On April 12th, we received the 2014 Erik Barnouw Award from the Organization of American Historians for outstanding programming in documentary film concerned with American history.
The Organization of American Historians is the major organization for historians who study and teach about the United States. They annually present a small number of awards in recognition of scholarly and professional achievements in the field of American history. Only one is for a film, so the award is extremely competitive. Past winners include distinguished filmmakers such as Ken Burns and Henry Hampton, as well as revered films such as The Most Dangerous Man in America and Death and the Civil War.
For the creators of historical documentaries, the Erik Barnouw Award represents one of the most significant honors achievable. Awarded by a preeminent academic organization, it not only recognizes the scholarly rigor of the work, but also its historical importance. We are honored to be this year's recipient. To see the Award press release, please go to our Press page.
HONOR & SACRIFICE tells the complex story of a Japanese immigrant family ripped apart by WWII. The Matsumoto family included five sons; two who fought for the Americans and three who fought for the Japanese. The eldest, Hiroshi (Roy), became a hero, fighting against the Japanese with Merrill's Marauders, an American guerrilla unit in Burma. He was born near Los Angeles, educated in Japan, and became a hero when he used his Japanese language skills and military training to save his surrounded, starving battalion deep in the Burmese jungle. At the same time his parents and sisters were living in their family’s ancestral home, Hiroshima. The story is told by Roy's daughter Karen as she discovers her father's work in military intelligence, kept secret for 50 years.
Scholars have found the film to be particularly valuable. Here's some responses. More can be found on our Reviews page.
"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
"Stourwater Pictures' documentary, Honor & Sacrifice, is a particularly important contribution to Asian American history....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
"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
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Please view a short introduction to the film below: