Within the Silence (play)

Solo multimedia piece that tells the story of one family's wartime incarceration experience. Within the Silence was written by Ken Mochizuki in 1998 and produced by Living Voices, a Seattle-based educational theater company that specializes in solo performances that dramatize important historical events aimed at secondary school college audiences. Within the Silence has been performed over 4,000 times in sixteen states by numerous actors before over 200,000 audience members in schools, corporations, libraries, museums, and other venues across the country. A teacher's guide and bibliography to accompany the piece are available through the Living Voices website.

Within the Silence is told in the first person voice of Emiko Yamada, a teenage Nisei girl growing up in Seattle's Japantown when the war breaks out. Her father, who operated a grocery store and was also a Japanese language school principal, is arrested and interned, while the rest of the family has to dispose of their belongings before being taken to Puyallup Assembly Center and Minidoka. At Minidoka, Emiko's two older brothers take opposite sides in the loyalty questionnaire drama, with one volunteering for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the other becoming a no-no boy. The family returns to Seattle after the war, and Emiko becomes a teacher. Her story is augmented by archival photographs and footage.

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

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For More Information

"We Were Still the Enemy." Teaching Tolerance 30 (Fall 2006).

"Within the Silence," at the Living Voices website.