Thursday, October 13, 2016

8th Annual Boston Asian American Film Festival Oct 20-23

The 8th annual Boston Asian American Film Festival runs from October 20th to 23rd. This year's festival has films from a Japanese American filmmaker, a Japanese-Brazilian filmmaker, a Japanese animator, and a film about a local Japanese American mental health activist. Check out the other films here.

I'm really excited that Emerson College alum Matthew Hashiguchi's film Good Luck Soup will be screened for free at BAAFF! The film is being co-presented with Emerson's Bright Lights Series. Good Luck Soup is a transmedia documentary. Check out the film's interactive site. This is Matthew's second film at BAAFF. People Aren't All Bad with Yutaka Kobayashi was in the 2012 Shorts Program.

Good Luck Soup

Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 7:00 - 9:00pm (admission is free but you need to RSVP for tickets
Bright Family Screening Room @ The Paramount Center, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111
Film screening will be followed by a Q&A with Matthew.
Directed by Matthew Hashiguchi
2016 | 70 mins | USA | Documentary 

After years of rejecting his Japanese heritage, filmmaker Matthew Hashiguchi sets out on a humorous yet insightful journey to discover if his joyful grandmother and other family members also struggled with their Japanese American identities, just as he did while growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood in the Midwest. Along the way, Matthew uncovers the family’s decades-long struggle to assimilate into the Midwest and obtains insightful, yet humorous wisdom from his grandmother on how she overcame racial adversity after leaving the WWII Japanese American Internment Camps.

Shorts: Be True

Saturday, October 22, 2016, 1:30pm (tickets)
Bright Family Screening Room @ The Paramount Center, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111
Followed by Q&A with various filmmakers.

Leandro Tadashi, a Japanese-Brazilian filmmaker, filmed in Brazil. The full film can be seen on Vimeo (click the blue "CC" for subtitles in English, Japanese, Spanish, French and Portuguese!). I emailed with Leandro and learned that his grandmother, Yuriko Miamoto Shimata, plays Bruno's Bá. She also starred in his 2011 short Oyasuminasai. Unfortunately, Leandro won't be able to make it for the Q&A.

Written & directed by Leandro Tadashi
2015 | 14 mins | Brazil | Drama

Tells the story of a little Japanese-Brazilian boy named Bruno, whose life is turned upside down when his "Bá" (from Bāchan, grandma in Japanese) is brought to live in his house.

Shorts: It's Complicated

Sunday, October 23, 2016, 1:00pm (tickets)
Bright Family Screening Room @ The Paramount Center, 559 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111
Followed by Q&A with various filmmakers.

Directed by Kathryn Klingle
2016 | USA | 9 mins | Documentary

"Pata" explores what role chronic depression has played in the life of Pata Suyemoto--teacher, artist, mental health activist.

Asian CineVision has an interesting interview with Masayuki Kusaka, the producer of Harry on the Clouds. The film was originally produced as a music video for the Japanese band, RAM WIRE, with the title 僕らの手には何もないけど (Bokura no te ni wa nani mo naikedo) "Although there is nothing in our hands". They changed the soundtrack and sent it off to film festivals around the world. [Special thanks to Sachiko T for translation help!]

Harry on the Clouds
Directed by Aya Shiroi (城井文)
2016 | Japan | 4 mins | Drama (Animated)

Mother sheep can't wake up because Harry was gone. But Harry is looking his mother from the clouds.

See trailers for 16 films in this year's festival:

Friday, October 7, 2016

Film: East Coast premiere of Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the World War II Internment Camps


Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the World War II Internment Camps

Directed by Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto-Wong
2014 | 56 mins | Documentary

“Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the World War II Internment Camps” is the full title of this documentary, using historical footage and interviews from artists who were interned to tell the story of how traditional Japanese cultural arts were maintained at a time when the War Relocation Authority (WRA) emphasized the importance of assimilation and Americanization.  Various essays and studies concerning the camps have been published, but have focused on the political and legal aspects of the internment, while hardly mentioning cultural and recreational activities in the camps.  When cultural and recreational activities have been documented, they have focused on American culture, such as baseball and swing music.  This film will be the first major presentation of the existence of traditional music, dance and drama in the camps.  It is possible only because Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto-Wong has been searching, researching and collecting for over 20 years information on who these artists were.  She has collected interviews, oral and visual histories, as well as artifacts from the internees and relatives of internees, including teachers, students, the performers, and the incredible artists who made instruments, costumes, and the props needed for a full performance from scraps of wood, toothbrush handles, gunny sacks, paint, and whatever they could scrape up.  Her own family’s history with the camps led her to become a kotoist and teacher of the Japanese koto (13-stringed zither).
Very little is known of the existence of traditional Japanese performance arts in the camps.  The artists Muramoto-Wong has interviewed are all Americans, all born here, but practiced Japanese arts before the war, during, and after the war, because they loved the art.  This made them “social activists” in their own quiet way, continuing the music and dance they loved, helping others to learn and enjoy these arts, and to help draw their attention away from their surroundings, giving them pride and self-esteem.  Their efforts kept Japanese cultural arts alive in our communities today.
We have interviewed 30 artists in the fields of music (koto, nagauta shamisen, shakuhachi, shigin, biwa), dance (buyo, obon) and drama (kabuki) who were interned at Tule Lake, Manzanar, Amache/Granada, Rohwer, Gila River, and Topaz.  We have interviewed Prof. Minako Waseda of Geijutsu Daigaku University of Music and Arts, and Kunitachi College of Music, both universities in Tokyo, whose research thesis, Extraordinary Circumstances, Exceptional Practices: Music in Japanese American Concentration Camps, had written the only scholarly work that had been published on this subject.  We are also interviewing students of these arts in America, some who learned from these artists, and some who are carrying on the tradition in our communities today, and some who have taken this knowledge, and expanded creatively and artistically in various imaginative ways.
Film locations include camps at Manzanar, Tule Lake, Heart Mountain; locations in Japan, such as Osaka, Kyoto, 3 Tokyo music universities (Tokyo Ongaku Daigaku, Geijutsu Daigaku, Kunitachi College of Music); Cherry Blossom Festivals in San Francisco and Cupertino; San Jose Obon Festival; Chidori Band 59th Anniversary Concert; Japanese American Museum of San Jose; dance studio of Bando Misayasu (aka Mary Arii Mah), and koto studio of Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto-Wong.
Film sponsored, in part, by the National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites grant.

Event Information
Film screening followed by Q&A with creative director Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto-Wong and actress Takayo Fischer with koto performance by Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto-Wong.

Date & Time
Monday, October 24, 2016
3:00 - 6:00pm

UMass Boston
McCormack Hall, Ryan Lounge, Room M-3-721 (3rd floor)
Dorchester, MA 02125

Campus Map
Parking Map 
Detailed parking information
Recommended lots:

  • UMass Boston Bayside Lot (200 Mt. Vernon Street)
  • Morrissey Satellite Lot (75 Morrissey Boulevard) Herb Chambers property next to the Boston Globe building
  • St. Christopher’s Church across from the Bayside Lot


Date & Time
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
7:00 - 9:00pm

Wellesley College
Acorns House (building not on map - head toward the lake, pass Clapp Library and Acorns House is to the right of Harambee House)
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481

Visitors may park at the Davis Parking Facility.


Date & Time
Thursday, October 27, 2016
6:30 - 8:30pm

Brandeis University
Mandel Center for the Humanities, Room G12
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02453

After 5pm visitors may park anywhere. Tower Lot is closest to the Mandel Center.


Special thanks to Kimi Maeda for making the introductions that allowed us to get Hidden Legacy screened at Brandeis!

About the Creative Director

Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto-Wong was raised in a musical family whose roots lie in the Chikushi Kai School of kotoists in Japan.   Her mother is a respected head of the Chikushi Kai in the Bay Area, with close ties to her teachers in Japan. Shirley was taught within that tradition, learning and constantly performing the core of traditional pieces shared by all koto groups and also the repertoire particular to the Chikushi Kai.  Importantly, it is a group which is also open to contemporary music for the koto, so that her repertoire encompasses such works as the compositions of Tadao Sawai, Katsutoshi Nagasawa and Shinichi Yuize.  From that spirit of open-mindedness (within tradition), Shirley also pursued her interest in jazz and as it extends to the koto, and improvisation. 

In 1976, Shirley received her “Shihan” degree (instructor’s license) with “Yushusho” (highest) honors from the Chikushi School in Fukuoka, Japan, and her "Dai Shihan" Master’s degree from the same school in 2000 for her mastery of the koto.

