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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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Jeff Wheeler


L. Friedman

Harigato Mr. Mirikitani
As an artist myself also from a very young age I very much admire your courage and onvictions; especially your convictions toward peace through your art.(I have always tried to walk that path too in my own way.) You have always managed to stay true to yourself thru much misfortune.

Your art touched me very much. You are a National Treasure with one foot in Japan and another in America. We are very lucky to have you. I am happy that you have been reunited with your sister. And were able to release your ghosts and make peace with yourself and them at Tule Lake.
You helped give me courage tonight to keep standing up against injustice all around us here in the U.S.

Long life to you and Thank You.

Nina Jo Hoover
Felton, Pa

I just watched the film about Jimmy and his art and Linda and her cat, and was so overwhelmed on so many levels. To think Jimmy lived on the streets for so many years and no one but Linda could see the beauty in Jimmy and his art. What a physical change in Jimmy when he lived with Linda, you could see him rise up out of himself. He was standing so straight at the end of the film. His courage and grace overwhelmed me. That we all could have half the hummanness that Jimmy showed. The film reinforces my belief in the human spirit raising above lifes experiences with dignity. I wonder how many more "Jimmys" are out there in the world. I know that I for one will look at people differently. Thank You so much PBS and Indepedent Lens.

Vancouver, BC

I was very touched after watching The Cats of Mirikitani just a few minutes ago. I just had to searched up more information about the documents. Mr. Mirikitani is truely a wonderful artist. His life experience and not money or fame inspire his arts. I too love to paint but has never created any art that shows my experience. Mr. Mirikitani has inspired me to tell my life story and experience in my art from now on. Mr. Mirikitani is right about art being commercialized. I was heading toward that path, but thanks to Mr.Mirikitani, I'm no longer on that path.

Tom Miller
Collinsville, Illinois

Linda, what a trickster you are, the teaser for the film describes it as the story of a homeless man whom paints cats.

When in reality it is a zen tale of the story of humanity and our willingness to connect with one another, to cry, to feel to work and finally to forgive heal and live!

Thanks to you and Jimmy M. for making me happy to be alive in a confusing world.

Bravo, fellow travelers!

5/14/07 Alan Owens Ann Arbor, Michigan

This is a story where government-the Federal government-can learn from its mistakes. "The Cats of Mirikitani" is a true story about an artist whom lost everything to World War II and an American Interment camp for Japanese Americans. The artist, Mirikitani is a master artist. To 9/11 he says it is the same story about the Federal Government-"the stupid government."

But this elderly master artist is found in New York City by a young lady whom takes him into her apartment. Because of the interment the artist lost his American citizenship. The young lady finds he got his citizenship back and gets him a social security check and apartment. I hope this indicates the Federal government has learned from it's mistakes. We all can learn from this story.


This was a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful film. I am a writer so my medium is different, but I know firsthand how difficult it is to create something so original, human, and deeply moving. The treatment, the personalities and the story are all inspirational. I will carry it with me for some time. Thank you.

Des Moines, IA

This was a great film! very moving and educating. Thank you to Linda for making this film, Jimmy for sharing his art, heart, & soul, and Indenpendent Lens/Public Television for allowing me to see this wonderful film!

Lou Claudio
Safety Harbor, FL

An elegantly simple film-story with an overwhelmingly powerful message...it's been a long time since I've been so touched and moved by a film. To me, the story was as much about Linda's compassion for a fellow traveler thru life as it was about Jimmy...how many of us would take a homeless guy off the street and into our home? Technically...bravo for the close-ups! What those eyes have seen...Hiroshima, Tule Lake, WTC on 9/11...a lot of pain in those eyes ("The horror, the horror!"). After a grim start (homeless on a cold street), in the end Jimmy puts ghosts to rest and releases his anger, finds a home, has old friends by, and is reunited with family. Living with pessimism of the intellect but optimism of the will, I am renewed and re-nourished by this film. Well done, Linda and crew, and my profound thanks. Warm regards, Lou

Joannie granger

Dear Linda....
Just writing to tell you how much I got out of watching your film. Also out of my eyes came tears. All of a sudden I remember as a 10-year old child in Studio City California, when our elderly Japanese gardner came to us with tears in his eyes (and ours) to tell us he and his family were being taken away somewhere in the desert beecause they were "dirty japs" I idn't understand it then, I don't understand it now. American is not the shining land it once? was? We are doing it again (see Gitmo)

Browning, Montana

I love the show I don't watch PBS as much as I like but this program immediately caught my attention Because of the fabulous artwork. I'm going to recommend this program to a friend of mine just because its shot beautifully. Kudos to Mr. Mirikitani for fabulous artwork.

