Film Review: Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice

Yuri Kochiyama

Directed and Produced by Pat Saunders and Rea Tajiri
1993, 57 Minutes
distributed by NAATA

Passion for Justice documents Kochiyama's story from her days in an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II to living in Harlem and meeting Malcolm X. Her experience living in the camps and then moving to Harlem profoundly influenced her activist life. She tells how she first met Malcolm X as a shy woman standing in the back of the crowd and asking to speak to the minister who later visited Kochiyama at her apartment. There was the time when she and the Young Lords barricaded themselves inside the statue of liberty and unfurled the Puerto Rican flag for independence. We also see her today speaking to young people about Mumia Abu-Jamal, David Wong and the prison industrial complex.

Through archival film footage, photographs and writings, Passion for Justice is a boon for those wanting to learn about Kochiyama and the different movements. The film also includes interviews with activists and members of the Kochiyama family, husband Bill Kochiyama who has passed away and their children.

Kochiyama is an inspiration to all of us.