A dedicated musician for over 50 years, Shirley strives to involve diverse genres of art and music in her performances.  She teaches private students, and has offered classes in koto music at public schools and at universities, most notably classes at UC Berkeley. Shirley has incorporated storytelling, poetry, hip-hop, gospel, bluegrass, jazz, European classical, and has arranged world songs from countries such as China, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Philippines and so on, for koto, as well as performing and arranging traditional and contemporary Japanese songs, and composing her own koto pieces.   She also is the leader of the world jazz fusion group, the Murasaki Ensemble.

“The koto is an extremely versatile instrument,” says Shirley.  “Though it seems limited and simple in its nature, it’s possible to extract a myriad of textures and sounds through various techniques and even percussive rhythms by incorporating the body of the instrument itself.  The koto is initially easy to play, but it really takes years of practice to be able to produce a good sound.”

Shirley’s koto influences include koto masters Katsuko Chikushi, Kimio Eto, Kazue Sawai, and June Kuramoto. Her jazz influences come from the members of the her jazz group, the Murasaki Ensemble, who are Vince Delgado on percussion, Jeff Massanari on guitar, Matt Eakle on flute, and Alex Baum on bass. 

Because of Shirley’s versatility on the koto, she has performed for many notable people and celebrities, such as: Senator Diane Feinstein, George Lucas/Lucas Films, former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, Walter Shorenstein, Larry Ellison and Mikael Gorbachev.  She has also performed at many eclectic events from the Fillmore and Union Street Jazz Festivals to the AT&T Golf Tournament hosted by Clint Eastwood, Christina Aguilera, and the Sacramento, Marin, and Fremont symphony orchestras. Shirley has performed at numerous community events, and given of her time to many of them, including annual Cherry Blossom Festivals in San Francisco and Cupertino, many Obon festivals in Oakland, Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Jose, just to name a few.  In 2012, Shirley was honored by the Hokka Nichibei Kai Bunka Japanese American Cultural Association of America by being inducted into their Hall of Fame.

Shirley has been most interested in researching Japanese traditional performance arts in the World War II concentration camps, after finding out that her mother learned to play the koto from koto teachers at Topaz and Tule Lake camps during WWII.  In 2012, she was awarded a National Parks Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites grant to turn her decades-long research into a documentary film.  The film, “Japanese Traditional Performance Arts in the World War II Internment Camps” completed in 2014, includes interviews and stories from 21 people who experienced Japanese performing arts in the camps, or were taught by teachers from the camps, archival photos as well as actual film footage of performances in the camps.  Hidden Legacy has been screened publicly at numerous community showings, at universities including UC Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford, Tokyo Arts, Waseda, Musashino and Doshisha Universities, and aired on public TV across the United States since its premiere.

Takayo Fischer
Actress Takayo Fischer learned kabuki, buyō, and shamisen while she was interned at the Rohwer War Relocation Center in Arkansas during WWII. She is best known for her roles as Mistress Chang in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and as Suzanne, the secretary to Brad Pitt's character, Billy, in the film Moneyball. Takayo is active with the renowned Asian American theater organization East West Players in Los Angeles and has acted on Broadway.

Kinko Hatakeda Tsubouchi (Takayo's mother)
making crepe paper tsumami as Takayo looks on.
Rohwer War Relocation Center, Arkansas
Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: The Arts of the
Japanese in our War Relocation Camps

by Allen H. Eaton
Photo credit: Paul Faris
Related links

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Japan Festival Boston & Brookline Cherry Blossom Festival celebrating five years

Boston's two largest Japanese festivals are celebrating five years this year!

Japan Festival Boston & Cosplay Matsuri


Japan Festival Boston (formerly Haru Matsuri and Japan Festival in Boston) is hoping for this year's matsuri to be twice as large as last year's when 40,000 people attended! It looks like they are also expanding the cosplay portion of the event to be a matsuri within a matsuri. Their website has been updated with much more detailed information including team bios of the folks who are organizing the festival. Also check their Facebook page where there's a lot of information posted that isn't on the website.

Weaving at SAORI Worcester booth
2015 Japan Festival Boston
As usual there will be lots of arts organizations and businesses, many of whom have participated in past years, including Tewassa, GrayMist Studio & Shop, SAORI Worcester, Kaji Aso Studio, Chikako Mukai of Chikako Designs, Julie Kohaya of Heavenly Cranes Jewelry, amezaiku artist Candy Miyuki and Japanese calligraphy artist Kokin Manabe, who has been a guest artist at the Boston Children's Museum. There will be at least a couple of businesses selling kimono and yukata (Nomura Kimono Shop from Japan and Ohio Kimono).