Doug Hensley
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

A marvelous film: inspiring, touching, life changing. By this film the artist (Jimmy Miritikani) and his patron (Linda) have moved the world just a little bit closer to civilization and humanity. A wonderful and important bundle of lessons which can teach us how to live if we will just listen and try.

T. A.
San Diego, CA

Thank you Mr. Mirikitani, Ms. Hattendorf, and PBS for sharing this life story. You could not see a real story like this in any other tv channel, only PBS and that's why appreciate them so much. This is such a profound story, it touched me very deeply.

Deanna Vickers
Nicholasville, Kentucky

My boyfriend and I truly enjoyed this inspirational, uplifting story about Mr.Mirikitani. His artwork spoke to my heart, and brought back warm memories of my father, who also lived through a war period, and truly loved cats. I visited the New York city area in 2002, and I sure would have loved to have met Mr. Mirikitani. I was so pleased to see that at the end of the film he was able to visit his sister. It brought tears to my eyes. I would love to be fortunate enough to one day own one of his drawings. Thank you again.

Dina Balderes

What a treat to happen upon late at night. Jimmy's story was incredibly moving. Thank you Linda & Jimmy for bringing us this story.

Bridget Graves

I am still wiping away tears after watching this touching film.This is why I love PBS.I will tell everyone to watch Mr Mirikitani's story.


It was an inspiring film. Linda Hattendorf's compassion and gentleness and ability to bring this survivor,Jimmy Mirikituni back to his family and to whom he was prior to his internment. His statement"I don't have to be mad anymore",states it all. He is a wonderful artist and she is a wonderful person for her film of Jimmy and her humanity.

Debbie Kim
Mililani Hawaii

This was an excellent documentary that was well done, tasteful and heartwarming. I was hoping that the film would be shown again since my mother as well as many others (who endured WWII) was not able to view it previously.

e anderson
cleveland, ohio

Thank you Jimmy and Linda for this wonderful film, I was truly awakened and inspired to continue to effect change in the lives of the elderly I meet as a health care professional. I have been blessed by you. Hallelujah!

Vancouver, B.C. Canada

I think what really touched me about this film was the bond that Jimmy Mirikitani and Linda Hattendorf shared. They both chose to be brave and trust one another and that is a beautiful thing. To me their relationship emphasizes that we should accept all cultures and be willing to listen before acting.

janet nakagawa
Honolulu, Hawaii

I'm sorry my parents missed seeing the show on 5/12; I will order the DVD for them. They were also interned at Tule Lake in block 68; my mom worked in the mess hall and may remember Mirikitani-san. They were also in Crystal City. I am glad for the outcome of Mirikitani-san and hope he is genki! Aloha!

Carlene Woodward
Rochester, New York

Dear Linda, The movie is as wonderful as when I first saw it at our film festival last year. The beauty of Jimmy's art and persona could only have been captured by another equally sensitive and delicate soul. Thank you for reminding me that life holds hope and promise...the light in your faces tells so much. The card with Jimmy's photo is in a place of honor. I look forward to attending his next birthday. "Make art, not war".


Jimmy and Linda,

This film touched my heart. I think every school in the United States should show this film as part of history class. I love the art work.

Roslyn, New York

All I have to say is fantastic. What a great program and so well done.

Robert W. Fecci

I was touched and moved to tears by this beautiful story depicting our human family and how goodness can triumph over injustice, May God bestow his blessings all of those who participated in this endeavour.

Theodore A. Harris
Philadelphia, PA

Thanks so much for this great doc, on this great artist who uses his art and life as a clear reflection, from which we can learn weather this country is really as democratic as it says it is?

Sheila Hunter, RN
Nunda, New York

Dear Jimmy and Linda,

I want to thank you for sharing your stories and helping the world to learn of the history of the Japanese people. I have a new appreciation for the beautiful artwork of your country. You are truly a Grand Master and teacher of art. Thank you for the inspiration and beauty - it makes this world a bettter place. I feel glad that you are not so angry and can know that your story is told the right way. May the rest of your life be blessed with fortune and peace and contentment.

Many thanks to you Linda for your devotion to the man and to the story that could not have been told fully without you. Thank you both again.


This program was wonderful. Jimmy is so honest and it was good to hear someone ticked off about what the government did in World War II and the similarity to the reaction after 9/11. He is quite a character and the cat drawings are beautiful. Hope his life keeps improving.


what a wonderful and moving documentery, it touched my heart to know the compassion of Linda Hattendorf. And the amazing life of Jimmy from the internment camp, to the present so touched my heart. And he speaks volumes through his art. I found myself connecting with Linda and Jimmy. Not very many documenterys touch me like yours. God bless both of you. And it's so wonderful to see Jimmy reunited with his family, thank you Linda for your compassion.

