The L.A. Times And Tadashi Nakamura

Friday, February 27, 2009

The LAT has a good article on Tad Nakamura, just in time for the premiere of his film tomorrow night:

Documentary filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura first heard about Chris Iijima while listening to his parents talk about "the movement." That movement was something that had happened eons ago, in the 1970s, a time when young Asian Americans were uncovering hidden histories, creating their own art and music and theater, and forming groups with names like the Yellow Brotherhood and Asian Americans for Action.

Iijima had been a part of all of that. He'd been in a band, released an album, had even toured across the country. When his parents spoke of him, though, he was just Chris, a musician and friend from the old days.

It wasn't until Nakamura was an undergraduate at UCLA that he discovered just how revolutionary his parents' friend was. Nakamura was listening to a song on one of those old records -- "We Are the Children," from the 1973 album "A Grain of Sand" -- and heard Iijima and bandmate Nobuko Miyamoto sing of their solidarity with freedom fighters and migrant workers. They called "relocation centers" like Manzanar and Tule Lake "concentration camps" (Miyamoto was interned as a young girl, as was Iijima's mother), and sang of watching U.S. war movies and "secretly rooting for the other side."

For Nakamura, it was a revelation. "Growing up, if there was a singer, any singer, who was even part Asian, you'd go, wow, an Asian singer," he says. "And here were Japanese Americans singing about being Japanese American, and just putting it out there."
Read it in full here.