I wish something about his exhibitions had been included in the film. It is not surprising that Jimmy did not "get over it". The internments in the US differ from those elsewhere because the internees were US citizens, not "foreigners." Until Linda came into his life, Jimmy thought he had been deprived of his US citizenship, which makes his resistance to claiming Social Security understandable. I wonder how many of us would have persevered in the face of such a betrayal by our own government. The return of his citizenship and reunion with his family is what will allow him to forgive and "move on," as his statements toward the end of the film make clear.

5/21/07
Melissa Beaver
Bethany, Oklahoma

The friendship between Jimmy and Linda touched me deeply. Linda's open heart changed the course of Jimmy's life along with her own. She made many sacrifices and in the end has educated thousands of people of America's history and the pain that was caused to our Japanese American country men and women.

Thank you, Linda, for the beautiful gift you have given the world.

Thank you, Jimmy, for your beautiful art and for allowing us to know you and follow you on your journey back to the internment camp (prison) and your huge heart and forgiveness for the most painful history you had to endure. You are a beautiful man.

My love to you both. Melissa Beaver along with Oliver and Bunny, my two special furry, beloved cats.

5/21/07
Barry
Austin TX

An incredible portrait of the power of art and the resilience of the human spirit! We flipped onto the program, immediately quit whatever we were doing at the time, and submerged ourselves in Jimmy's story.
For those who would decry Jimmy's anger at the US government "all those years ago" and suggest that he should get over it and just move on, I would offer that the murder of Jesus "all those years ago" is even further in the past and therefore at least just as irrelevant to our future...

5/21/07
Marjorie Murphey-Camacho
Austin, TX

So grateful for public television! Please make this film The Cats of Mirikitani available for more viewing.
This film illustrates what happens when one truly listens to another with an open mind and heart: healing of old wounds, thereby being enabled to more healthfully participate in everyday life. I work with elderly and disabled folks who are all hoping to meet someone like Linda who pays attention to them! What a difference in this world if we all slowed down and opened our hearts to those less fortunate than us. My work is devoted to those like Jimmy, so this film is life affirming for me and all of us "soldiers" of human and social services....nurses, educators, social workers, caregivers.... Thank you for this film! I have to get a copy to share!

5/17/07
Ken
Austin, Tx

Touching film about a man and his relationship with his art, his past, the woman who decided to help him off the street, and what to do with the rest of his life. But ask yourself, did the Japanese inter Americans and Brits who were in Japan? Did the Germans and Italians give free passage to foreigners, then pass judgement of what the US government did in the case of internment.

5/17/07
Wesley Patton
Tyler, Texas

Just watched The Cats of Mirikitani this week on PBS. It was very interesting and like everyone else I felt very sad for this poor old man and happy that someone found him and took care of him. I'm happy to know that he now has his SS income, a cute apartment of his own, people to call friends, people to praise his work, and that he will have a full tummy and be safe off the streets. I'm sorry our country did that to the Japanese people who were citizens here. I'm glad his final years will be so much better.

That being said, I was really shocked to find out he was complaining about 3 1/2 years of his life that occurred nearly 60 years ago. I got tired of hearing him put down the U.S. and say nasty things about our country as if this all happened yesterday. It should have been time to move on and leave it behind a few decades ago. I know people who went through the camps like he did and I don't hear the ugly comments like he said. How long do we have to go beating ourselves on the chest and saying we're sorry? It happened, it was ugly, we hope it NEVER happens again. But cursing the U.S. after all this time isn't acceptable to me.

All the people who were in the camps received payments of something like $20,000 each back in the 80's to help repay them for what they lost. Did Mr. Mirikitani receive his money or did anyone research if he could get it? I'd like to have heard his answer if they offerred to send him back to live out his final years in Japan.

5/17/07
Wesley Patton
Tyler, Texas

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5/17/07
Jules
Austin, TX

Wow. Although I confess I am an artist with an occasional tendancy toward self pity, I am certain I am cured. Thank you Linda, for inviting us into your home along with Jimmy. You both exemplify the kind of humans I would aspire to be, as well as the kind of artists I could only hope to emulate. Your works are moving.

5/17/07
June Shimokawa
Honolulu, Hawaii

Since seeing it on Independent Lens last week,this film has been playing over and over in my mind. More than anything else, I was deeply touched by the friendship between Mirikitani and Hattendorf. Surely it was her compassion which drew Jimmy out and gave him the medium to tell his story as he wanted it said. And with that compassion came justice. Hattendorf connected all the dots - restoring his sense of self, his dignity, access to social security and a place to live where he could be surrounded with his life work, to re-connect with his family, find peace with "Tule Lake" ("Not mad anymore; passing through memory; ghost people very good to me; sleeping better...") - that's a life-restoring, priceless friendship! Truly a testament to peace-making. A thousand thanks to Linda Hattendorf and her colleagues. Mahalo nui loa from a most appreciative Nisei (2nd generation Japanese American).