The grill @ Oga's booth
2015 Japan Festival Boston
This year's food vendors include a mix of local, NYC-area, and Japan-based businesses. Note that lines are always insanely long so you should take snacks, especially if you have children. Last year some people ended up going to fast food places near the Boston Common because it was easier than standing in line. One of their GoFundMe perks this year is a $50 fast pass that you can use at some of the food booths, but it's unclear how that's going to work. Issues with food lines have unfortunately been a recurring problem for the festival. The food always looks oishii but I've rarely been able to eat at the food booths since I haven't had time to stand in line.

See photos from 2015 Japan Festival Boston.
See photos from 2014 Japan Festival in Boston. 

Date & Time
Sunday, April 24, 2016
11am - 6pm

Boston Common at the Beacon & Charles Street corner (near Frog Pond).
See festival map.

How you can help
The festival is not cheap to produce and JREX is crowdfunding with GoFundMe again. One of the rewards is a $75 yukata rental.

They are also seeking volunteers.

Brookline Cherry Blossom Festival


The Brookline Cherry Blossom Festival (fomerly Brookline Sakura Matsuri) is also celebrating five years. This very family-friendly matsuri with lots of activities for kids is produced by The Genki Spark (also in their fifth year) and Brookline High School's Japanese Program. The festival has grown every year and while much smaller than the Japan Festival Boston, has a great community vibe and lots of taiko from The Genki Spark and guest artists from around New England: Odaiko New England, Takahashi Minyo Kai, ShinDaiko, Mountain River Taiko, and Stuart Paton & Burlington Taiko. Last year over 1,300 festivalgoers came from all over New England and as far away as Canada.

Food vendors this year are Ittoku, who has been at the festival since they added food vendors in 2014, Itadaki, Japonaise Bakery, and Hana Japan (who host their own Natsu Matsuri every August). The food lines aren't as long as the Japan Festival Boston but if you have young children you should plan ahead. There are no restaurants within walking distance of the high school.

See videos from 2015 Brookline Cherry Blossom Festival.
See photos from 2014 Brookline Sakura Matsuri.

Date & Time
Saturday, April 30, 2016
noon - 4pm

Brookline High School Quad (Rain Location: Schluntz Gym)
115 Greenough Street, Brookline, MA, 02445

Suggested Donation: $5/students, $10-20 families
All proceeds support the BHS Japan Exchange Program ​Scholarship Fund and promotion of the arts

Disclosure: I would like to note that I am friends with some of the organizers of both of these festivals, however, I publicize them because they are the largest Japanese cultural events in the Boston area, not just because my friends organize them. :)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Temporarily Closed: Japonaise Bakery in Brookline

I was sad when I got to Japonaise Bakery yesterday and saw that the windows were papered over and they were closed. Fortunately, the closure is just temporary. I emailed them and the owner, Takeo Sakan, replied to say that he's installing some new equipment and hopes to reopen by the beginning or middle of next week. Phew! Hopefully that means their bread machine will be back up and running. It recently broke again. :( This is very sad because they're the only local source of freshly made Japanese breads in the Boston area. I'm very fond of their shoku pan (Japanese white bread).

As far as I'm aware, Japonaise Bakery is the only Japanese bakery in New England. I'm told here used to be a Japanese cake shop years ago in Belmont but they closed a long time ago. Another Japanese dessert business, Mochi Kitchen, was only open for a few years and closed last March when the owner relocated.

Japonaise Bakery was recently featured in a Harvard Magazine article about local bakeries.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Upcoming taiko performances

A couple of big taiko performances are happening in the next month!

The Genki Spark 5th Anniversary Making Women's History

The Genki Spark, the only all female, pan-Asian taiko troupe in the US, continues their year-long celebration of their 5th anniversary with two concerts later this month. Their events and performances are always high energy and positive and I love seeing them perform!

Being our 5th year we want to celebrate BIG! This year's 2 hour show is filled with some of our favorite pieces like 'Renshu', 'Kizuna', and our spoken word piece 'Who Am I? What Am I?' In addition, our brand new pieces: 'Hot Flash', 'Kachidoki', and 'Immigration Stories' feature and celebrate the diverse experiences of the women in our membership. New location, new pieces, same Genki love, joy, and passion!

This year we're thrilled to include long time friends and guest artists Tiffany Tamaribuchi (Saturday only) from Sacramento Taiko Dan (CA) and Karen Falkenstrom from Odaiko Sonora (AZ.)

As always, our show will begin with a reception with yummy treats, so bring your friends, bring your family, and come early to relax and celebrate with us.

Date & Time
Saturday, March 19, 2016
6:00pm Reception
7:00 - 9:00pm Show

Sunday, March 20, 2016
11:00am Reception
12:00 - 2:00pm Show

Hibernian Hall
184 Dudley St., Roxbury MA 02119

See the Hibernian Hall website for details.

In advance: $20 general admission, $10 student w/ ID, $8 children under 10
At the door: $25 general admission, $15 student w/ ID, $10 children under 10
Group discounts available.
Purchase tickets here.

Tamagawa Taiko & Dance

Tamagawa Taiko & Dance, a performance group from Tamagawa University in Tokyo led by professor and kabuki master Isaburo Hanayagi, is returning to the Boston area for a performance at Wellesley College. Their performance is co-presented by The Japan Society of Boston.

Join us to experience an exciting evening of high energy Taiko drumming and Japanese folkloric dancing on the beautiful campus at Wellesley College. 
The Tamagawa Taiko & Dance group has been touring the world since 1961. With a growing fan base, they have been invited to the Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival every year since 2003.

This group of over 40 highly talented performers are returning to the U.S. this year to share their music & dance in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New York and Boston! Performances in New York have been sold out every year since 2010.

Date & Time
Saturday, April 9, 2016
5:00pm Doors open
6:00 - 7:30pm Performance

Wellesley College, Alumnae Hall
106 Central St., Wellesley, MA 02481


$20 general admission, $10 students (note: ticket prices are $22.09 & $11.54 with surcharge)
Purchase tickets here.

Update: A friend just pointed out that I forgot to include the March 13th performance of Yamato: The Drummers of Japan at Berklee College of Music.

See also:

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Robert J. Maeda, 1932-2016

6/16/16 Update: Robert Maeda's memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 3pm at Brandeis University in Rapaporte Treasure Hall in the Goldfarb Library, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453. The service is open to the public.

I learned a couple of weeks ago that one of our local Japanese American community leaders passed away last month. Robert J. Maeda was Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at Brandeis University where he taught for 33 years before retiring in 2000. He was the first Asian American hired by Brandeis to teach Asian Art. The Brandeis Fine Arts Department described him as "an inspiring teacher for generations of Brandeis students, a cherished colleague and friend, and a warm, re-assuring presence to all who knew him." Robert was also former president and long-time member of the board of the New England Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League.

I never met Robert, but I did meet his daughter, theatre artist Kimi Maeda, when she performed a very moving play about her father's life and his struggle with dementia at Brandeis last year. Kimi is about to start a Northeastern tour of that show and will be performing Bend in Boston from Friday, February 19th to Saturday, February 27th. I encourage people to attend and support Kimi in her journey to keep her father's memory alive. The following essay was published in the New England JACL's mid-February newsletter.

A special message from Kimi Maeda

Robert Maeda’s daughter, Kimi, is undertaking a Northeastern tour of Bend, her one-woman stage production created to honor her father’s experiences during World War II. She sent us this message.

For the past few years my father has been slowly fading away. The illness that began as a wrong turn on a familiar drive home eventually reduced him to the shallow breathing that kept us on edge by his bedside. When he died, he left an emptiness in his wake.

People ask me if it is difficult to be doing a performance about his life so soon after his death. In some ways I think it is actually comforting. I created this show during his illness as a way to cope with everything that I was feeling. Rehearsing in preparation for the tour has been similarly therapeutic. I come into the studio every day and draw my dad over and over again while I listen to recordings of his voice. I am memorizing the shape of his face and the wrinkles on his brow. He feels very present, and that is filling the emptiness.

Bend is about forgetting, but it is also about memory. The New England Chapter of the JACL and I originally intended this Day of Remembrance Tour to commemorate Roosevelt signing Executive Order 9066 which led to the incarceration of Japanese American families on the West Coast after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Now I think it is actually a fitting memorial for my father, as well.

A friend of mine whose father died recently wrote that “After the initial flurry of burial, obituary, and funeral arrangements passed, I began to think more about my dad from when he was healthy. The years of sickness have faded more, and the memories of my dad through all the years of my childhood and beyond have become stronger. It was like when my dad passed, the years of illness did too, and I was left with the times of what really mattered.” In Bend I express my fear that my father’s memory will be forgotten. However, this tour is not only allowing me to keep his memory present, it is also giving me the opportunity to share his story with so many people.

