Our brand new podcast, Look Toward the Mountain, tells the stories of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated at Heart Mountain. Told through a combination of archival recordings, written accounts, and contemporary interviews, each episode delves into specific topics demonstrating the innovation, creativity, and resilience that enabled the Japanese American community to endure this unjust ordeal.
Philadelphia JACL Board Chair and Japanese American filmmaker Rob Buscher hosts and produces the podcast.
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Listen below or subscribe on the following platforms, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Who We Were Before
The inaugural episode explores the stories of Issei Japanese immigrants, and the communities they and their American born children established on the west coast prior to WWII.
Listen to Episode 1:
What Is This Place?
The second episode explores the Big Horn Basin of northwestern Wyoming and the people who called it home before the Japanese Americans arrived.
Listen to Episode 2:
A New Normal
The third episode explores the routines and coping strategies that Japanese Americans adapted during the first months of incarceration as they began adjusting to their new circumstances living behind barbed wire at Heart Mountain.
Listen to Episode 3:
The fourth episode explores how the Japanese American incarcerated at Heart Mountain coped with the distasteful army rations they confronted when they first arrived in camp, and the important role that food played in their daily lives during the incarceration.
Listen to Episode 4:
Commerce in the Camp
The fifth episode explores how the 10,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated at Heart Mountain developed their own prison economy, with incarceree-run businesses that helped make life inside camp into something that resembled their past lives on the West Coast.
Listen to Episode 5:
The sixth episode explores how the Japanese American tradition of organizing evolved in camp to become a powerful resistance movement that dominated much of the Heart Mountain experience in its later years.
Listen to Episode 6:
Doing Their Bit
The seventh episode explores the many ways Heart Mountain incarcerees demonstrated their loyalty to the United States, and how they supported the war effort from behind barbed wire.
Listen to Episode 7:
Crime and Punishment
The eighth episode explores how the 10,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated at Heart Mountain established their own system of self-governance, complete with elected officials, a legal system, and police force to maintain the law and order within the prison camp.
Content warning: sexual assault
Listen to Episode 8:
The ninth episode examines the dozens of professional and amateur artists who emerged from Heart Mountain with compelling bodies of work that informed their later careers. And almost 75 years after the end of the incarceration, a fight over the future of art made in camp would help define a new wave of Japanese American activism.
Listen to Episode 9:
Sports and Leisure
The tenth episode looks at how the Heart Mountain incarcerees embraced both modern American and traditional Japanese types of entertainment and sports in camp. Although this helped Japanese Americans endure their time as prisoners and brought different people together inside the camp, it was also part of the government’s plan to assimilate them into the broader American society in the postwar era.
Listen to Episode 10:
Theme Song and Original Soundtrack Music:
Voice Over Casting:
Look Toward the Mountain is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and is provided through the support of the Embassy of Japan in the United States.