Building 640 at the Presidio in San Francisco

Building 640 at the Presidio in San Francisco
Information Source for the Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center

Monday, October 4, 2010

Panel Discussion: Music and Arts in the Camps; 10/2/2010

We had a successful panel discussion at the NJAHS Peace Gallery entitled MUSIC AND ARTS IN THE CAMPS. The panel included musician, jazz historian and author of Reminiscing in Swingtime George Yoshida, musician and musical historian Shirley Muramoto, musician, composer and ethno-musicologist Anthony Brown, and musician and composer Mark Izu.

It was a lively and informative discussion that included the influence of jazz and swing music in the concentration camps of WWII and the segregated units of the military by George Yoshida. He also showed some slides of bands in the period.

Shirley Muramoto also spoke about the sustained teaching of traditional Japanese instruments and art such as the koto and the biwa, in camp. She had a slide show of photos of koto, biwa, and Japanese dancers from the camps. She played a recording that was made in camp with singing, koto and biwa.

Mark Izu talked about getting people ready to tell their stories and played a short CD by his storyteller wife Brenda Aoki.

Ethno-musicologist Anthony Brown recounted how his parents met through jazz at an SRO club in Japan. He also spoke about how jazz is a medium of expression that is free and creative and that Asian American Jazz has its roots in the social conditions of the 1960's and 1970's. These conditions included the movements for equality and liberation by Third World and Asian people in the U.S. such as the Civil Rights Movement as well as the anti-war in Viet Nam movement.

All in all it was an interesting and informative talk and was well received by the audience. The audience included students and old.

Photo: Panelists: (from left) Anthony Brown, Shirley Muramoto, George Yoshida and Mark Izu.

Thank you very much, everyone!

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