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TitleHidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the WWII Internment Camps
Date2014
GenreDocumentary
DirectorShirley Kazuyo Muramoto-Wong (creative director and executive producer); Joshua Fong (filmmaker)
ProducerPauline L. Fong (project manager)
StarringShirley Kazuyo Muramoto-Wong (interviewee); Takayo Tsubouchi Fischer (interviewee); Reiko Akahoshi Iwanaga aka Hanayagi Reimichi (interviewee); Minako Waseda (interviewee); Miyeko Azeka Kubota (interviewee); Kayoko Wakita (interviewee); Kyokuto Molly Kimura (interviewee); June Aochi Berk (interviewee); Yuki Sato Lee aka Fujima Rieyuki (interviewee); Tokie Kakudo Robinson (interviewee); Masayo Yasui Arii (interviewee); Mary Arii Mah aka Bando Misayasu (interviewee); Setsuko Abe Hirano (interviewee); Sahomi Tachibana (interviewee); Bando Mitsusa (interviewee); Karen Kimura aka Bando Misasuga (interviewee); Kokko Ohigashi (Yutaka Ohigashi), Grand Shihan (interviewee); Patrick Seki (interviewee); Toshiye Ohigashi (interviewee); Kineya Jyo Rokusho (interviewee); Vince Delgado (interviewee); Yukino Okubo Harada (interviewee); June Kuramoto (interviewee);
CinematographyRobert Chan Wong (camera operator); Brian Mistuhiro Wong (camera operator); Rick Nyburg (camera operator)
EditingPhilip Ebiner (finishing editor)
StudioMurasaki Productions LLC
Runtime56 minutes
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Title:Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the WWII Internment Camps;\nDate:2014; \nGenre:Documentary;\nReleased:;\nDirector:Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto-Wong (creative director and executive producer); Joshua Fong (filmmaker);\nProducer:Pauline L. Fong (project manager);\nWriter:;\nScreenplay:;\nStory:;\nBasedOn:;\nNarrator:;\nStarring:Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto-Wong (interviewee); Takayo Tsubouchi Fischer (interviewee); Reiko Akahoshi Iwanaga aka Hanayagi Reimichi (interviewee); Minako Waseda (interviewee); Miyeko Azeka Kubota (interviewee); Kayoko Wakita (interviewee); Kyokuto Molly Kimura (interviewee); June Aochi Berk (interviewee); Yuki Sato Lee aka Fujima Rieyuki (interviewee); Tokie Kakudo Robinson (interviewee); Masayo Yasui Arii (interviewee); Mary Arii Mah aka Bando Misayasu (interviewee); Setsuko Abe Hirano (interviewee); Sahomi Tachibana (interviewee); Bando Mitsusa (interviewee); Karen Kimura aka Bando Misasuga (interviewee); Kokko Ohigashi (Yutaka Ohigashi), Grand Shihan (interviewee); Patrick Seki (interviewee); Toshiye Ohigashi (interviewee); Kineya Jyo Rokusho (interviewee); Vince Delgado (interviewee); Yukino Okubo Harada (interviewee); June Kuramoto (interviewee);;\nMusic:;\nCinematography:Robert Chan Wong (camera operator); Brian Mistuhiro Wong (camera operator); Rick Nyburg (camera operator);\nEditing:Philip Ebiner (finishing editor);\nStudio:Murasaki Productions LLC;\nDistributor:;\nRuntime:56 minutes;\nCountry:;\nLanguage:;\nBudget:;\nGross:;\nIMDBLink:;\nTrailerLink:;\n

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Documentary film focusing on traditional Japanese performing arts in War Relocation Authority concentration camps during World War II.\n

A koto (Japanese string instrument) teacher based in Oakland, Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto-Wong's mother had told her that she learned how to play the koto while \"in camp\"; only later, did she realize that her mother was referring to concentration camps during World War II and not summer camp. Wanting to tell the story of Japanese music—as well as dance and drama—in the camps, Wong gathering material and information for some twenty years. In 2012, the film project received a Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant—administered by the National Park Service through the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts—for $138,586. Wong worked with project manager Pauline L. Fong and filmmaker Joshua Fong to interview some thirty performers and gather still and moving images of camp performances. \n

The film tells its story mostly through interviews with those involved in traditional arts in the camps, augmented with still photographs and a few snippets of filmed performances in the camps. After a brief description of Japanese performing arts prior to the war and suppression and destruction of Japanese culture in the lead up to forced removal, the focus is on the flowering of performance and teaching in the concentration camps. Since nearly all of the interviews are with women, the film makes the case that with sudden free time—\"... the ladies were kind of saved from bending over their farms and working from dawn to midnight practically to keep the family together,\" noted one interviewee, Kayoko Wakita—the concentration of cultural practitioners in once place, and the loosening of gender roles, traditional culture flourished behind barbed wire particularly for women. Ethnomusicologist Minako Waseda served as the film's adviser and also is interviewed for the film. The story ends with scenes of contemporary performances, the legacy of what survived from the incarceration period. The credits include a list of teachers and groups in the concentration camps in categories of classical dance, obon dance, koto & shamisen, shakuhachi, nagauta, biwa, shigin, drama, naniwa-bushi, gidayũ, yohkyoku, and oshimai/utai.\n

A rough cut of the film premiered at the Japanese American National Museum on April 5, 2014. The official premiere of the finished film took place on June 28, 2014 in San José. The film was also shown on various public television stations starting in May 2015. The project also includes a website that provides background on the film, additional still photos, and other material. The producers hope to add all of the interviews conducted to the film to the website in the future.\n

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Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho
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Niiya, Brian
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Might also like The Music Man of Manzanar (2005); The Art of Gaman: The Story Behind the Objects (2010); Great Grandfather's Drum (2011)\n

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For More Information

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Official website: http://jcalegacy.com\n

Ito, Heather. \"Shirley Muramoto's 'Hidden Legacy' to Explore Ares in the Wartime Camps.\" Nichi Bei Weekly, Apr. 4, 2014, 7.\n

Sato, Kristen. \"'Hidden Legacy': Film Showcases the Preservation of Japanese Arts in the Wartime Concentration Camps.\" Nichi Bei Weekly, July 10–23, 2014, 6.\n

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