Shikata Ga Nai – a new award-winning documentary

“Shikata Ga Nai” (しかた が ない) roughly translates to “it cannot be helped,” and is a phrase often associated with the discipline and determination exemplified by Japanese Americans who sacrificed and persevered through their persecution and unconstitutional incarceration during World War II. It is also the name of a documentary sent to me today by a coworker. This award-winning documentary was created by recent St. Mary’s Academy graduate, Lauren Yanase.

Lauren Yanase, ’19, St. Mary’s Academy, Girl Scout Gold Award-winning documentary filmmaker

“Shikata Ga Nai: An Inconvenient American,” follows the story of her own family members as they were forced first to the Santa Anita Racetrack horse stalls, then to Heart Mountain, Wyoming – the latter being where my own family was incarcerated for two years.

The documentary is filled with excellent archival photos and video clips narrated by Yanase’s family members who experienced it first-hand.

The documentary took Yanase two years to complete and was awarded the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award.

It is 27 minutes long and excellent. You may view it here:

I highly recommend viewing “Shikata Ga Nai: An Inconvenient American” and have added it to my blog listing of recommended materials on the subject of Japanese American Incarceration.

2 thoughts on “Shikata Ga Nai – a new award-winning documentary

  1. I’m really impressed that a high schooler made this film. She really deserved the award she won for it.

    I thought it was especially effective that she herself did not narrate the film, but left that up to her family members who experienced this themselves.


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