Texas High School Senior, Rina Iwata, Selected as Winner in National Video Contest Sponsored by National Veterans Network and Comcast NBCUniversal
Iwata Shares How a Japanese American WWII Soldier Story Impacted Her Personal Life
Washington, DC (PRUnderground) May 3rd, 2021
The National Veterans Network (NVN) announces the winner of its High School Video Contest, sponsored by global media and technology leader Comcast NBCUniversal, Rina Iwata from Katy, Texas. As part of its mission to educate current and future generations about the extraordinary legacy of American WWII soldiers of Japanese ancestry, the NVN invited high school students in the United States to research and share how the story of an American WWII soldier of Japanese ancestry impacted their own life. Rina Iwata, a senior at Seven Lakes High School in Katy, TX, utilized original illustrations, historical photos and an individual interview to depict how her personal life was impacted by the story of Japanese American World War II veteran George Fujimoto in her winning video submission. The NVN also congratulates video contest runners-up Andrew Frost and Ryan Kimura, both from California.
As winner of the NVN High School Video Contest, Iwata and one family member will be awarded a trip to the National Museum of the United States Army, including airfare and travel accommodations in Washington DC/Virginia. Iwata and her family member will also be invited to a private event at the museum in August where she will screen her winning video. She will also be able to visit an exhibit on the Japanese American WWII soldier experience with artifacts from WWII soldiers donated by veterans and families.
“In recognition during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we are excited to select Rina as the winner of our video contest,” said Christine Sato-Yamazaki, executive director at NVN. “The committee was impressed and moved with how she understood the importance of sharing the stories of the Japanese American WWII soldiers, while sharing her unique perspective of her own identity and struggle as an Asian American in this country. We hope her video will help to generate greater awareness of the contributions made by Japanese Americans and all Asian Pacific Americans in the United States. We are also extremely grateful to Comcast NBCUniversal for their sponsorship of our contest.”
Iwata, born in Okayama, Japan, immigrated to California at three years old, and is currently residing in Texas. She chose to feature the life of Fujimoto, 442nd Regimental Combat Team veteran and father of her mentor (Donna Cole), in her video and reflected upon her own identity as a Japanese American as she seeks to carry on the soldiers’ legacy by working as a bridge to connect her ties to both the US and Japan.
“We must continue to share the narratives of the Japanese American World War II veterans, not only because they are critical chapters in the American struggle to achieve freedom, but also because they serve as reminders for all Americans that individuals of minority skin color, descent, walks of life – are just as American,” said Iwata. “In fact, the American World War II soldiers of Japanese decent, often referred to as Nisei, exhibited the American spirit in the truest sense, for their faith of American values was strong even when their own homeland questioned and doubted them.”
Iwata, who has a passion for literature, Asian American history as well is molecular and cellular biology, is actively involved in numerous activities at her high school, including her school’s nationally ranked marching band, winter guard program (captain), Science National Honor Society (president and editor-in-chief), National Spanish Honor Society (senior officer and editor-in-chief) and National Honor Society. Iwata hopes to meld her diverse interests for her future pursuits after graduation.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on broadband, aggregation, and streaming with over 56 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, Peacock, NBC News, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia.
About National Veterans Network
NVN’s mission is to educate current and future generations about the extraordinary legacy of American WWII soldiers of Japanese ancestry in order to promote equality and justice. The organization launched the campaign to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the first Asian American recipients in the 100th, 442nd and MIS units, and worked with the U.S. Mint to design the medal. In 2012, the organization partnered with the National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service for a seven-city tour to promote recognition of the Japanese American experience. In 2016, along with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, NVN launched an online Digital Exhibition to share the story of Japanese American soldiers of WWII (cgm.smithsonianapa.org). Beginning in 2017, NVN worked with the National Museum of the U.S. Army to gather artifacts from Japanese American WWII soldiers and their families that resulted in a special exhibit dedicated to Japanese American WWII soldiers when the Museum’s opening in 2020 along with artifacts and information located throughout the museum. In 2020, the NVN in collaboration with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, developed elementary and middle school curriculum. The NVN continues to honor the American WWII soldiers of Japanese ancestry by promoting, protecting, and preserving their legacy of uncommon valor and selfless service for future generations.