In Prisoner in My Homeland, students step into the role of Henry Tanaka, a 16-year-old Japanese American boy whose family is forced to leave their home on Bainbridge Island, Washington, for a prison camp in Manzanar, California during World War II. Players must make decisions that reflect broader strategies of survival and resistance: will they help their community, focus on family, support the war effort, resist injustice? Like all the games in the critically-acclaimed Mission US series, Prisoner in My Homeland is designed to increase young people’s knowledge and understanding of our nation’s past by immersing them in a critical moment in U.S. history.
In March 2017, representatives from WNET, New York’s flagship public television station, reached out to BIJAC to consult on the development of accurate historical content for this educational video game. WNET/Mission US had been awarded a $400K grant from the National Parks Service Japanese American Confinement Site (JACS) program for the project and were able to raise the required matching funds to move forward on development. Several members of BIJAC met with Michelle Chen, Producer, Children’s & Educational Media at WNET, and her team to provide their perspective on what a 16-year-old boy would have experienced during the evacuation.
WNET collaborates with a multidisciplinary team to create Mission US. Developed for use by middle school students in the classroom and beyond, Mission US is a deeply-researched, award-winning educational media project with proven positive impact on history learning. To date, more than three million registered users across the country have played and learned from Mission US.