UCLA Kyodo Taiko to Perform at 44th Manzanar Pilgrimage

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UCLA Kyodo Taiko performing during last year’s Manzanar Pilgrimage.

UCLA Kyodo Taiko will perform at the 44th annual  Manzanar Pilgrimage, sponsored by the Manzanar Committee, scheduled for 12 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, at the Manzanar National Historic Site, located on U.S. 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 incarcerates, attend the pilgrimage, which commemorates the unjust imprisonment of over 110,000 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 UCLA’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Japanese American internment, which was held in 1992.

Led by 2012-13 directors Kacie Hirano and Reid Taguchi, UCLA Kyodo Taiko is composed entirely of UCLA students. They have performed annually at local K-12 schools, Nisei Week, the Los Angeles 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 those who wish to continue with taiko after their college careers end, as many alumni have become members of professional taiko groups, including Nishikaze Taiko Ensemble, TaikoProject and Progressive Taiko (Prota).

The pilgrimage program will feature speakers, the traditional interfaith service, and ondo dancing.

In addition to the daytime program, the popular Manzanar At Dusk program follows that evening, from 5 to 8 p.m., at the Lone Pine High School auditorium, located at 538 S. Main St. (Highway 395), in Lone Pine, nine miles south of the Manzanar National Historic Site, across the street from McDonald’s.

Manzanar At Dusk is co-sponsored by the Cal State Long Beach Nikkei Student Union, the Cal Poly Pomona Nikkei Student Union, the UCLA Nikkei Student Union, and the UC San Diego Nikkei Student Union.

Through a creative presentation, small group discussions, and an open mic session, 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 and/or their relatives to hear their stories, share their own experiences, and discuss the relevance of the concentration camp experience to present-day events and issues.

Further details about the pilgrimage will be announced at a later date.

The Manzanar Committee has also announced that bus transportation will be available from Los Angeles.

An air-conditioned bus will depart from St. Francis Xavier Chapel Japanese Catholic Center (formerly the Maryknoll Japanese Catholic Center), 222 S. Hewitt St., Los Angeles, at 7 a.m. on April 27. They will arrive at the Manzanar National Historic Site at approximately 11:30 a.m.

The bus will take participants to the Interpretive Center at the Manzanar National Historic Site following the afternoon program. The bus should arrive back in Los Angeles at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Bus reservations are now being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For further information, or to make a reservation, call (323) 662-5102 or email [email protected] The non-refundable fare is $40 per seat.

Those wishing to attend Manzanar At Dusk should make other transportation arrangements.

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 Manzanar At Dusk are free and open to the public.

For more information, check the Manzanar Committee’s official blog at http://blog.manzanarcommittee.org, call (323) 662-5102, or email [email protected] You can also follow the Manzanar Committee on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ManzanarCommittee) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/manzanarcomm).

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 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.

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