Linda Hattendorf is an artist and film-maker from New York City. She is the director of the documentary film The Cats of Mirikatani, which describes her friendship with Tsuroka Mirikatani, an elderly homeless artist of Japanese descent.
The Cats of Mirikatani
Mirikatani was an elderly homeless man and gifted artist who lived in her neighborhood, supporting himself by selling drawings.
Hattendorf was acquainted with Jimmy, as Mirikatani was known, through his street art, and she went looking for him on September 11, 2001, when her neighborhood was buried in toxic ash.
Her film recounts how she found Mirikatani alone on the deserted and ash-strewn street, and brought him to her home. She set out to learn more of his personal history, so she could clarify whether he was entitled to social services.
She learned that Mirikatani had been born in the United States. She learned that he was interned during World War 2. He was interned following World War 2, because his American citizenship stripped from him. His citizenship was restored, in 1951, but because he was homeless he never learned of this.
Hattendorf was able to help Mirikatani get his citizenship restored, get social security payments, and to get an apartment in supportive housing. The film concludes with Hattendorf accompanying Mirikatani to the Tule Lake internment camp where he was held in World War 2.
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