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Seeking “Minidoka Matinee” Recordings


The Minidoka Matinee Orchestra 1945 Photo Densho Bain Collection The Densho caption reads Left to right Joe Owaki drums Hiro Nishimoto MC Dorrie Abe piano Ted Shimano orchestra conductor Amy Iguchi clarinet Yosh Ogata saxophone George Kaku violin and Sally Makishima violin The residents of the Minidoka concentration camp formed numerous musical ensembles to pass the time Orchestras bands and choirs frequently staged performances for entertainment

History researcher Roy Baugher is seeking surviving recordings of “Minidoka Matinee,” a radio program that was produced and performed by Japanese American incarcerees of Minidoka during January-April 1945. According to the “Minidoka Irrigator” newspaper and other sources, audio recordings were made of the program’s live broadcasts. One goal of the current project is to determine if these audio recordings exist and to find them.

If recordings of the program exist, then they are most likely on “transcription discs,” which are similar to vinyl records. Transcription discs were either 16- or 12-inches in diameter.

Baugher is interested in contacting any “Minidoka Matineers” who are still living and their families about the radio program to find out if they remember anything about the recordings being made.

He is “especially interested in contacting the families of Hero Nishimoto or Ted Shimano, since both were the main contributors to the radio program. Nishimoto was the show’s announcer and a producer. Shimano was the orchestra’s music director and conductor.” Both men are noted in the WRA records as being from Seattle before incarceration.

Other participants, mentioned in the “Irrigator,” were also mostly from Seattle. A few were from Auburn, Olympia, Vashon Island, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. They are Dorrie Abe, Nora Hoshi, Amy Iguchi, Chickie Ishihara, George Kaku, Kit Kitayama, Kaz Kubo, Sally Makishima, Mariye Morimoto, Mary Nakata, May Natsuhara, Porky Noritake, Yosh Ogata, Yosh Okihara, Joe Owaki, Jack Teraoka, Marion Unosawa, Phyllis Unosawa, Sachi Uyegaki and Mitsu Yasuda.

Further info:
Roy Baugher may be contacted at: cbawcd@gmail.com
Background on his recording project may be obtained from his article, “Minidoka Matinee: Japanese Americans on the Air,” Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) newsletter, no. 160, p. 4, arsc-audio.org/newsletter.html