Persona Non Grata

2016 Persona Non Grata Website banner

Stories From the Nichi Bei Weekly:

UNITED BY COMPASSION: Film premiere leads to historic meeting of descendants tied to heroic Japanese diplomat

Director of Japanese-Jewish heritage reflects on Japanese diplomat who saved Jewish refugees

See KTVU Fox 2’s report on the emotional meeting of Sugihara descendants, and a Sugihara visa survivor’s daughter, part of a family of 41 alive due to the late diplomat’s heroic compassion:


Join the Nichi Bei Foundation at the San Francisco Premiere Screening of “Persona Non Grata” (2015, 2 hours, 19 min.) a new feature film on “Japanese Schindler” Chiune Sugihara, who helped to save some 6,000 Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution.

Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 

• 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Screenings are SOLD OUT! •

New People Cinema, 1746 Post Street, San Francisco Japantown

SPECIAL GUESTS: Director Cellin Gluck, Sugihara granddaughter Madoka Sugihara from Japan at 5 p.m. Benefit Screening!

FEATURING: DVD and Book Sales, exhibits on Chiune Sugihara and the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which liberated the Dachau death camps.

 * 5 p.m. BENEFIT SCREENING: $50 General Admission is SOLD OUT!

• Includes “A National Hero,” an excerpt from the documentary “Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness” about Sugihara’s life after the war, and his rediscovery.
• Special guests for post-film Discussion, moderated by Fox 2 Reporter Jana Katsuyama:
– Japanese American Director Cellin Gluck (“Black Rain,” “Transformers,” “Contact”)
Madoka Sugihara, granddaughter of Chiune Sugihara from Japan
– Survivors of Sugihara transit visas will be invited
• Reception featuring silent auction, food/wine/sake and entertainment by the Murasaki Ensemble Trio

1:30 p.m. SCREENING is SOLD OUT!

• $20 General Admission
• $15 Students / Nichi Bei Foundation Members
• Includes “Persona Non Grata” screening ONLY

Donate to this event!

Please consider helping us offset costs associated with this special event by becoming a sponsor. Various sponsorship benefits apply.

During the dark days of war, a compassionate Japanese diplomat served as a beacon of light for some 6,000 Jewish refugees escaping certain death at the hands of Nazi Germany, daring to defy his own government and following his own convictions. It is estimated that around 40,000 descendants of the Jewish refugees are alive today because of his actions.
But why did Chiune Sugihara put not only himself but also his family in danger? Why did he issue visas to Jewish refugees of his own volition without the permission of the Japanese government? Now, more than 70 years after the end of World War II, the dramatic truth behind this decision comes to the big screen.


In the title role of Chiune Sugihara, a diplomat concerned about the future of Japan, is Toshiaki Karasawa, one of the country’s leading actors who was twice nominated for the Japan Academy Awards and was named Best Newcomer in 1992. Koyuki, known to international audiences from “The Last Samurai” (2003), stars as Yukiko, Chiune Sugihara’s wife who supports and brings him peace of mind throughout his journey.

About Director Cellin Gluck

2016 LAAPFF Portraits - PERSONA NON GRATA - Director, Cellin Gluck - Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, CA - Friday, April 22, 2016. Photo By Sthanlee B. Mirador | LAAPFF | VCOnline

Bringing together this international team from Japan, Poland, and Hollywood is “Persona Non Grata” director Cellin Gluck, who grew up in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, and began his film career with Ridley Scott’s “Black Rain” (1989). While he specializes in producing/directing U.S.-Japan co-productions, he continues to work as an assistant director on Hollywood productions, such as Michael Bay’s “Transformers” (2007,) Boaz Yakin’s “Remember the Titans” (2000) and Robert Zemeckis’ “Contact” (1997,) and production manager on films like “Memoirs of a Geisha” (2005) and “Godzilla” (2014). He also directed U.S. segments for Shinji Higuchi’s “Lorelei” (2005), Hideyuki Hirayama’s “Oba: The Last Samurai” (2011), and the “20th Century Boys” trilogy (2008-2009) by Yukihiko Tsutsumi. In 2009, he made his debut as a film director with “Sideways” (2009,) and “Persona Non Grata” is his second feature film.


About Madoka Sugihara

Madoka Photo.CROPPED

Madoka Sugihara, the granddaughter of the late Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, is the second child of the late Hiroki Sugihara, who was the eldest son of Chiune and Yukiko Sugihara. Born in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, she is a graduate of Seisen University, and worked for a major insurance company. Madoka Sugihara was appointed as a vice-chair of NPO Chiune Sugihara Visas For Life in 2012. Her brother, Chihiro Sugihara, is the chairperson of NPO Chiune Sugihara Visas For Life, which presents lecture presentations and exhibitions in Japan in order to disseminate the deeds of Chiune Sugihara. Madoka Sugihara serves on the Advisory Committee of the Sugihara UNESCO Memory of the World Project Yaotsu Town, Gifu Prefecture.

About Jana Katsuyama, KTVU Fox 2 Reporter


Jana Katsuyama is an award-winning journalist who has been part of the Bay Area’s KTVU Channel 2 News team since April 2007 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Jana has been honored with multiple Emmy Awards, Associated Press awards in California and in Ohio for Best Enterprise Reporting and Best Writing, as well as awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Peninsula Press Club. She was part of the KTVU Ten O’Clock News team that won a National Edward R. Murrow Award. Prior to KTVU, Jana worked at WDTN, an NBC affiliate in Ohio, as well as KBJR in Duluth, Minn.


About the Murasaki Ensemble Trio

Shirley Muramoto by Dave GoldenThe Murasaki sound has the unique ability to combine the Japanese koto with the jazzy sounds of upright bass and acoustic guitar, providing a framework for the trio’s musical explorations. The meeting of old and new, east and west, Shirley Muramoto’s Murasaki Ensemble Trio strives to present a new listening experience that involves interaction among all participants and flows with an intensely global, human quality. Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto is a koto musician, teacher, music director and filmmaker. Her koto music has its roots in the wartime concentration camps.



Righteous Spirit Sponsors:

NomuraLogoBox copy


Union Bank logo



Satsuki Ina

 Human Compassion Sponsors:

JCCNC Burgundy Logo   MIF Insurance hybrid


NCJW San Francisco Logo copy                            Lillian Sing



2016 Consulate General of Israel logo




Courage Sponsors:

NEW LOGO 110220.aiCedar Grove ProductionsT.Okamoto_logo





State Farm-Brian TakemotoGrant Tomioka











Jimi Yamaichi        Art Hansen                         Go & Kay Sasaki                  

Gail Keikoan          Dr. Himeo Tsumori        

Andy Noguchi & Twila Tomita

Mark G. Reisbaum & Michael T. Case

Alice & Mark Taguma