Playwright Philip Kan Gotanda, LATW Producing Director Susan Loewenberg, actor/activist George Takei and director Tim Dang did a post-performance discussion of “Sisters Matsumoto” at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater in 2018. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

L.A. Theatre Works presents the “Japanese American Civil Liberties” podcast series, a new collection of audio theater productions about the Japanese American experience during and after World War II.

The series is sponsored in part by the California Civil Liberties Program from the California State Library.

Now playing: “Sisters Matsumoto” by Philip Kan Gotanda. Directed by Tim Dang and starring Keiko Agena, June Angela, Ron Bottitta, Kurt Kanazawa, Greg Watanabe and Ryun Yu. Gotanda’s play about three Japanese American sisters who return to their farm after years in camp is set in Stockton. Finally back home, the once prosperous family finds it’s not easy to pick up the pieces of their former lives. The podcast includes a post-play discussion with the playwright, the director, and special guest George Takei.

Back row, from left: Kurt Kanazawa, Ryun Yu, Tim Dang (director), Greg Watanabe, Ron Bottitta. Front row, from left: Keiko Agena, June Angela, Suzy Nakamura. The play was recorded in 2018 at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater.

Launching May 30: In Jeanne Sakata’s docudrama “For Us All,” a team of lawyers uses a little-known legal writ to fight and overturn the conviction of Fred Korematsu, unjustly sentenced for resisting the World War II mass incarceration of all Japanese Americans on the West Coast. Directed by Anna Lyse Erikson and starring Edward Asner, Brooke Ishibashi, Tess Lina, Mike McShane, Derek Mio, Joy Osmanski, Jeanne Sakata, André Sogliuzzo, Josh Stamberg, Greg Watanabe and Paul Yen, the episode includes a conversation with the playwright and four of the attorneys from the Korematsu v. United States case: Lori Bannai, Peter Irons, Dale Minami and Don Tamaki.

Coming June 13: “No-No Boy” by Ken Narasaki is based on the novel by John Okada. After being imprisoned during the war for resisting the draft, Ichiro returns home to Seattle. There, he is forced to come to terms with both his past and his future. Kurt Kanazawa, Emily Kuroda, John Miyasaki, Ken Narasaki, Sharon Omi, Joy Osmanski, Sab Shimono, Greg Watanabe and Paul Yen star. The production is directed by Anna Lyse Erikson.

Finally, launching June 23: Jessica Kubzansky directs “Hold These Truths” by Jeanne Sakata. Ryun Yu stars as University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi, who fights the government’s orders to forcibly remove and incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. The episode includes an interview with the playwright.

The series is available for listening wherever you get your podcasts. For more information, go to

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