Both Japanese and American identities though Japanese dance

Dancing in Japan as an American, in the US as Japanese Neighbor took care of hotel business during the World War II Different learning style in Japan and the United States Both Japanese and American identities though Japanese dance Being a man through Kabuki Hardship to be a Kabuki dancer as a woman Do my best as a professional dancer

Transcripts available in the following languages:

Oh yes, the kanzashi (Japanese ornamental hairpin). When I danced this number, you know, he’s telling…and I had a chopstick in my hair. And this lady was so impressed that she brought me this…there’s 12 of them – 12 that I put in my hair. And she gave me her…she said, “I was going to donate to the Museum, but I want to give it to you.” And I read in that book that it’s very important kanzashi as she gave it to me.

And then I could even say in the dance, I could say I’m a Japanese and this is the way I could dance. But still, I’m American. So the fan could tell you what we are. We were Japanese and still we were Americans. And then in the Japanese dancing, a fan. The fan could be like a rain or it could be a wave or it could be what it is. Or it could be a sword. You could fight with it. It could be all…the fan tells the story. It’s very important in Japanese dancing.

Date: November 30, 2004
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Nancy Araki and John Esaki
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

arts dance identity

Nikkei Heroes: Trailblazers, Role Models, and Inspirations

Submissions accepted until September 30.

Get updates

Sign up for email updates

Journal feed
Events feed
Comments feed

Support this project

Discover Nikkei

Discover Nikkei is a place to connect with others and share the Nikkei experience. To continue to sustain and grow this project, we need your help!

Ways to help >>

A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation