Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1371/

Performing in Japan

Being a musician is not an easy life.  It’s hard.  You either make it or you don’t.

When I do performances in Japan, I don’t speak English, you know. I talk to the audience in Japanese. And right now, I’m known more for telling jokes than playing the ukulele. [laughs]

[Play music]


Hawaii music musical instruments musicians ukulele United States

Date: August 2012

Location: Hawai`i, US

Interviewer: John Esaki

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

78-years-old, is known by ukulele fans in Japan and around the world as "Ohta-san." Ohta-san is a master ukulele player who learned to play the instrument from his mother in the pre-World War II era in Honolulu. He played a major role in popularizing the ukulele in the 1960s and 70s, expanding the repertoire of the instrument beyond Hawai`ian songs to include international pop and jazz. In his interview, Ohta-san vividly demonstrates his stylistic development by playing excerpts from songs that were significant to his career. (June 2014)

George Ariyoshi
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George Ariyoshi

Decision to run for governor

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

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George Ariyoshi
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George Ariyoshi

Being fair

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

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George Ariyoshi
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George Ariyoshi

Role of Hawaii internationally

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi
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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi

Working in the pineapple fields

Former First Lady of Hawai'i

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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi
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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi

Tree planting

Former First Lady of Hawai'i

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Kazuo Funai
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Kazuo Funai

Buying violin (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Going back to Hawaii

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

1920 labor strike

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Bombing of Pearl Harbor

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Helping soldiers

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Ann K. Nakamura
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Ann K. Nakamura

Image of Americans

Sansei from Hawaii living in Japan. Teacher and businesswoman.

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Seiichi Tanaka
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Seiichi Tanaka

Soukou Bayashi: Dedicated to the Issei (Japanese)

(b.1943) Shin-issei grand master of taiko; founded San Francisco Taiko Dojo in 1968.

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Seiichi Tanaka
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Seiichi Tanaka

Taiko philosophy (Japanese)

(b.1943) Shin-issei grand master of taiko; founded San Francisco Taiko Dojo in 1968.

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Etsuo Hongo
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Etsuo Hongo

First taiko performance in the United States (Japanese)

(1949 - 2019) Taiko player. Founded five taiko groups in Southern California

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Etsuo Hongo
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Etsuo Hongo

Promoting group identity through taiko contests (Japanese)

(1949 - 2019) Taiko player. Founded five taiko groups in Southern California

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