News

Seed was invited to the Culture Unplugged Online Film Festival 2016!


Seed will be screened on
Monday, June 20, 5:00 PM – Tuesday, June 21, 4:59 PM (PDT)
(streaming for 24 hours)
Thank you very much for your support."

Direct URL to the Seed page:
http://www.cultureunplugged.com/storyteller/Masanori_Baba

Schedule

    Screenings in the past
    ~Thank you very much for your support.~

  • Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival
    April 22-24, 2016
    Seattle Center in the Armory Loft 3
    305 Harrison St, Seattle, Wa 98109
    *If you are interested in this screening, please contact the festival directly.
  • Hollywood Japanese Cultural Institute presents “Movie Night”
    March, 19th(Sat) 5 -7:30pm
    SEED the life of the “Rice King” and his Kin
    Place: Hollywood Japanese Cultural Inst. 3929 Middlebury St. Los Angeles, Ca 90004
    More info: 818-708-2871(Kuwahara)
    Near Vermont w/FW101 Clinton St→R, Juanita Av.→R
    Middlebury St. is the same St.
  • March 19th (Sat.)
    1:00pm open
    1:30pm-2:00pm Ceremony
    2:00pm-4:00pm seed Screening
    Antelope Valley Japanese Academy Poppy Gakuen
    (C/O Desert Montessori Academy http://www.desertmontessori.org)
    808 W. Newgrove St.
    Lancaster, CA 93536 USA
    http://www.poppygakuen.com
  • March 12th (Sat.) N.Y
    15:00open
    15:20-17:00 Screening
    Karatedo Honma Dojo
    58 East 11st Street 5F (btw Broadway + University Pl)
    ◆more detail(flyer download 19.7MB)◆

  • December
    Date&Time TBD: Koda Farms Screening at the Koda Farms
    Date&Time TBD: Saiso School Screening. At the school in Fukushima where Keisaburo Koda worked as principal
  • December 8th (Tuesday) 5:30pm - 9pm
    -Place:Torrance, California
    Toyota USA Automobile Museum
    19600 Van Ness Ave. Torrance, CA 90501
    Admission is FREE
    The SEED exclusive products, organic Koda rice balls and Koda rice bags will be available for sale
    www.toyotausamuseum.com
    Thank you for your RSVP.
    With regret, the tickets are sold out for the screening at Toyota U.S.A. Automobile Museum on December 8th. Rest assured, we will keep you informed of future screenings on this website. For those who previously responded, please print out the e-mail confirmation we sent you and bring it with you to the screening.
    Thank you very much for your support!
  • October 20th (Tuesday) 6pm - 9:30pm
    -Place:West Los Angeles, California
    Nibei Foundation
    11570 w. Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90064 USA
    http://terasaki.org

Trailer

Story

In Dos Palos, a small town with big farm lands, in the San Joaquin Valley in Central California, there is the oldest family-owned and operated rice farm, called the "Koda Farms." The founder of the Koda Farms is originally from Iwaki city, Fukushima, Japan, born in 1882. His name is Keisaburo Koda, who was widely known amongst Japanese Americans as the "Rice King" whose throne has been carried on by his grandchildren, Ross and Robin. This documentary is about perseverance, persistance, and passion of the Koda Farms through various hardships since the 1920's and also a tribute to Keisaburo, the original seed of the Koda Farms.

" Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
by Harriet Tubman

At the age of 15, Keisaburo was inspired to go to America to pursue his American dreams, which came true in the early 1900's, when he was 25 years old. On arriving to the dreamland, Keisaburo experienced numerous ventures and failures, and eventually embarked on rice farming, his familial roots in Japan. His innovative and pioneering spirit conceived a unique rice growing technique, sowing seed from the sky with airplanes, and his blood, sweat, and tears gave birth to an abundant crop of rice with the complete quality control from seeding to selling. Due to his success, Keisaburo became the Rice King.

However, the outbreak of World War II turned the glory of the king upside down. Due to President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066, Americans of Japanese descent were forced to relocate to internment camps, where they faced unimaginable challenges for many years.

Keisaburo's operation encompassed 10,000 acres with a rice drier and mill when they were relocated to Amache, Colorado. When the war ended, the Koda family immediately headed back to Dos Palos from Amache, to find no drier, no mill, some junky equipment and very little land….

However, it was not the end of the Koda Farms. In fact, it was just the beginning of the new Koda Farms. Keisaburo, with his "Tohoku" spirit, did not give up bringing back his once-fulfilled American dream. While he assigned the reconstruction of the rice business(just about a mile away from the old farms) to his sons, Edward and William, Keisaburo focused his tremendous time and energy on improving the welfare of Japanese Americans against discriminatory sanctions such as The California Alien Land Laws, and ultimately the relationship between America and Japan.

Keisaburo's passion and perseverance survived adversities and kept his rice farm alive. Now, Ross and Robin, Keisaburo's grandchildren, boldly yet calmly challenging the greatest water crisis in the history, not only have continued to grow their predecessors' heirloom rices, but also gave birth to organic brown rice, which Keisaburo, a health extraordinaire, had always dreamed to introduce for everyone's health.

As the only surviver of a Japanese American rice farm, will the Koda Farms continue to bloom for successive generations? What does rice really mean to the Koda family? How has Keisaburo's efforts to society been passed on?

Although Keisaburo passed away in 1964, his legacy will live forever at the Koda Farms in Dos Palos.

How the film SEED came to sprout
By Shinichiro Okano

Everything started with the sudden marriage of my sister-in-law.

I used to work as a producer for a Japanese American TV station in Los Angeles. Whether dealing with productions on set, sales, interviews, editing, etc. It seemed I was always on the go, everything nonstop.

There is the Nanka Kenjinkai Kyokai, or the Japanese Prefectural Association of Southern California (JPASC) in Los Angeles. Currently, this federation consists of 41 prefectures. One day, carrying a camera on my shoulder, I went to interview one of the most active Kenjinkais for the 100th anniversary of Nanka Fukushima Kenjinkai. I was surprised at the sight of my sister-in-law sitting at the seat in front of the stage. Not just a regular seat, but the VIP seats with the Kodas, a prestigious family from the Fukushima prefecture. “Why on earth…?” I felt a strange inkling in that moment.

My sister-in-law was sitting there because she had become a part of the Koda family. She had married Ross Koda, who is the grandson of Keisaburo Koda, a legendary figure in the Japanese immigration history in the United States. He founded Koda Farms and had embarked on the civil rights movement, as he himself was a Japanese immigrant who had experienced prejudice both before and after WWII. The more I learned about what Keisaburo had achieved, the more I became attracted to his life. In fact, I have had special interest in Japanese American history, and had previously produced some films on the same subject.

Years later, I was busy finding sponsors for Toyo’s Camera, a feature documentary of the life in the internment camp Manzanar in California. Here in Southern California is the JBA (Japan Business Association of Southern California), a social network for Japanese businesses. Through this group, I had become acquainted with Mr. Kibata, CEO of Nitto Tire, and asked him if he could help sponsor the film. He readily agreed “Of course,” without any hesitation. In that moment, I opened my heart to confess my idea of making a film about Keisaburo Koda as well. I had no presentation, only my passion. CEO Kibata said, “My best friend is from a village next to where Mr. Keisaburo Koda was born, he adores Mr. Koda and has told me a lot about him. I will help in anyway I can if you are going to make a film in the future.”

A few years later, CEO Kibata suddenly passed away from illness. The dream of making a film about Mr. Keisaburo Koda was about to end up just a dream.

**********

I impulsively quit the job at the TV station without considering my career because I felt there was a limit as an employed producer. My wife, without a single complaint, began to sell the Koda’s organic rice full-time. She is madly in love with rice in general, always bringing various kinds of rice cookers in from Japan and researching the best way to cook rice. As soon as she tasted the Koda’s organic brown rice, my wife was captivated by the rice invented by the family her sister married into. She became completely absorbed in selling the rice, with the best rice cooker in hand. Later on, I discovered the strange coincidence that Keisaburo himself promoted brown rice, rice cooker in hand and wishes for good health among the Japanese Americans in heart.

Being unemployed, I had no choice but join my wife’s rice selling. We had some luck in being able to open our booth at a farmer’s market and decided to split ourselves into two teams to sell the Koda organic rice at as many farmer’s markets as possible all over Los Angeles. We devoted ourselves to sell as much as we could, as if our spirits were possessed by something unknown.

The organic rice sold well, especially among the wealthy white customers and we made it a habit to put our hands together in appreciation in front of the photo of Mr. Keisaburo Koda before we started to decorate our booth.