Susan Kessinger
Louisville, KY

I was so moved by Mr. Mirikitani's story and so ashamed of how he and the other Japanese-Americans were treated by this country. I hope all who were stripped of their property and forced to live in American concentration camps have been recompensed, although we could never put a large enough dollar amount on the price they really paid. Bless Linda Hattendorf for stepping out of her role as documentarian in order to become her subject's friend. And bless her for giving Mr. Mirikitani's story as well as his art the attention it deserved.

Now I must know how to get an original Mirikitani!

Harold Hight
Munroe Falls, OH

This is a very moving and powerful piece. It's touched me for many reasons and connections in my life with Japanese friends & culture, but also back to my father - now deceased. His life and art (furniture building) were changed forever by working with former Japanese detainee & design genius, George Nakashima. Now my daughters study Japanese and we have exchanged daughters with Japanese families. Tolerence for others is being learned one person/new friend at a time.

Venus Valladares
Washington, DC

I was so moved to write about this film. it is one of the most heartfelt, relevant and honest films around. i applaud the filmmaker for taking an unflinching, fearless look at the actions of this government in the past and today. thank you.

Shary Krakowiak
Parma Heights, Ohio

Jimmy is so deserving of leaving this world, this country, free of the pain he has carried for so many years. His art has sustained him, his forgiveness will carry him home.

Thank you Linda for giving us this gift of true compassion - yes, one person can make a difference.

laurie horton
madison, wisconsin

I wish there were a lot more people in this world who were like Linda Hattendorf. I which I were more like Linda . . . she valued Jimmy Mirikitani and knew the value of discovering his story and telling it. What healing can come from the telling of our stories! I have recently become friends with a family from the Sudan who are Muslim. They too have a very human story to tell. I am often encouraged by how much we have in common, which makes me value our distinctives more, too.

I wish I had a million dollars to give PBS for Independent Lens!

Delia Pacheco
Janesville, WI.

Just finished watching the show...Thank You Linda Hattendorf for that wonderful documentary! What a touching and heart wrenching story. I know as an artist how Mr.Mirikitani felt in doing what you loved. I hope that he has been Blessed with deserving recognition in his wonderful expressive art. I am also happy that he has been reunited with his sister after all these years. It is hard to believe this ever happened. I only found out about the Japanese internment camps 20 years ago and had a hard time understanding. I came to this country in 1950 from Germany for a new beginning...amazingly enough, last year I found out there also where internment camps for Germans.
I hope that we all have learned a lesson and that this hysteria never happens again.

Middleton WI

What a beautiful, sweet, sad, lingering story.

What a gift to see the gentle connection between these two people and to see what was hidden away within that man for so many years emerge. I love the way he carried himself, with the pride and grace of someone who can feel his place in life returned.

M. Kee
San Antonio, Tx

This was my first time watching independant lens. I stumbled upon it while flipping through the channels, and was stuck to this amazing and intriguing story. It's incredible to see this man go from one extreme to another and still stick to what makes him great. He is truly an artists artist and an insperation, as well as a reminder of the reality of our imperfect world. Thank you for sharing this experiences.

Erick Kammerer
Decatur, IL

I happened upon this film and was immediately captivated. Thank you Linda and Jimmy for the smiles and tears. A very inspirational film.

As long as citizens remain aloof to the policies of their government and allow fear and prejudice to override their moral judgements, we are sentenced to repeat our mistakes from the past. Independent thought and a thirst for more worldly knowledge is a step in the right direction to avoiding the mistakes of the past. Turn off Fox News, CNN or NBC; pick up a book, grab a foreign newspaper, watch PBS and maybe, just maybe, we will learn something truly important about the world we live in. Of course knowing who the father of Anna Nicole's baby far more interesting then hearing about war, genocide, and starvation.

Thank you again for the film. People are genuinely good, we just need to be reminded of that from time to time.

John Kaczor
Linden NJ

LOVED IT!!!! ive been following and filming the local homeless man in my town for years so this film really touched me..... makes me wanna go out and make my own documentary!!!! www.myspace.com/norm4mayor go check him out he rocks ... peace love happiness to all

EJ Naylor
New Jersey

Mirikitani's work was just waiting to be discovered. I'm glad someone had the eyes and the vision to bring Mirikitani's art into the floodlights.
I have no doubts that this film has also changed the homeless stereotype for many people. Mirikitani may have proclaimed himself a 'grand master artist' and I can't exactly disagree with him. His natural flair for design and for using color is beautiful and unique. It's possible if I let him know my opinions about his art, he might just say, "No, no, don't worry about it...." ;)

Jay Vee
Bloomington MN.

Thank You for the Jimmy M. program on Independent Lens tonight.5-13 KTCA Mpls MN. It was Amazing !!!!!!

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