UCLA Kyodo Taiko To Perform At 40th Manzanar Pilgrimage

PILGRIMAGE: Bus transportation still available from Los Angeles.


LOS ANGELES — UCLA Kyodo Taiko will perform at the 40th Manzanar Pilgrimage, sponsored by the Los Angeles-based Manzanar Committee, which is scheduled for 12:00 PM PDT on Saturday, April 25, 2009, at the Manzanar National Historic Site, located on US Highway 395 in California’s Owens Valley, between the towns of Lone Pine and Independence, approximately 230 miles north of Los Angeles.

Each year, hundreds of students, teachers, community members, clergy and former internees attend the Pilgrimage and the Manzanar At Dusk program, which follows the afternoon program, starting at 5:00 PM at Lone Pine High School.

UCLA Kyodo Taiko, the first collegiate taiko group in North America, was founded in 1990 and made its debut at the Opening Ceremony of University of California, Los Angeles’ commemoration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Japanese American Internment, which was held in 1992.

Led by 2008-09 directors Andrew Chen and Keiko Harada, UCLA Kyodo Taiko is comprised entirely of UCLA students. They have performed annually at Nisei Week, Tofu Festival and the Lotus Festival in Los Angeles, the Intercollegiate Taiko Invitational, during halftime at UCLA basketball games, as well as the First Annual USA Sumo Open, in addition to many other campus, community and private events.

The keynote speaker at this year’s Pilgrimage will be Ron Wakabayashi, Regional Director, United States Department of Justice Community Relations Service, one of the pioneers who participated in the first organized Manzanar Pilgrimage in 1969.

The afternoon program will conclude with the traditional interfaith service featuring ministers from Buddhist, Christian, Konko and Muslim faiths, as well as Ondo dancing.

The popular Manzanar At Dusk (MAD) program, co-sponsored by the Friends of Manzanar and Lone Pine High School, begins at 5:00 PM at the Lone Pine High School campus, located at 538 South Main Street (US Highway 395), in Lone Pine, nine miles south of the Manzanar National Historic Site, across the street from McDonald’s.

The program will begin with a screening of Manzanar – Never Again, a short film by critically acclaimed documentary producer Ken Burns.

A panel discussion featuring former internees, small group discussions and an open mic session will provide MAD participants with the opportunity to interact with former internees in attendance to hear their personal stories and discuss the relevance of the concentration camp experience to present-day events and issues.

The Manzanar Committee has also announced that bus transportation to the Pilgrimage is still available from Los Angeles. For further information or to make a reservation, call (323) 662-5102 or send e-mail to 40thbuses -at- manzanarcommittee.org. The non-refundable fare is $40.00 per seat. Parking is available for an additional $6.00.

Pilgrimage participants are advised to bring their own lunch, drinks and snacks as there are no facilities to purchase food at the Manzanar National Historic Site (restaurants and fast food outlets are located in Lone Pine and Independence). Water will be provided at the Pilgrimage.

The Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar At Dusk are funded in part by the UCLA Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Community Outreach Program Fund.

The Manzanar Committee is dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the incarceration and violation of civil rights of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II and to the continuing struggle of all peoples when Constitutional rights are in danger. A non-profit organization that has sponsored the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, along with other educational programs, the Manzanar Committee has also played a key role in the establishment and continued development of the Manzanar National Historic Site. For more information, call (323) 662-5102 or check their web site at http://www.manzanarcommittee.org and their blog at http://blog.manzanarcommittee.org.

Photo: UCLA Kyodo Taiko opens the 39th Manzanar Pilgrimage, April 26, 2008. Courtesy Gann Matsuda.


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