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'Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the WWII Internment Camps'

Documentary film screens Jan. 22

Hidden Legacy in WWII Japanese internment camps

Despite intense pressure to reject all aspects of their ethnic heritage, many Japanese Americans who were held in the World War II internment camps nevertheless chose to maintain or even discover for the first time Japanese forms of music, theater, dance and other performing arts.

Documenting this is the 2014 film "Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the WWII Internment Camps," which screens on Friday, Jan. 22, from 7-9 p.m. at the Jan Popper Theater in the Schoenberg Music Building at UCLA. The free screening is co-sponsored by the Center for World Music of the Department of Ethnomusicology, the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music; the UCLA Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies; the Tadashi Yanai Initiative; and the UCLA Department of Asian American Studies. 

The film, with its rich mix of compelling interviews, historical photographs, musical performances and rare archival film footage, offers extraordinary insight into the persistence of traditional Japanese cultural practice among Japanese Americans interned during World War II. 

Attending the screening will be filmmaker and creative director Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto-Wong, a koto performer for over 50 years whose interest in the subject grew from her mother’s koto lessons at Topaz and Tule Lake camps. Special guest Takayo Tsubouchi Fischer will talk about her experiences as an internee at Jerome and Rohwer camps in Arkansas, where she studied kabuki, classical Japanese dance and shamisen.

While admission is free, advance registration is required due to limited seating. Register here. Find more information here.

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