Members of the Grateful Crane Ensemble’s “Moonlight Serenaders” in “The Camp Dance: The Music & The Memories,” include (front row) Keiko Kawashima and Jason Fong; (back row) Kurt Kuniyoshi, Darrell Kunitomi and Haruye Ioka. (Photo by Phil Nee)
You wouldn’t think that the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II would make for great source material for a stage musical. But it does, and in a way, makes a much more effective vehicle to tell people about that time, and what happened to JA families, than heavier, dramatic works such as the novel and movie, “Snow Falling on Cedars.”
“The Camp Dance: The Music & the Memories” is proof that internment can be explained in an entertaining way through a musical.
Written and produced by Soji Kashiwagi, a sansei, and performed by his Grateful Crane Ensemble of actors, the play combines narration (the actors announcing what’s going on on the stage), acting (there’s plenty of terrific, believable and historically accurate dialogue), music and dance to entertain and educate audiences about the internment experience. Continue reading
|Bill Hosokawa in 2005, sitting next to a caricature at the Denver Press Club
Bill Hosokawa died of natural causes at age 92 in Sequim, Washington, where he lived with his daughter. He was a pioneering Japanese American journalist, author and diplomat who lived in Denver for 60 years.
Those are the facts of Bill’s life and death. But there’s lots more to Bill than just the facts.
I wrote an obituary for Bill that will run in the Pacific Citizen, the newspaper of the Japanese American Citizens League, the APA civil rights organization. Bill was a leader within the JACL, and a columnist for the PC for decades. I’m the editorial board chair for the newspaper, and a national board member of JACL, and I knew Bill because we’d run into each other at many events in Denver. So it made sense for me to write the obit for the PC.
But I also owed it to Bill to write about him because he was a role model for me as a writer — we both wrote columns for Denver’s Japanese community newspaper (he kept his up long after I ran out of juice and got too busy). I wrote about Bill’s influence on my career years ago, in one of my columns. Continue reading
An interesting recent AP story raised the issue of what kinds of affectionate nicknames people use for grandparents. In Japanese, the words are “Obaasan” for grandmother and “Ojiisan” for grandfather, and many Japanese Americans still use the terms even if they don’t speak much if any Japanese.
But I have a confession to make. I didn’t have an affectionate nickname for my grandmother. Continue reading
Makoto Iwamatsu died on Friday at the age of 72, of esophageal cancer. It’s a huge loss to Asian Americans.
If you know him at all, you probably know him better as simply Mako, the Japanese actor, who played countless character roles and supporting parts in television shows and movies starting in the early 1960s. Continue reading