MORAGA, Calif. - On Saturday, May 14, BDK America hosts a special viewing of the documentary film, Hdden Legacy: Japanese Performing Arts in the World War II Internment Camps at the Moraga Library, followed by a short koto performance. The event starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 14, at the Moraga Library at 1500 St. Mary's Road.
(The koto is a long stringed instrument, sometimes likened to a zither, and has even been called the national instrument of Japan.)
Key to the film and to the koto performance is renowned third generation Japanese American koto teacher Shirley Muramoto-Wong. Muramoto-Wong Sensei gathered information, conducted interviews and searched for historical material for more than 20 years to create an in-depth look at an important part of the history of American’s concentration camps. She was joined in the creation of the film by project manager Pauline L. Fong and director Joshua Fong.
Moreover, she and one of her students will provide the short live performance following the film.
About the Dcoumentary
During one of America’s darkest chapters in its history, more than 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were imprisoned in internment camps for the duration of World War II.
Called “relocation centers” by the US Government, the conditions and life in these centers were worse than prisons in many cases. Most relocation centers were located in desolate, remote locations and it was up to these imprisoned Japanese Americans to make the best of their life situation.
To pass the time and to continue to pass on the traditional Japanese cultural and performing arts to the younger generation, even within the confines of these prison camps, teachers continued to teach traditional Japanese music, dance, drama and crafts.
The film itself was co-sponsored in part by the National Park Service and its Japanese American Confinement Sites grant and this showing is an NPS Centennial Celebration event.
You can learn more about the film at the Hidden Legacy website.
Download the Flyer for this Event
This PDF file can be downloaded for printing the flyer with more specifics about the event.
From BDK America
"BDK America is proud to sponsor the Moraga showing of this important documentary, especially so during Asian-Pacific American History Month," says Rev. Brian Nagata, BDK Director of Programs. "We cordially invite the public to join us on May 14 to learn about this hidden legacy and the great efforts to pass on these traditional arts, even amid great adversity."
BDK America offers various cultural and educational opportunities to the Moraga community. (See more about our local programs here.) Nationally BDK America distributes The Teaching of Buddha to the continental United States, and internationally it publishes and distributes sacred Buddhist texts in English, as translated from the Chinese Mahayana Canon.
Muramoto-Wong Sensei is a koto instructor and performer of long standing and accomplishment She has been interviewed in depth about the koto and the film; this article in the San Jose Mercury News is representative.
Photo Credit: Robert C. Wong
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