May is Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Beyond Heart Mountain author and filmmaker Alan O’Hashi will be on the road showing his documentary and speaking about his memoir. The program is entitled, Civility, Culture, Community, All times Mountain Daylight Time. To schedule an event, please send us an email.
Buy Beyond Heart Mountain memoirpublished by Winter Goose Publishing. It is available as a printed book and ebook. Signed copies can be purchased from the author. The book was released February 27th. That week coincided with the 80th anniversary of President Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066 that sent 120,000 Japanese to 10 war relocation camps, that included Heart Mountain in northwest Wyoming.
Boulder Community Media (BCM) produced a documentary that aired on PBS that aired in December 2021. The Nishigawa Neighborhood is a coffee table book that will soon be released.
During World War II, Cheyenne native Alan O’Hashi’s family avoided life in internment camps such as Heart Mountain.
As a Baby Boomer, Alan documents the overt and quiet racism pervasive in Wyoming and throughout the United States during and following World War II. He relates his experiences to current violence towards Asians and the issue of civility within society.
The backdrop to Alan’s account is the history of the once vibrant Japanese community in the 400 and 500 blocks of West 17th Street in the downtown area of my hometown, Cheyenne, Wyoming.
“My grandmother and grandfather Ohashi and their large family lived in worked in that neighborhood where I spent quite a bit of time between elementary and high school. Having been away from Cheyenne for many years, I stashed those two blocks in the back of my mind until I learned that two classmates of mine were planning to build a housing development at 509 W. 17th St. The biggest obstacle was obtaining permission to tear down an old building. It was the last structure in the Japanese neighborhood. It was the site of a rooming house operated by Mrs. Yoshio Shuto.”
Buy the Beyond Heart Mountain DVD is mainly about the West 17th Street Japanese community history and a general overview of Executive Order 9066 that President Franklin Roosevelt signed that relocated 120,000 Japanese into 10 internment camps, including Heart Mountain in northwest Wyoming.
I interviewed four childhood friends for the documentary. Robert Walters formerly worked at the City Cafe. He still lives in Cheyenne, where he practices law.
Terie Miyamoto and her family-owned Baker’s Bar. It was the only racially-integrated bar in Cheyenne at the time. She now lives in the Denver Metro area.
Brian Matsuyama now lives in Seattle, Washington. He resided in Cheyenne during his childhood. His family owned the California Fish Market. Carol Lou Kishiyama-Hough is in Cheyenne. She and her family purchased the Fish Market from the Matsuyamas.
Mrs. Shuto’s tenants were mainly Japanese residents who made their way to Cheyenne. She later opened the City Cafe across the street which became a gathering place for the Japanese in town.
My grandmother was a cook at the City Cafe. Next door, my grandfather was the third owner of a pool hall.
Whenever we went out to eat, the restaurant of choice was the City Cafe. It was a gathering place for the Japanese in Cheyenne. My friends enlisted me to do a cultural and historical survey of the Japanese residents who lived and worked there from the 1920s through the 1970s.
“Beyond Heart Mountain” is a documentary memoir by Alan O’Hashi based on the book of the same title. The Heart Mountain Relocation Center was one of 10 camps established after President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The memoir-documentary is available for rent or streaming for a small donation.
The U.S. government rounded up 120,000 Japanese, mostly on the west coast. After they were sorted out at 15 assembly centers, trainloads of evacuees were transported by train as far east as Arkansas.
Japanese American Baby Boomer, filmmaker and author Alan O’Hashi relates his personal experiences. He reclaims his heritage after once being part of a culturally thriving community.
The businesses and residents vanished following World War II because of racial injustice out in the middle of nowhere in his hometown of Cheyenne, Wyoming
The story is told through the eyes of filmmaker and author Alan O’Hashi. He interviewed four of his contemporaries who had ties to the once-vibrant Japanese community in West Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Robert Walters worked at the City Cafe, the neighborhood anchor.
Brian Matsuyama’s family owned the California Fish Market before selling it to Carol Lou Kishiyama and her family.
Terie Miyamoto’s family owned the only racially-integrated bar in the Japanese community, Baker’s Place.
My grandmother worked as a cook at the City Cafe and my grandfather owned the pool hall next to the City Cafe.
Watch for the book version that will be published by Winter Goose Publishing.
It’s not just about the demise of the once vibrant Japanese community in a small town in Wyoming that thrived from the 1920s through the 1960s, but about how downtown areas can be revived by adding new life to them with people.
The story is a historical memoir told through the eyes of the author, a Sansei generation Baby Boomer Cheyenne native, Alan O’Hashi.
The 1st edition 50 page picture book is a short run 8×11″ hard cover book with a dust jacket. The price is $58.99, preview the book by opening the YouTube link. Download a pdf copy of the Beyond Heart Mountain preface.
Pre-orders are being accepted. The release date is the “Day of Remembrance” on February 19th, which commemorates 77 years since President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 that required internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry.