Documentary on Taiko in Hawaii to Be Screened

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“Great Grandfather’s Drum” will be screened on Saturday, May 19, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum, 369 E. First St. in Little Tokyo.

The documentary celebrates Japanese American culture and history in Hawaii — an inspiring century-long story of struggle and success, including plantation life, patriotic heroism during World War II, and helping to create statehood for Hawaii.

The story is told through an intimate and joyful portrait of Maui Taiko, a contemporary Japanese American drum ensemble, descendants of plantation workers, and by elders who lived this history. Experience Maui Taiko’s dynamic performances on the giant drums, and travel with them on a heartfelt journey back to rural Japan to seek their ancestral roots. These families handed down taiko traditions through five generations in Hawaii. Taiko is a living part of their community today.

For visitors to the islands, “Great Grandfather’s Drum” unlocks the door to a colorful culture that is unique to Hawaii, a world seldom seen by people outside the community. Americans of Japanese ancestry are one of the largest ethnic groups in Hawaii.

A documentary for public television from Opticus Media and award-winning producers Victoria and Cal Lewin, “Great Grandfather’s Drum” won the 2011 Telly Award and was an official selection of the 2011 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival. It was broadcast on PBS Hawaii and has been shown on Hawaiian Airlines flights.

Q&A with the filmmakers will follow the screening. The DVD is available at the Museum Store.

For more information, call (213) 625-0414 or visit www.janm.org.

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