CULTURAL: UCLA Nikkei Student Union Odori group to lead traditional Ondo dancing
LOS ANGELES — UCLA Kyodo Taiko will perform at the 42nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, sponsored by the Los Angeles-based Manzanar Committee, scheduled for 12:00 PM PDT on Saturday, April 30, 2011, at the Manzanar National Historic Site, located on US Highway 395 in California’s Owens Valley, between the towns of Lone Pine and Independence, approximately 230 miles north of Los Angeles (see map below).
Each year, hundreds of students, teachers, community members, clergy and former internees attend the Pilgrimage and the Manzanar At Dusk program, which follows the afternoon program, starting at 5:00 PM at Lone Pine High School.
UCLA Kyodo Taiko, the first collegiate taiko group in North America, was founded in 1990 and made its debut at the Opening Ceremony of the University of California, Los Angeles’ commemoration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Japanese American Internment, which was held in 1992.
Led by 2010-11 directors Masumi Asahi and Samantha Ho, UCLA Kyodo Taiko is comprised entirely of UCLA students. They have performed annually at local K-12 schools, Nisei Week, Tofu Festival and the Lotus Festival in Los Angeles, the Intercollegiate Taiko Invitational, during halftime at UCLA basketball games, as well as the First Annual USA Sumo Open, in addition to many other campus, community and private events.
UCLA Kyodo Taiko has also become a fertile training ground for students who wish to continue with taiko after their college careers end, as many Kyodo alumni have become members of professional taiko groups.
In addition to UCLA Kyodo Taiko, the UCLA Nikkei Student Union’s Odori dance group, led by Jaymie Takeshita and Jaime Yabuno, will lead the traditional Ondo dancing, which follows the interfaith ceremony.
The featured speaker at this year’s Pilgrimage will be Mako Nakagawa, the primary author of the Power of Words resolution, passed in July 2010 by the National Council of the Japanese American Citizens League.
Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, one of the seminal figures in the Japanese American community’s fight for redress and reparations, will be honored at the Pilgrimage with the 2011 Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award.
The afternoon program will conclude with the traditional interfaith service featuring ministers from Buddhist, Christian, Konko and Muslim faiths, as well as Ondo dancing.
The popular Manzanar At Dusk (MAD) program, co-sponsored by the UCLA Nikkei Student Union, the UCSD Nikkei Student Union, the Cal Poly Pomona Nikkei Student Union, Lone Pine Unified School District, Lone Pine High School, and the Friends of Manzanar, begins at 5:00 PM at Lone Pine High School, 538 South Main Street (US Highway 395), in Lone Pine, nine miles south of the Manzanar National Historic Site, across the street from McDonald’s (see map below).
Through a creative presentation, small group discussions and an open mic session, MAD participants will have the opportunity to interact with former internees in attendance to hear their personal stories. Participants will also be able to share their own experiences and discuss the relevance of the concentration camp experience to present-day events and issues.
Pilgrimage participants are advised to bring their own lunch, drinks and snacks as there are no facilities to purchase food at the Manzanar National Historic Site (restaurants and fast food outlets are located in Lone Pine and Independence). Water will be provided at the Pilgrimage.
Both the daytime program and the Manzanar At Dusk event are free and open to the public.
For more information, check the Manzanar Committee’s official web site at https://manzanarcommittee.org, call (323) 662-5102, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow the Manzanar Committee on Facebook and Twitter.
The Manzanar Committee is dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the incarceration and violation of civil rights of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II and to the continuing struggle of all peoples when Constitutional rights are in danger. A non-profit organization that has sponsored the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, along with other educational programs, the Manzanar Committee has also played a key role in the establishment and continued development of the Manzanar National Historic Site.
LEAD PHOTO: UCLA Kyodo Taiko at the 41st Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 24, 2010. Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee.
Manzanar National Historic Site
Lone Pine High School
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