By David Yamaguchi, The North American Post
Since the last issue, the schedule of events for the Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages “Tadaima 2021” program has been greatly expanded. Recall that the current online activities are a COVID-19 pandemic substitute for summer educational travel to the JA incarceration camps. As we remain largely stuck inside, the various talks, films, and discussions invite us to take advantage of the opportunity to learn something new about our shared NIkkei pasts, presents, and futures.
The revised schedule lists 111 events during August 29 – September 25. The slate represents the combined efforts of 14 organizers, 64 contributors, and 18 filmmakers. Fifty-eight of the events occur during the September 10-23 interval spanned by this NAP issue. Which of these might be good?
Scanning the list, the following catch this scribe’s eyes as intriguing examples of the ample fare:
WED SEP 15, 6 PM LIVE – “Authors in Conversation: Akemi Johnson & Elizabeth Miki Brina”
THU SEP 16, 5 PM PRE-RECORDED – “Disabilities in the Camps”
FRI SEP 17, 12 PM LIVE – “War Crimes Against the Unangax People of the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands: 1941-1945”
SUN SEP 19, 3 PM LIVE “Artists in Conversation: Sharon Yamato & Erin Shigaki.”
These four are of interest for varied reasons. Elizabeth Brina wrote a stunning book, “Speak, Okinawa” (Knopf, 2021). It interweaves Okinawan history with her personal history of growing up in 99% white US cities as the child of a former US Vietnam soldier and a former Okinawan bargirl. The public health aspects of JA incarceration remain underreported. The Unangax are the indigenous people of the Aleutian Islands; about 75 died during their WWII incarceration with JAs. Sharon Yamato has made two documentary films. One is on Michi Nishiura Weglyn, who wrote “Years of Infamy,” the Untold Story of America’s Concentration Camps” (1977); it paved the way to national JA redress. Erin Shigaki is the game-changing public artist whose name comes across desks at the NAP nearly every week.
Readers should review the full schedule online to see what appeals to them.