In First To Go, a Japanese-American grandmother recounts her father's incarceration during World War II and the ramifications it had on her family. Weaving through her story, her grandson's experience, and archival footage, First To Go brings you an intimate, inspirational, and emotional story of the impact traumatic events can have across generations.
"Told with elegance and sensitivity, First To Go is a story of happiness in hardship and of joy in adversity. Both a beautiful family history and a compelling reminder of a past too easily seen in the present, First to Go will touch your heart and move you to action."
A couple hours after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941, Ichiro Kataoka was the first San Francisco Japanese prisoner taken by the FBI from his hotel in Japantown. Through a series of unfortunate events, Ichiro would not reunite with his family until roughly three years later in Topaz, Utah after President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which forced all Japanese residing on the West Coast to relocate to desolate Internment Camps throughout the country. Their only crime was being of Japanese ancestry.
Decades later, this family's story is woven together through archival footage and documents, and intimate conversations with a grandmother, her grandson, and relatives. The film reveals what they endured, along with thousands of other Japanese Americans, during this unjust and inumane time in American history.
First To Go walks us through the strength, compassion, and resilience of the Japanese Americans, while showing that a family can find love and happiness in the even darkest of places.
“This film is a must see. Not only does First To Go tell a story of a family’s journey, love story, and power of community, it also tells a story of resilience and cultural awareness that those in the Japanese community faced during WW2 battling racial injustice. It moves you. Educates you. It’s an experience that has lasting impact on those who watch.”
“Matsuno does a brilliant job at humanizing the issue of the injustice that was brought upon his extended family to make it relatable, which makes for a touching, entertaining, and educational experience for viewers of his film. I highly recommend."
"First To Go is a powerful film that should be required for all Americans."