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Kishi Bashi Returns With Stirring Remembrance Of Japanese Internment Camps


Kishi Bashi
Courtesy of the artist

Kishi Bashi

In 1942, people were forced from their homes and sent to prison camps without trial, only because of their ethnicity and heritage. All this happened in America for 120,000 Japanese-American Families.

The internment of Japanese Americans is the subject of Kishi Bashi's newest music, an album called Omoiyari and this song, "Summer of '42." Kishi Bashi wrote to me to say, "this is a very important song for me in that it's the finale piece to the symphonic piece I premiered last year. It's a love story set in World War II, about falling in love in an incarceration camp and ultimately losing that love. The significance is that the idea of love, loss, and desire are consistent themes throughout history and help us to empathize with a people in a disconnected past."

Kishi Bashi's parents were immigrants and came to this country from post-World War II Japan. For Kishi Bashi, the current political climate, the talk of walls and bans on immigrants recalls the same sorts of fears that sparked the internment camps after Pearl Harbor in 1941. It became the inspiration for the music coming this year, and a film Kishi Bashi is planning for Omoiyari in 2020.

Kishi Bashi's album Omoiyari is out May 31 on Joyful Noise Recordings.

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