From left: Cast members Mika Dyo, Tamlyn Tomita and Katie Kitani.

A reading of “Question 27, Question 28,” a play curated by Chay Yew and presented by Tamlyn Tomita and Daniel Blinkoff, took place on July 20 at the Aratani Theatre in conjunction with the JACL National Convention.

The play, which consists of women’s first-hand recollections of the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans — taken verbatim from oral histories and interviews — featured Meg Cashel, Mika Dyo, Katie Kitani and Tomita.

Post-show Q&A with cast members (from left) Meg Cashel, Mika Dyo, Katie Kitani and Tamlyn Tomita.

The women quoted include noted figures such as civil rights activists Yuri Kochiyama, Chizu Iiyama, Amy Uno Ishii, Noriko Sawada Bridges and Mary Tsukamoto; artist Mine Okubo; writers Monica Sone, Yoshiko Uchida, Kiyo Sato and Hisaye Yamamoto DeSoto; and some of their non-Nikkei contemporaries, including labor activist Elaine Black Yoneda and Topaz teacher Eleanor Gerard Sekerak.

Tomita was one of the original cast members (with Dian Kobayashi, Emily Kuroda and Shannon Holt) when “Question 27, Question 28” was first presented by L.A.’s Center Theatre Group in 2004 and at the Smithsonian in 2006. The play has also been performed at East West Players, the Japanese American National Museum and other venues.

Prior to the show, Tamlyn Tomita was interviewed on stage by Gil Asakawa.

The title refers to the controversial “loyalty questionnaire” imposed on the incarcerees, many of whom felt that demanding loyalty after depriving Japanese Americans of their constitutional rights was unreasonable.

Prior to the show, Tomita was interviewed on stage by Denver-based journalist and author Gil Asakawa.

Actor and activist George Takei, who was in the audience, was recognized for educating the public about the camps through his musical, “Allegiance,” which was recently performed in London. 

George Takei with community leaders Ron Wakabayashi of Los Angeles (left) and Steve Okamoto from the Bay Area.

Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo

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