5/16/07
Norman Mizuno
Haiku, Hawaii

I don' know where to start.....The film was fabalous!......I had wished that I had meet Mr. Mirikitani when I lived in New York.......My mothers entire family was taken from Stockton, Ca. and sent to Rohr, Ak......I know very little about it because my mother did not want to talk much about it.....she was a teacher in the camp and I have since been able to get a governent photo of her.....3 years ago I found out thru the museum in LA. that my mother's family was sent to the camp under a name that I had never known....Namimoto ......I am not very good at computers so I have not been able to get any more information about my mother or the rest of the relatives that were in the camp.....It is wonderful that Linda Hattendorf has been so helpful to Jimmy as the impact of the war was very hard on many people and there families.

I tried to have life in art in New York for 23 years but obviously I was not as dedicated as Jimmy Mirikitani.......I admire him greatly! for his dedication to art....It is very difficult to survive in a community like New York with many racial preducies. When I moved to NY. in 1987 there were many resturants that I was not welcome in........The Village had very few Asian people....it also made it difficult because I was GAY.

Gay Asian Men were not welcome in White, Black or Hispanic Clubs....and since I had very little money I couldn't join the Hip Art Groups.Jimmy's motto "make art not war" is something I also have always wanted as I was a protester of the Vietnam War and refused to go to it......I also refused to join the ROTC while in school. I wish was a strong in conviction as Jimmy.....I am happy for him and that his life is better now.

5/16/07
MG WRIGHT
San Diego, CA

I hope Mr. Mirikitani reads the messages posted here. I was perched on the edge of tears throughout the program. I am an artist, and I have struggled too. I have been homeless at times, and homeless people are still my friends. Now I am lucky enough to have a nice old house to live in, but I will never forget what I learned when I was homeless. To see this GEM of a man, huddled under an old store awning, generating his brilliant pictures REGARDLESS of whether he has an address or not. That is the power of creativity. In 60 years since the time of the internment camps, and all he has seen and been through, and the bombing of Japan in World War 2. It makes me ASHAMED to be here in the U.S. to be a citizen of such ugly evil karma. WE GOT WHAT WAS COMING TO US ON SEPTEMBER 11th!! God was MERCIFUL ON US, only destroying two big ugly refrigerator-shaped boxes in lower manhattan. If the terrorists had done 9/11 american-style, they would have sunk the whole island of manhattan and been PROUD and HAPPY to brag about it. This film of Mr. Mirikitani should be playing somewhere in the new 9/11 memorial center at all times. HIS STORY IS THE MIRROR IMAGE OF WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE UNITED STATES.

The way this country wastes talent is a disgrace. The art world is such a pyramid of snobbery. All these stuck-up people making fools of themselves as they reject the "UNKNOWNS" and leave them to sleep on sidewalks. We as a culture are the height of crass commercialism, yet ironically, the people who are the brightest producers of unique hand-done arts and crafts get tossed in the trash unless they have all sorts of credentials--university degrees, art contest blue ribbons, tons of big-dollar sales. We make GARBAGE OUT OF ART AND ART OUT OF GARBAGE, because we have lousy taste and skewed values. Meanwhile, we go on bombing Iraq, staring numbly at documentaries about Iraqis who had their limbs blown off. This country better get a CLUE immediately, before something WORSE than 9/11 hits us. I LOVE stories that MARK THE PASSING OF LONG PERIODS OF TIME. Mr. Mirikitani has been doing his artwork all his life, since his face was smooth and his hair jet-black. And 60 YEARS LATER, he FINALLY GETS A BREAK! All it took was one person to break through all the layers of separation between the classes in order to really SEE the life-energy vibrating in Mirikitani's work.

And, as he says, all the anger is passing through his memory. Artists should not have to go through HELL in order to do their work! The ARTS must get more funding and support services than ever before so that the U.S. can BE as special as most americans THINK we are!

5/16/07
Anne Lambert
Athens, WV

I began watching this film one evening, thinking it was about cats. I discovered that is was about an extraordinary man and a devoted journalist, whose determination to better Jimmy's life exceeded expectations. So often we hear about the negatives of journalists--in your face, insensitive, by-line oriented, etc. This film gave insight into how you COULD use the power of the press/camera to make a significant difference in your subject's reality.

In a National Writing Project summer institute in 2001 at Marshall University in WV, one of our presenters was connected to the internment camps. She brought with her an awareness of the indignities and intolerance these camps created. It was beyond comprehension that AMERICANS would imprison AMERICANS based on their outer appearance or nationality. Pots calling kettles black seemed the trite comment. I am using this in my Journalism class this week. We have spent the past few weeks discussing SOCIAL JOURNALISM. I have managed to find more than adequate print examples of how journalists adopt causes and create awareness/change. This will give them a chance to see how a film can create awareness/change. To be honest, it felt so very intimate and "in the moment" that I often expected to become part of the scene; it felt as if their reality had merged with mine. I will write back again once my students view this lovely journalistic piece. Thank you for putting such a piece on your station.

5/16/07
Donald Leonard
Fort Mitchell, Kentucky

Thank you for opening your home to Jimmy. I had a bad feeling when I saw the date on the screen. Aside from the incredible life he suffered and thirived through, the most fascinating part was watching the reaction in his eyes as he watched the news reports about the way Muslims and Middle Eastern descendents were being treated. Again history repeats itself in two ways. One, how the government ignores the information to save lives, and Two, that Americans are so quick to persecute and discriminate on an emotional wave.

