WWII Resisters to Particpate in Staged Reading March 11

  • en
Performing Arts

Mar 200611

Japanese American National Museum
369 East First Street
Los Angeles, California, 90012
United States


LOS ANGELES.—The special staged reading entitled, "A Divided Community", will include several actual World War II resisters in a presentation set for Saturday, March 11, beginning at 2 p.m., at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo.

Under the direction of Momo Yashima, the presentation will include individuals who refused to serve in the U.S. armed forces during World War II while they and their families were unconstitutionally forced to live in domestic concentration camps. Among those set to participate are Frank Emi, Mits Koshiyama and Yosh Kuromiya. Other participants are a veteran and community activist Paul Tsuneishi, who supports the position taken by the resisters, and actor Mike Hagiwara.

The story highlights the conflict with the government over their refusal to report while their families were incarcerated, but also points out the internal conflict within the Japanese American community over their stand during the war. That conflict persists today. The staged reading reveals the positions of these individual resisters when confronted by their situation during the war.

Emi grew up in the San Fernando Valley before his family moved to Long Beach. In the 1930s, he was attending Long Beach Junior College when his father was in an automobile accident, forcing Emi to quit school to run the family's produce market. The market had expanded to the size of a current day supermarket at the cost of $25,000, but when the war began, the family was forced to sell it for only $1,500. Held in the Heart Mountain, Wyoming camp, Emi was married with three children. He became one of the leaders of the Fair Play Committee that demanded their rights before they would join the Army.

Koshiyama was born in Mountain View, California. When the war began, his family was first sent to the Santa Anita Race Track before being incarcerated in Heart Mountain. Koshiyama joined with Emi as part of the Fair Play Committee. Kuromiya grew up in Sierra Madre and was attending Pasadena Junior College when the war broke out. His family also was held in Heart Mountain, where he joined with Emi and Koshiyama as a resister.

Tsuneishi was also attending Pasadena Junior College when World War II erupted. While his family also was imprisoned in Heart Mountain, he and his brothers chose to serve in the Military Intelligence Service during the war. After the war, Tsuneishi became active in the civil rights movement and, like Emi, became a member of the National Coalition for Redress and Reparations (NCRR) which sought an official apology from the government for the mass incarceration.

Hagiwara was in the original cast of "A Jivebomber's Christmas" and has appeared in the Grateful Crane Ensemble's "The Camp Dance", both set in World War II camps. Mostly recently, he directed and performed in "Manzanar: Story of An American Family".

Yashima is an accomplished actress who has worked for 30 years in the movies, television and on stage. She appeared in the made-for-television movie, "Farewell to Manzanar", and in numerous productions at East West Players Theater, including Frank Chin’s "Year of the Dragon". Her parents, Mitsu and Taro Yashima, were artists who produced a number of award-winning children's books. Her brother, Mako, is well known as an actor and director.

The script for the staged reading was created by Yashima and Chin. Chin, besides his work as a playwright, is known for his novels, including Donald Duk and The Gunga Din Highway, as well as his short stories and essays. Along with Jeffery Paul Chan, Lawson Inada and Shawn Wong, he edited the landmark Asian American anthology, Aiiieeeee! in 1974. A long-time supporter of the resisters, Chin has sought to publicize their stories for three decades.

This program is part of the National Museum’s series Art, Culture and Identity. It is free to National Museum members or with admission. For reservations or for more information, call the Japanese American National Museum at (213) 625-0414. For information on the National Museum, go to www.janm.org.


ckomai . Atualizado em Jul 09, 2010 12:11 p.m.


Março 2006


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