CULTURAL: UCLA Nikkei Student Union Odori group to lead traditional Ondo dancing at 43rd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage
LOS ANGELES — UCLA Kyodo Taiko will perform at the 43rd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, sponsored by the Los Angeles-based Manzanar Committee, scheduled for 12:00 PM PDT on Saturday, April 28, 2012, 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.
Each year, over 1,000 people from diverse backgrounds, including students, teachers, community members, clergy and former incarcerees attend the Pilgrimage, which commemorates the unjust imprisonment of over 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry in ten American concentration camps located in the most desolate, isolated regions of the United States. Manzanar was the first of these camps to be established.
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 2011-12 directors Kenny Chang, Michelle Cheng, and Sydney Shiroyama, 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.
The featured speaker at this year’s Pilgrimage will be Dr. Mitchell T. Maki, the lead author of Achieving the Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress, a detailed case study of the passage of the 1988 Civil Liberties Act, which documents the development of the redress movement from its earliest roots during World War II, the formal introduction of the idea during the 1970s, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, the judicial battles during the 1980s, and the lobbying of the legislative and executive branches in the 1980s and 1990s.
Rose Ochi, a key figure in the establishment of the Manzanar National Historic Site, and long-time pro bono legal counsel for the Manzanar Committee, will be honored at the Pilgrimage with the 2012 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, led by the UCLA Nikkei Student Union’s Odori dance group.
In addition to the daytime program, the popular Manzanar At Dusk (MAD) program follows that same evening, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, at the Lone Pine High School gymnasium, located at 538 South Main Street (U.S. Highway 395), in Lone Pine, nine miles south of the Manzanar National Historic Site, across the street from McDonald’s.
Through a creative presentation, small group discussions and an open mic session, MAD participants will have the opportunity to learn about the experiences of those incarcerated in the camps. Participants will also be able to interact with former incarcerees in attendance to hear their personal stories, 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 blog 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, shown here during the 42nd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, will perform once again at the 43rd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, April 28, 2012. Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee.
Manzanar National Historic Site
Lone Pine High School
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