The following tribute to Robert was included in the New England JACL's mid-February newsletter.
New England JACL has lost a wonderful friend, Robert Maeda. Robert passed away on Saturday, January 30, at the age of 83. He served as our JACL president in the 1980s and was active in the Japanese American community’s successful efforts to fight for reparations for families incarcerated in American’s concentration camps during World War II. He was a long-time member of our chapter’s Board and was always available to us as a speaker on any subject we required, especially on the arts. Robert was a professor of Asian Art at Brandeis University until his retirement in 2000. During his career he was a prolific scholar and his research centered around paintings from the Sung Dynasty as well as the Japanese American artist, Isamu Noguchi. Robert is survived by his wife Nobuko of Concord, MA; his daughter Kimi of Columbia, SC; and his sister Edith of Skokie, IL. A memorial service will be held later this year. For the Concord Journal obituary, go to: [].

Robert's official obituary, which was published in The Concord Journal, can also be seen at
Robert J. Maeda passed away on Saturday, January 30 at age 83. Robert was the Robert B. and Beatrice C. Mayer Professor of Fine Arts, Emeritus at Brandeis University and was a longtime resident of Concord, MA. He is survived by his wife Nobuko, of Concord, MA, his daughter Kimi, of Columbia, SC and his sister, Edith, of Skokie, IL.

Robert was born in El Centro, CA in 1932, the seventh child of Junichi and Tetsue Maeda. In 1942, the family was sent to the Colorado River Relocation Center in Poston, AZ as one of the thousands of Japanese American families forced into incarceration during WWII. From Poston, Robert moved with his family to Chicago, IL, where he eventually graduated from Lane Tech High School in 1950. He received a B.A. in Western Art History from the University of Illinois in 1953. Beginning in 1954, he served a total of eight years in the US Army and Army Reserves achieving the rank of Specialist, 4th Class. In 1960, he received an M.A. in Asian Art History from the University of Michigan and in 1969 completed his PhD at Harvard University in Asian Art History.

In 1967, Robert was hired as the first Asian American professor to teach Asian Art at Brandeis University. He spent his entire teaching career at Brandeis, retiring in 2000. Throughout his career, Robert was the recipient of many fellowships and awards, including a Fulbright fellowship in 1964 that took him to Japan. In 1973 Robert was a member of the Chinese Archaeology Delegation, the first group of art historians from the US to visit China. A prolific scholar, Robert’s research centered around paintings from the Sung Dynasty as well as the Japanese American artist Isamu Noguchi. Among his best known works are Two Sung Texts on Chinese Painting and the Landscape Styles of the 11th and 12th Centuries, published by Garland Press and “The ‘Water” Theme in Chinese Painting,” published in Artibus Asiae, in 1971.

In addition to his scholarly work, Robert was a leader in the Japanese American community in Massachusetts, serving on the board of the New England Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and the Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund. As president of the board of the regional JACL in the 1980s, Robert was active in the organization’s successful fight for reparations for families incarcerated in relocation centers during WWII.

Following his retirement, Robert continued to serve his community by teaching art history classes at Concord Village University and volunteering at Emerson Hospital in Concord.

A memorial service for Robert will be held later this year. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Robert’s honor to the Japanese American Citizens League, New England Chapter, P.O. Box 592, Lincoln, MA 01773 or Brandeis University, 

The above are reprinted with permission of the New England JACL and Kimi Maeda. Messages for the family can be left at the Dee Funeral Home website.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Film: Paper Lanterns

Paper Lanterns

Directed by Barry Frechette
2016 | Documentary

In 2015, as America and Japan celebrated the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, few remembered – if they ever knew – that twelve American prisoners-of-war were on the ground in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and were killed by the atomic bomb that destroyed the city that day.
One of the Americans was Normand Brissette, a teen-age Navy flier from Lowell, Massachusetts; another was Sgt. Ralph Neal from Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

This powerful new film tells their story.

And the story of Shigeaki Mori, himself a Hiroshima survivor, who never knew the American bomb victims but who has devoted his life to finding their families and dedicating monuments to their memory.
Sponsored by The Japan Society of Boston, Connolly Partners, and Element Productions.

Date & Time
Thursday, February 25, 2016

Revere Hotel Theatre 1
200 Stuart Street Boston, MA 02116

Free. Seating is limited. Registration required.

Related links