Skip to Content

HITO HATA: Raise the Banner

Directed by Duane Kubo, Robert A. Nakamura

Cast: Hiroshi Kashiwagi, Mako, Pat Morita, Saachiko, Yuki Shimoda



A landmark project directed by Robert A. Nakamura and Duane Kubo, HITO HATA: RAISE THE BANNER (1980) is the first feature-length film made by and about Asian Pacific Americans. Capturing the contributions and hardships of Japanese Americans from the turn-of-the-20th century, the film centers on Oda (the late veteran actor/director Mako), a feisty issei (first generation Japanese American) and elderly single laborer living in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. Through a series of flashbacks, the story traces Oda’s life as a laborer on the transcontinental railroad to his struggle to save the home of Little Tokyo’s residents when the community is threatened with redevelopment.

An epic Japanese American drama, HITO HATA draws on the talents and support of Asian American filmmakers, writers, theater professionals and literally hundreds of people from the Asian Pacific American community who served as extras, provided locations, props, and moral as well as financial support.

The 4k Restoration is funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation, with additional support from funders of the VC Archives (Aratani Foundation, California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, California Humanities, Haynes Foundation, and Mellon Foundation).

Writer: John Esaki, Robert A. Nakamura

Dates & Times