5/16/07
Maureen
New York, NY

I used to see Jimmy when he was living under the awning of deli near me. I once offered him money and he refused to take it, and was so offended by my offer that he then wouldn't allow me to buy a piece of his artwork. I went home and put some of my own art supplies in a bag and left it beside his shopping cart. I wondered what happened to him after 9/11 and was very moved to see this film. At first I thought it was my history with Jimmy that got my attention, but the film is quite remarkable. Linda is to commended not only as a film-maker telling an incredible story, but also for her compassion in not only rescuing Jimmy but literally saving his life.

5/16/07

The Cats of Mirikitani is a moving and honest story of the real life experience of an extraordinary man. What a brave, brilliant person Mr. Mirikitani is. The beautifully caputured images in his art seem so serene, playful and downright happy; despite the many reasons one could argue that he has for anger, sadness and bitterness. I was so moved by the almost immediate flickering of hope this film captured that grew as the friendship & trust between Linda & Jimmy evolved. Thank you Linda Hattendorf and thank you Jimmy Mirikitani.

5/16/07
Paul G.& Mildred E. Miller
Ellensburg, Wa.

I caught Jimmy's story about half way through the first time and the next time nearly from the first part. By the end of his story I found that I loved the person of Jimmy Mirikitani and his spirit for life. Everyone should be so clean of heart. His art is as beautiful as his spirit. My wife loved the film also and was very touched by it. Films like this should be the rule in tv instead of the exception. This type of programming would benefit young students much more than what they normally watch.

I am a self taught artist and took a few classes. My best original work is done in latch hook as the finished product. It can be seen at www.angelfire.com/la/latchhook/ if anyone is interested. I would be honored to have Jimmy see some of my work but his art is superb. I am 68 years old so I was a youngster during WWII but I do remember those dark years. Jimmy has added a brightness to those times. Thank you Jimmy and Linda for your work and lives.

5/16/07
Kevin
Euless, Tx

I've seen a number of the Independent Lens programs and I thoroughly enjoy most of them. The Cats of Mirikitani is my absolute favorite. This film said so much. So very much without forcing any kind of statement... political, moral, or whatever. This film just unfolds into an absolutely wonderful story that is so relaxed and... well... speaks for itself. I would have to give this one 6 out of 5 stars. A ridiculous rating but this beautiful documentary just surpassed any expectation that I could have for a film.

5/16/07
Gabriel Francois
Bloomington, Minnesota

Your show was moving and educational exhibit, the true American spirit of kindness offered by Linda (unconditional love. More so, importantly as learning tool we must revisit where we have been, and have done as nation. After all what make America a great country is our constitution. Thank you Linda for helping Jimmy to reach to a closure.

5/16/07
Laurie Hattendorf-Johnson
Cincinnati, OH

Mr. Wheeler wrote on May 14th that he wondered if Linda would have done what she did had it not been on film. I can honestly say with affirmation, YES. Linda is a kind person who would have taken Jimmy in after 9/11 regardless of filming him. She has a peaceful soul and I am honored to be her sister.

5/16/07
Julie

I make it a point to watch Independent Lens every Sunday evening and I am so glad that I did last night. It moved me to tears to see the compassion in Linda to bring this man into her home and the peacefulness that shown on Jimmy's face as the bus left Tule Lake. It was like he was offering forgiveness. If this man, who has been through so much in his life, can feel peace and forgiveness- we all have so much to learn from him.

5/16/07
Laura Izuno
Novato, CA

My family was very quiet about their time spent at Tule Lake and what took place during and after internment. Like the stoic Samurai of my heritage, it was best not to dwell on negatives and not to complain...not even share stories. Having seen this touching and captivating documentary helped me understand at a very deep level what my Issei grandfather, my Nissei grandmother and their two sons (my late father Herbert and my uncle Gene)went through and why I heard so little about the atrocities. Thank you so much for this very personal story.

5/14/07
Kay
Hawaii

The story of Jimmy Mirikitani was moving. Learned more about historical turns and twists. Linda was very gentle toward this "lost" Jimmy who was so proud. He did not lose the deepest human dignities. Quiet, which is not American way, and taking whatever coming to his way. Thank you Linda and PBS.

5/14/07
DYLAN RIVIS
MONTPELIER VT

I was very moved by Jimmy's story on many levels. I always know when a film maker, like Linda, has succeeded in touching me when, after the film is over, I 'am' that person portrayed and, as in this case find myself shuffling around the apartment as Jimmy did,feeling as if I am in his skin and seeing my own abode as being a creative environment, representing all of my own colors.

I truly missed seeing more of the reunion with his sister but it was made up by seeing Jimmy's transformation when he made his prayer and flower offering to his relatives at Tule Lake.

I am in the process of revisiting much of my own life. There is something to be gotten by revisiting the places of our past.The places have enormous power over us , almost as repositories of our memories.


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