LARKSPUR — “Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Performing Arts in the World War II Internment Camps” will be screened on Tuesday, March 31, at 7:30 p.m. at the Lark Theater, 549 Magnolia Ave. in Larkspur.

Priority entry: 7 p.m. General entry: 7:15 p.m.

“Hidden Legacy” uses historical footage and interviews with artists who were interned to tell the story of how traditional Japanese cultural arts were maintained at a time when the War Relocation Authority (WRA) emphasized the importance of assimilation and Americanization.

A mask made of carved daikon and paper mache, and painted by Enjiro Kodani at Tule Lake. (Courtesy of Bando Mitsusa)
A mask made of carved daikon and paper mache, and painted by Enjiro Kodani at Tule Lake. (Courtesy of Bando Mitsusa)

The event is being sponsored by the Marin Nakayoshi Club, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, for the benefit of its scholarship fund.

Green tea and a small plate of a teriyaki chicken drumette, edamame and inari-zushi will be served to each attendee upon entry. Beer, wine, popcorn, etc. will be available for sale from the Lark concession stand. Vegetarian plates will also be available.

The director, Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto-Wong, who is a koto performer and teacher, will perform on the koto and give a brief introduction to the movie, whose running time is 57 minutes. A question-and-answer session will follow the screening.

DVDs of the movie will be on sale as well as Nakayoshi Club cookbooks.

Tickets must be ordered in advance No tickets will be available at the theater. For more information, contact Carol Staley at or (415) 302-2134.

About Marin Nakayoshi Club

Marin County is unique in that unlike other Bay Area communities, the Japanese Americans reside in widely separated towns, from Sausalito to Novato, with no concentration in any. As a consequence, no organization existed in Marin to further social contacts or to unify benevolent feelings of these individual residents.

The Nakayoshi Club began about 1951 when a group of Japanese American women held tea parties and met socially each month. As part of their gatherings, Japanese arts and cultural ideas were exchanged. Gradually these interests grew into a formal organization with officers, dues and articles of incorporation, executed in 1958.

The club then organized as a social and nonprofit organization dedicated to promote better understanding of Japanese American arts and crafts. Cultural events were staged for the public and fundraising events were held annually.

The funds raised were initially intended to purchase a multi-purpose community building to be available to all Marin County organizations regardless of religious or ethnic backgrounds. But the rising cost of land caused the club to set this goal aside.

In 1970, the club established a scholarship fund for graduating Marin high school students of Japanese ancestry, setting aside $1,500 yearly for these awards. Interest from CDs and member donations funded the project for many years.

Due to the low interest rates of the last several years, the fund is no longer self-sustaining. To ensure a steady rate of income, the club must raise this amount to $75,000, which will guarantee a steady income in perpetuity.

“We are a small club of only 80 families,” said a club spokesperson. “Most are Nisei but a few are of other races that share a love of Japanese culture.

“We have just held a club fundraising event, which raised $2,500. An additional $3,000 is needed to bring our total funds to the stated goal.

“We are therefore reaching out to the community to raise the additional amount by sponsoring the screening of ‘Hidden Legacy: Traditional Performing Arts in the World War II Internment Camps.’ Your help and support is greatly appreciated.

“As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, all donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *