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Performing in the first Asian American play, "The Monkey Play"

In December of 1973, we did this play. It’s called “The Monkey Play.” It’s produced by this guy named Julian Foch. He kind of like ran in the Hollywood circles. He had a store, he and his mom. Actually his mom had the store up on Sunset Boulevard in the Virgil area. He knew a lot of actors, actresses, people that were in the business. So this is the first time that Asian Americans that he assembled—directors, producers, dancers, choreographers that were Asians that were in the business—put on this play called “The Monkey Play,” based on the Chinese stories of the Monkey King and stuff like that. He got these actors and actresses. And he employed the band to do the music for the play and also to have a concert after the play. We wrote some pieces and put them together and performed them. That was the first time.


Hiroshima (city) Hiroshima Prefecture Japan The Monkey Play (play)

Date: October 15, 2004

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Art Hansen, Sojin Kim

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

Interviewee Bio

John Yukio “Johnny” Mori is a musician and arts educator/administrator from Los Angeles.

Born November 30, 1949, he is the second son of his Issei father and Nisei mother. As a young man, he was an early activist, draft resistor, and general hell-raiser during the Asian American Movement in the 1970s, and ran the Amerasia Bookstore in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. The shop was a co-operative bookseller that also served as a community meeting place and political action and performing arts venue. Mori went on to travel the globe as a percussionist for the jazz-fusion band, Hiroshima, before retiring in 2003.

Mori is a seminal member of Kinnara Taiko, one of the first Japanese American taiko groups in the United States. For the past 20 years, he has also taught workshops on taiko and Japanese American culture to participants ranging from elementary school to university students. He currently serves as the Producing Director of Performing Arts at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles. (June 13, 2007)

Roy H. Matsumoto
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Roy H. Matsumoto

Kibei schoolchildren in Hiroshima, Japan

(b.1913) Kibei from California who served in the MIS with Merrill’s Marauders during WWII.

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Roy H. Matsumoto
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Roy H. Matsumoto

Difficulties understanding different Japanese dialects

(b.1913) Kibei from California who served in the MIS with Merrill’s Marauders during WWII.

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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto
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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto

Witnessing the atomic bombing of Hiroshima

(b. 1927) Japanese American Nisei. Family voluntarily returned to Japan during WWII.

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Henry Suto
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Henry Suto

Experiences in Hiroshima after the A-bomb

(1928 - 2008) Drafted into both the Japanese Imperial Army and the U.S. Army.

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Henry Suto
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Henry Suto

The horror of Hiroshima after the atomic bombing (Japanese)

(1928 - 2008) Drafted into both the Japanese Imperial Army and the U.S. Army.

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Tom Yuki
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Tom Yuki

Felt no hostility in Los Gatos, California after the war

(b. 1935) Sansei businessman.

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Howard Kakita
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Howard Kakita

His Memory of August 6, 1945

(b. 1938) Japanese American. Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor

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Howard Kakita
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Howard Kakita

Immediately after the bombing

(b. 1938) Japanese American. Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor

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Howard Kakita
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Howard Kakita

Escape from Hiroshima

(b. 1938) Japanese American. Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor

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Howard Kakita
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Howard Kakita

Other family members not as lucky

(b. 1938) Japanese American. Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor

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Howard Kakita
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Howard Kakita

Returning to Hiroshima in ruins

(b. 1938) Japanese American. Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor

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Howard Kakita
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Howard Kakita

His parents had little hope that he had survived the atomic bomb

(b. 1938) Japanese American. Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor

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Howard Kakita
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Howard Kakita

Overcoming trauma and speaking about his A-Bomb experience

(b. 1938) Japanese American. Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor

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Howard Kakita
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Howard Kakita

His views on nuclear weapons

(b. 1938) Japanese American. Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor

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