"Sugihara Survivors" Film Screening and Discussion at the Sinai Temple

"Sugihara Survivors" Film Screening and Discussion at the Sinai Temple

On July 31, the American Jewish Committee Los Angeles (AJC), the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC), and the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles co-sponsored a screening of the documentary film "Sugihara Survivors: Jewish and Japanese, Past and Present" followed by a discussion with Mr. Junichi Kajioka, the director of the film.

Mr. Kajioka is an award-winning Japanese actor, writer, and director based in London. He began his career in Tokyo appearing on television, and later studied acting at the Central Academy of Drama in China. Mr. Kajioka's first professional film appearance came in Jiang Wen's 2000 Cannes award-winning film Devils on the Doorstep. He works on both commercial and independent films in the international film industry.

"Sugihara Survivors" traces the story of Akira Kitade in his present day search to connect with survivors who were among the close to 6,000 Jewish people who escaped to Japan on visas issued by Chiune Sugihara.

Mr. Kitade's interest in contacting survivors was spurred by his receiving an album of photos from his former superior Tatsuo Osako, who had been employed on the ship which transported the Sugihara visa refugees from Vladivostock to the Japanese port of Tsuruga. Seven of the refugees on the ship had given Mr. Osako their photos.

The event began with opening remarks by Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple, Mr. Jay Geller of AJC, Ms. Yuko Kaifu of USJC, and Consul General Akira Chiba.

After the documentary screening, President and CEO of the Go For Broke National Education Center Dr. Mitch Maki, a nationally recognized leader and expert on the Japanese American redress movement, moderated a discussion and questions from the audience, with a reception following.