Dancing With Grace – Gracious And Graceful

Editor’s Note: The following piece by Jenni Kuida, a tribute to former Manzanar Committee member Grace Harada, was originally published in January 2002, in the Rafu Shimpo, and on her family’s web site. She posted a link to her story on Facebook on January 18, commemorating the tenth anniversary of Harada’s passing. We thought it would be a fitting tribute to publish it here as well.

Former Manzanar Committee member Grace Harada (center), shown here with Jenni Kuida (left) and
Sue Kunitomi Embrey (right), who passed away in 2006.
Photo: Jenni Kuida

You might not have ever met Grace Harada. But if you’ve been to an Obon at Senshin Buddhist Temple or the Manzanar Pilgrimage in the last thirty years, chances are, you have surely seen her. She was the petite Nisei woman dancing Bon Odori in the inner circle, leading Sansei like me, trying to follow along in the outer circle. I would always seek her out when stumbling through the moves, because I knew that if I followed her, I’d be ok.

Sadly, she passed away on January 18 at age 76. Only one week earlier, she suffered from a massive stroke and slipped into a coma. Just like that. At the memorial service for Grace at Senshin Buddhist Temple, Reverend Mas Kodani spoke fondly of Grace, using the words “gracious” and “graceful” to describe Grace. He talked about how Grace loved to dance. She lived her life doing what she loved to do. She found true joy in dancing, and in teaching dance to others. Read more of this post

Manzanar: “Never Again” Released – Video by Ken Burns: Watch It Here!

UPDATE, AUGUST 23, 2012: Video has been re-encoded and is now viewable on iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad).

Ken Burns
Photo: Cable Risdon/Courtesy PBS

Manzanar: “Never Again,” a short film by critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, has been released by WETA-TV (Public Television in Washington, D.C.) and Florentine Films. The mini-documentary is one of five such films produced by WETA and Florentine Films as part of their Untold Stories project.

Manzanar: “Never Again” was shown at a preview screening at the Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History in Lone Pine, California on April 24, 2009. It was also screened at the Manzanar At Dusk program on April 25, 2009, following the 40th Manzanar Pilgrimage, held earlier that day at the Manzanar National Historic Site.

Read more of this post

Manzanar Committee Forges Ahead On The World Wide Web

LOS ANGELES — Eight years ago, the Manzanar Committee took the plunge and launched its web site, http://www.manzanarcommittee.org, reaching out to the community in a brand new way with the hope of expanding its outreach and educational efforts to a wider audience.

“I think it started around 2001 or 2002, or maybe earlier, probably shortly after setting up the Committee’s first e-mail address,” said Manzanar Committee member Jenni Kuida, who spearheaded the effort. “It was pretty much my baby. I didn’t know anything about HTML [programming language used to design web sites].”

“I just came up with the domain name [manzanarcommittee.org] and started putting up stuff,” added Kuida. ”I knew how to upload photos and text and figured it would be a good opportunity to reach out to young people.” Read more of this post

Reflections on the 39th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage

To say that the members of the Manzanar Committee have just finished a long day is certainly an understatement. We’ve finally gotten back to our hotel for the night after a full day of events—all part of the 39th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, held on Saturday, April 26, 2008.

The traditional daytime program at the Manzanar National Historic Site drew somewhere between 1,300 to 1,600 (based on preliminary estimates from the National Park Service). Attendees got to see a great performance by UCLA Kyodo Taiko, who started us off and through their high energy and spirit during their performance, got us all excited about the day’s events. Read more of this post