One day, a lady stopped by our booth. Pointing to Keisaburo’s photo, she asked, “I would like to make a film about Mr. Keisaburo Koda. My name is Ai Tokuno.” Ms. Tokuno happened to be an employee from Nitto Tire, the same company CEO Kibata was from, and she said that she was involved with a project called HEROES, to succeed the history of great Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans to future generations. She had no idea that I used to be a film maker. Indeed, I was just an old man, promoting their rice, so there was no way for her to know that I used to produce and promote films. It was all history after that. Everything flowed smoothly into the production of the film, SEED.

CEO Kibata’s best friend ended up becoming a co-producer for SEED, giving us nonpareil dedication while filming in Japan. His name is Hideo Ide, who used to be a representative for Hitachi USA.

***********

The strange yet marvelous and fateful events - such as the marriage of my sister-in-law, the sudden death of CEO Kibata, his best friend, Mr. Ide, becoming the co-producer, my wife’s love for the Koda organic rice turning us into a rice distributor, and the unexpected encounter with the Nitto Tire’s employee, Ms. Tokuno at the farmers market - have all woven together to become the documentary film SEED.

Ten years have passed since the conceptualization to the production of SEED. I can not help but believe that Mr. Keisaburo Koda in heaven and former Mr. Kibata, have collaborated together in the skies, in order to spring fate to help sow our film.

CAST in the U.S.A.

KEISABURO KODA

Koda Farms, In Memorandum

ROSS KODA

Koda Farms, President

ROBIN KODA

Koda Farms, Vice President
Ross’ Older Sister

TAMA KODA

Koda Farms, Secretary Treasurer
Ross’ Mother

MIKE HILLHOUSE

Koda Farms, Safety Director

RICARDO CAMARENA

Koda Farms, Supervisor

GARY WALLACE

Koda Farms, Supervisor

In order of appearance

BOB YONKERS

Koda Family Friend

SHINKICHI KOYAMA

Southern California Fukushima Kenjinkai, Advisor

MASAKIYO WATANABE

Author of the Japanese American Immigration History

DR. BONNIE J. CLARK

University of Denver, Associate Professor
The DU Amache Project Director

MINORU TONAI

Amache Historical Society, President
Former Internee at Amache Internment Camp

JACK MURO

Former Internee at Amache Internment Camp

NOB HASHIMOTO

Former Internee at Amache Internment Camp

ALEJANDRO CAMARENA

Koda Farms, Supervisor

JOHN BENNETT

JFB Ranch, Inc., President

MAKOTO SASAJIMA

A food distribution company, President

JENNIFER MORGAN

San Luis Reservoir, Naturalist&Guide

DENNIS FALASCHI

Panoche Water and Drainage District, General Manager

KAREN CRUTCHER

Koda Farms, Office Manager

BENJAMIN STUART THOMPSON

Jewish Life Television, Director&Producer

YUKO KAIFU

Former Consul in LA
Union Bank, Managing Director

ALFONSO SIERRA

Koda Farms, Supervisor

JEFF MOORE

Panoche Water District, Reverse Osmosis Technician

YUTA TSUNODA

M Café, President

KAORU KAWATA

Imuraya USA, Inc., President

GRACE KODA

Ross’ Daughter

MAXINE KODA

Ross’ Daughter

LISA KODA

Ross’ Wife

BRIAN KITO

Fugetsu-Do, President

PAUL CHAMBERLIN

Boldo Café, President

SAYA OKANO

Ross’ Niece

STEVE DOI

Hokka Nichibei Kai, Former Chairman
(The Japanese American Association of Northern California)

MARY WAKATSUKI

Koda Family Friend

JUN ENKOJI

Vice President of Commercial Lending, California Bank and Trust
Koda Family Banker

PAUL TAO

Koda Family Friend

DICK KUBOTA

Koda Family Friend

LAURA AVERY

Santa Monica Farmers Market, Supervisor

NICOLE GORDON

Beverly Hills Farmers Market, Manager

DAVID KARP

LA Times Writer

CAST in JAPAN

HIDEO IDE

Hitachi Automotive Products, Former GM
Friend of Koda Family in Japan and USA

EIJI KODA

The 2nd Head of Koda Family in Japan

SHINICHI KODA

The 3rd Head of Koda Family in Japan

SHUNICHI MANOME

Saiso School, the 34th Principal

SHUKO MATSUZAKI

Relative of the Koda Family in Japan

HARUO SHIRATO

Shinto Priest

PROF. TOSHIKAZU TATEIWA

Tokyo University of Agriculture, Professor

MASA MATSUZAKI

Relative of the Koda Family in Japan

MIHOKO MATSUZAKI

Relative of the Koda Family in Japan

SEED makers

Please contact us for a consultation at info@seedfilm.life