Library School Journal published this positive review on November 15, 2014:
Honor & Sacrifice is the biography of Japanese American Roy Matsumoto (1913-2014), whose family returned to Japan in 1927. Matsumoto was interned during World War II in Jerome, AR. He was a linguist and volunteered for the U.S. Military Intelligence Service, working with Merrill’s Marauders in Burma. Three of his brothers fought on the side of the Japanese; another brother was in the U.S. Army. Although he faced unrelenting racism in his adopted country, Matsumoto served with distinction and was a decorated hero. Told from the perspective of his daughter, this inspiring documentary incorporates photographs taken by his father. Very well narrated and features excellent technical production. Highly recommended for all viewers and essential for those interested in World War II.
—Rod Bustos, Georgia Regents University, Augusta
We received a very positive review (3.5 Stars, Highly Recommended) from Video Librarian. They graciously gave permission to reprint it here:
"Filmmakers Lucy Ostrander and Don Sellers' powerful documentary tells the story of Roy Matsumoto, one of many Japanese Americans who enlisted in the U.S. military while detained in internment camps during World War II. Born to immigrant parents in Los Angeles in 1913, Matsumoto was raised in L.A. and moved with his family to Hiroshima for the latter part of his education. Matsumoto returned to the U.S., where he worked until Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor resulted in his detention at a facility in Arkansas. Here, Matsumoto volunteered to become a linguist for the Military Intelligence Service and joined Merrill's Marauders, the now-celebrated, secretive band of volunteers who disrupted Japan's activities in Burma. Enduring much hardship, Matsumoto became a hero when he tapped into enemy communications and learned of an imminent attack that would have killed his fellow Marauders.
"Decorated for heroism, Matsumoto was eventually sent to postwar Japan, where he found relatives still alive in Hiroshima despite the nuclear bomb attack that had devastated the city. Interweaving archival footage and family photographs to illustrate this compelling story, along with an interview of the elderly Matsumoto, Honor & Sacrifice underscores the many internal conflicts and ironies experienced by Japanese-American enlistees, from having to prove their loyalty while confined within the U.S. to fighting an enemy that often (as in Matsumoto's case) literally included one's brothers from the old country. Highly recommended." (T. Keogh)
We received a Highly Recommended rating from Educational Media Reviews Online with an accompanying review. Read it by clicking here.
A very positive review from Education About Asia. You can read it by clicking here.
We received a great review from Professor Louis G. Perez for the Asian Educational Media Service with a particular emphasis on the use of Honor & Sacrifice in an educational setting. The full review can be found here. And here's an excerpt:
"Honor and Sacrifice can be used to illustrate the shameful story of American WWII racism or to introduce the topic of continued racial profiling in a post-9/11 world. Students can be assigned short research topics such as Executive Order 9066, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Merrill's Marauders, the "Relocation Camps," or Ronald Reagan's belated apology to Japanese Americans. They could also be invited to make comparisons of these events to what happened to loyal Americans of Arab ancestry (or to attacks on Sikhs and Muslims) in 21st century America."
-Louis G. Perez, Distinguished University Professor of History,
Illinois State University
We have received a number of very positive reviews from academics. Here are a few:
"A riveting story compellingly told, Honor & Sacrifice uncovers a tragedy of war—the breakup of families and the tests of conflicting loyalties. Japanese Americans serve in the U.S. military to defend freedom while their families are interned, brothers fight in opposing armies, and the atomic bomb levels an American soldier’s family home. There is no glory in wars."
-Gary Okihiro, Professor of International
and Public Affairs, Columbia University
"This is an important film. In Roy Matsumoto's extraordinary heroism, we glimpse the confluence of racism in both Japan and the US during WWII and the irony of Japanese Americans contributing mightily to the success of the American military in SE Asia leading to the destruction of the Japanese Empire."
-Franklin Odo, Former Director
Smithsonian's Asian Pacific American Program
Honor and Sacrifice, an outstanding and beautifully illustrated biography of Mr. Roy Matsumoto, tells the little-known story of the Japanese American linguists who served with the famed Merrill's Marauders. On a secret mission, classified for decades, the Marauders served with valor, taking hair-raising risks to combat Japanese Imperial forces in Burma during World War II.
-Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, Aratani Endowed Chair,
Asian American Studies, UCLA
"Stourwater Pictures' 2013 documentary, Honor & Sacrifice, is a particularly important contribution to Asian American history presenting the previously untold story of World War II heroism of a 100-year-old resident of Washington State....The story told by Stourwater Pictures goes beyond a battlefield story to explain the Japanese American story of immigration, settlement, discrimination and exclusion, World War II forcible removal and mass incarceration of Japanese American and Nisei volunteering and heroic service in the U.S. military. It tells this Japanese American story through exploring deeply the complex family story of one of the Nisei linguists, Roy Matsumoto, whose family members were separated by the Pacific Ocean and war. It is a beautifully told story of a Japanese American family told from the perspective of Matsumoto's daughter, Karen, who discovers the heretofore untold story of heroism of her father and works with Stourwater Pictures to make that story known. Honor & Sacrifice is a compelling, transnational story teaching lessons on honor, courage, sacrifice, love of country, and love of family that transcends the horrors of war. It is an exceptionally well-done and memorable documentary."
-Gail M. Nomura, Associate Professor, American Ethnic Studies,
University of Washington
"After Karen Matsumoto learns in grad school that her father, Roy, was a war hero, she sets out to learn more about his life. She discovers a complicated story of how Japanese immigrants created lives in America in spite of prejudice and discrimination, of how family ties endured in spite of war and nuclear destruction, of how personal loyalty persisted in the face of massive social injustice. Karen learns how her father's intelligence and bravery saved Merrill's Marauders from certain annihilation. This is an inspiring, beautiful story of a man's extraordinary sacrifice and courage and his daughter's determination to make sure that it is told."
-Patrick Hayashi, Former Associate President,
University of California
"Superb!! Roy Matsumoto, a Kibei Japanese American, is caught in a Kafka-esque situation between Japan and America but rises to the height of exceptional achievement as a member of Merrill’s Marauders during World War II. His remarkable story crisscrosses allied and enemy nations and military forces where his war-time actions led to the safety of a battalion of American soldiers. Beautifully presented, Honor and Sacrifice contains unique photographs of pre-World War II Japanese American home life, pre-and post-war Hiroshima, and the wretched travails of war-time combat in Burma."
-Tetsuden Kashima, Professor of Ethnic Studies,
University of Washington
"This outstanding documentary chronicles the story of Roy Matsumoto, a Japanese American who played a key role as a Japanese language specialist in a U.S. Army unit in Burma during World War II. Mr. Matsumoto's father was a photographer, and his father's photos, both from Los Angeles in 1910-1930 and in Japan before and during the war (after his return to Japan) provide a rich visual counterpart to the story, which is narrated by Roy Matsumoto's daughter. This film is resonant, as it weaves scenes and sounds of family and history, chronicling the Roy Matsumoto story and at the same time the story of the Matsumoto family, which had sons in both the U.S. and Japanese forces."
-Rob Britt, Coordinator of East Asian Library Services,
Washington School of Law, Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library