MIS: Human Secret Weapon


Detailing the efforts of Japanese-American soldiers who fought for the United States during World War II, Junichi Suzuki’s doc MIS: Human Secret Weapon draws on archival footage and interviews with the now octo- and nonagenarian men and women who formed the Military Intelligence Service in the 1940s to illuminate a little-known portion of American history. Although the veterans go light on tales from the front line, it’s their stories of fractured identity that form the heart of the project. Many of these American-born Japanese were waging combat against their parents’ homeland for a country that was imprisoning their friends and family members. Whether it’s tales of taking a softer interrogation approach with Japanese P.O.W.s than their white American counterparts did or harrowing narratives of fighting opposite their close relatives, these stories get at the heart of what it means to be multiethnic in this country and how armed conflicts tend to exacerbate these inner conflicts. When one MIS vet refers to “American soldiers” and doesn’t include himself, his son-in-law corrects him, but even after all of his service to his country, the man still feels excluded, a sense that the film powerfully communicates throughout.

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