An Unknowing Resistance print by Chris Hopkins
14.5'' x 20'' giclee print
Since their immigration to the U.S., people of Japanese ancestry as well as their family members who were born American had engaged in a variety of Japanese musical activities before during and after the war simply because they loved the art. These folks helped others to learn and enjoy these arts, and to help draw their attention away from their surroundings, giving them pride and self-esteem.
The American government had a tendency to overreact to anything with a tangible connection to Japan before the mass incarceration of Japanese-Americans, the internees were truly in need of recreational activities- including music and dance- as means to bring enjoyment and solace to the grim and stressful camp life and to sustain hope. Having been separated from the stresses and demands of earning an independent living, the internees had an abundance of free time. Due to the high concentration of the Japanese population, instructors in a wide variety of musical forms, especially in Japanese genres, became accessible to many. The WRA tolerated Japanese cultural activities in the camps because the Japanese-Americans were now under unbroken surveillance, segregated behind barbed wire fences. Yet, the degree of acceptance of Japanese cultural activity differed from camp to camp, depending on the director appointed by the WRA.
Teachers such as Bando Mitsusa and Sahomi Tachicana taught at Tule Lake. Lily Uematsu taught at Rohwer. Yukino Okubo and Yukino Okubo Harada taught at Amache.
These qualified instructors taught Japanese cultural arts to those young and old.