[VIRTUAL] Afro-Okinawan Dialogues, Part 2 feat. Ariko Ikehara (Presentation on Black-Okinawan Identity)

  • en

Oct 202029
7:00p.m. - 8:30p.m.

This is a virtual event
Gardena, California, 90247
United States

(The Zoom link will be emailed to you before the event)

Ariko Ikehara: Community Mapping at Okinawa's Koza Crossroads

Join us for a conversation with Ariko Ikehara with William Roper and Shō Tanaka.

Ariko will speak about MiXtopia, a community research center that lies at the heart of Teruya, formerly known as the Black District in central Okinawa. Representing Koza’s Crossroads or the coming together of many communities, the center is currently conducting a community mapping project that works to document the everyday life of Okinawans who not only survive but thrived in the district, which includes the market, the business, and the bar and entertainment, as one intersecting border that brought together Okinawans, Black Soldiers, and multi-ethnic and national communities in the aftermath of the Pacific War. Join us for a conversation with the founder and director of MiXtopia Ariko Ikehara as she speaks with Los Angeles based musician William Roper about what MiXtopia means to her and how she intends to use art as a decolonial and performance art/life method to represent MiXtory (history, story, mystery) of the way we think about research. This talk is co-sponsored as part of the EastSide Arts Alliance / NAKA Dance Theater’s Live Arts Resistance series (Oakland) and the Afro-Okinawan Dialogue Series created by the Okinawa Association of America (Los Angeles).

REGISTER Here: https://tinyurl.com/afrookinawa2

ASL interpreted by Christine Nakahara and Eboni Gaytan.


Ariko S. Ikehara is a Director at Koza X MiXtopia Research Center in Okinawa. She earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 2016. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Osaka University (2017_19), and a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Gender and Women Studies at UC Berkeley (2016). Her peer-reviewed published works are “Champurū Text: Postwar Okinawan Writing,” Beyond American Occupation: Race and Agency in Okinawa, 1945-2015. Lexington Press. 2017., and “Third Space as Decolonial Con/Text: Okinawa’s American Champurū.” Transnational Asia: An Online Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 1-1. Fall, 2016. Chao Center for Asian Studies, Rice University. She is currently working on a book manuscript working-title ‘‘Okinawa’s MiXtopia: Teruya Soul MiXtory”, which is a choreographic study of a place known as the black district that existed during the American occupation on Okinawa. Her forthcoming essay “Sketches of Teruya: MiXtory of Place” will be published in The Avery Review, a project of the Office of Publications at the Columbia University Graduate Schools of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.


William Roper is a multi-disciplinary artist residing in Los Angeles. His primary foci are music composition, music performance and improvisation, and the visual arts. He performs on instruments in the low brass family, several ethnic aerophones and instruments of his own design. He creates works that merge music, theatre, extemporaneous spoken word and the visual arts. His works explore histories of place, ethnic and cultural groups, and self-history. William studied at CSU Northridge, Cleveland Institute of Music, Case Western Reserve University and Carnegie-Mellon Reserve University. As a musician, his experience ranges from symphonic music to free improvisation. He has performed or recorded with artists such as Gustavo Dudamel, Elton John, Wadada Leo Smith and Yusef Lateef. He has toured Japan, Europe, and the two Americas, as soloist and ensemble musician. He is represented on motion picture soundtracks and 60+ recordings, twelve as leader. He has fulfilled commissions from music and dance ensembles. He has been resident artist at institutions domestically, in Germany and Japan. His visual art has been exhibited in the U.S. and Europe. He has received awards from the NEA, California Arts Council, L.A. Dept of Cultural Affairs and others.

Shō Tanaka is a Yonsei writer and wanderer. His grandmother’s family(⼭城)immigrated to the Los Angeles area from Taminato, a village in the Yanbaru rainforest in northern Okinawa. His grandfather’s family(⽥中)emigrated from Buzen Shoe, Fukuoka to Tlingit territory settling in Juneau, Alaska. He believes that through sharing food and story we can work to heal legacies of violence that have accumulated within our collective body, mind, and spirit. Currently Shō resides on Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ Territory (Victoria, British Columbia) but his ancestral homeland lies somewhere in the depths of amerikkka.


Hosted by the Okinawa Association of America, this interactive discussion series will provide a platform to yuntaku (talk story) in a space that centers Black/African descended peoples and their experiences within the Okinawan community. Acknowledging that Japan, Okinawa and the United States each have their own unique forms of anti-Black racism, we hope that these dialogues will provide a space to challenge stereotypes and diversify our understanding of Blackness in Okinawa and the Okinawan diaspora. Each dialogue will be discussion based and feature a Q&A with artists, activists, academics and community members whose work exists at the intersections of Black and Okinawan community issues. Potential topics discussed may include understanding mixed race politics, dismantling anti-Black racism and celebrating Black/Okinawan art forms.


LIVE ARTS IN RESISTANCE is a dynamic series of performances, artist residencies, and community town halls to address racial inequity and white supremacy in popular culture. Collectively, we contribute to a new cultural consciousness of self-determination and indigenous knowledge as integral to our resistance to systemic oppression and imperialism.

LIVE ARTS IN RESISTANCE includes dance, theater, poetry and interdisciplinary performances, curated by socially-conscious artists. Together we push the boundaries of our practices and contemplate our role and responsibility in connecting the many struggles of our respective communities both locally and globally.

LIVE ARTS IN RESISTANCE fosters risk-taking, rigor, and a radical critique on the role of political activism, cultural work and art in society. This role is historically rooted in a culture fighting for justice, equity and self-determination —the political empowerment of our people.

We seek to create a place where artists and audience members can engage in a meaningful dialogue about innovative ideas and experimental work; where artists can reflect on the process of creating progressive art and revolutionary movements; redefining aesthetics and ethics that will decolonize minds. There is a profound need to construct a culture of resistance outside of “market forces”; a culture that will defend our communities from the current reactionary political climate. With the absurdity of backward national elections, xenophobia, fascist policing and militarism that has been shaping our lives, all the inflamed racism, sexism and classism is being rekindled on the world stage.

We reiterate Malcolm X’s words that “Culture is an indispensable weapon in the freedom struggle”. And once again, we must SEIZE THE TIME! — to magnify our struggle, giving wings to our imagination and finding new ways to speak our truth.


The Okinawa Association of America, Inc. (OAA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Gardena, California that is dedicated to preserving and promoting Okinawan culture. Formed by first generation Okinawan immigrants (issei), the OAA has grown into a multi-generational organization that hosts numerous events throughout the year including cultural lectures, performances, social gatherings, and senior-focused activities. 2019 marked the organization’s 110th anniversary as well as the 20th anniversary of the OAA Center in Gardena. http://www.oaamensore.org


EastSide Arts Alliance is an organization of Third World artists, cultural workers, and community organizers of color committed to working in the San Antonio and other Oakland neighborhoods to support a creative environment that improves the quality of life for our communities and advocates for progressive, systemic social change. www.eastsideartsalliance.org


Founded in 2001, NAKA Dance Theater creates experimental performance works using dance, storytelling, multimedia installations and site-specific environments. NAKA builds partnerships with communities, engages people's histories and folklore and expresses experiences through accessible performances that challenge the viewer to think critically about social justice issues. NAKA brings together and creates rapport among diverse populations, encouraging dialogue and civic participation. www.nakadancetheater.com


josephkamiya . Last modified Oct 21, 2020 7:29 a.m.

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