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For Joy (film)

Short film that documents a visit by the contemporary musical duo No-No Boy—Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama—to Honolulu to see Joy Takeshita Teraoka, a singer with the George Igawa Orchestra at Heart Mountain . Invited by the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Club in 2018 to do a concert in Honolulu, the duo used it as an opportunity to meet Teraoka. At her Honolulu apartment, Teraoka talks about her time as a singer in Heart Mountain as a teenager and other aspects of camp life, including youth culture, Japanese cultural practices, and the general musical scene while singing old song with Aoyama. The film concludes with No-No Boy's concert, highlighted by a song Saporiti wrote for Teraoka titled "The Best God Damn Band in Wyoming" and by Teraoka joining them onstage.

Writing and performing songs inspired by Asian American history—and in particular the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans—Saporiti and Aoyama had found inspiration in Teraoka and other Japanese Americans who made music in the concentration camps. Heart Mountain bandleader George Igawa had formed the Sho Tokyans band in Los Angeles in 1936, and the popular group performed in dance halls in Tokyo in 1937–38. Incarcerated at the Pomona Assembly Center , Igawa started the Pomonans, whose nucleus moved on to Heart Mountain where he started his eponymous big band. Teraoka was the the band's third singer, winning an audition when she was just sixteen years old. In addition to playing regular dances and shows in the camp, the Igawa Band also played in nearby towns outside of Heart Mountain, since those towns did not have dance bands, something the War Relocation Authority allowed as a way of building goodwill with local communities. Teraoka left Heart Mountain in August 1943 with her family and eventually settled in Honolulu with her husband and children and where she sang professionally in local clubs. [1]

For Joy was featured at the 2020 Films of Remembrance festival in San Francisco, accompanied by a concert by No-No Boy.

Authored by Brian Niiya

Might also like California's Gold with Huell Howser: Songbird of Manzanar (2005); The Music Man of Manzanar (2005); Searchlight Serenade (2012)

Footnotes

  1. George Yoshida, Reminiscing in Swingtime: Japanese Americans in American Popular Music: 1925-1960 (San Francisco: National Japanese American Historical Society, 1997), 35–37, 101–02, 152–54, 158–63.
Media Details
Release Date 2019
Runtime 15 minutes
Writer Julian Saporiti
Cinematography Max Ritter
Studio Kishi Bashi/Omoiyari Songfilm
For More Information

For More Information

No-No Boy website: https://www.nonoboyproject.com/music . [Full video can be viewed here.]

Nakayama, Takeshi. " Film Uncovers Little-Known Story of Music in Camp by Incarcerated Nikkei. " Nichi Bei Weekly , Feb. 18, 2020.

Yoshida, George. Reminiscing in Swingtime: Japanese Americans in American Popular Music: 1925-1960 . San Francisco: National Japanese American Historical Society, 1997.