fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar
fix bar

Great Grandfather's Drum (film)

DVD cover. Opticus Corporation
View in the Densho Encyclopedia

Documentary film that tells the story of Japanese Americans in Maui through the story of Maui Taiko and its founder, Kay Fukumoto.

The film begins by introducing us to Fukumoto and Maui Taiko and contemporary summer bon dances on Maui, juxtaposing these images with stories of Japanese immigration to Hawai'i and the difficulties of life as sugar plantation laborers. Fukumoto explains that her great-grandfather was among those that played at obon on the plantation and that her family passed down the taiko song "Fukushima Ondo"—her family originates from Fukushima Prefecture—down through the generations. Great Grandfather's Drum goes on to explore plantation life and communities, the upheavals of World War II—including the internment of Issei leaders on Maui as well as the exploits of Japanese American soldiers with a focus on the rescue of the "Lost Battalion" —and the political changes that Japanese Americans led after the war. Those changes also brought a cultural revival and the reinvention of taiko led on Maui by Fukumoto's parents, the Watanabes. After going on to college, marrying, and starting a family, Fukumoto decides to found Maui Taiko in 1996. The last third of the documentary follows Maui Taiko on trip to Japan, where they visit Fukushima and play "Fukushima Ondo," learning from an old man there how their version has evolved. They go on to visit and play in Hiroshima.

Great Grandfather's Drum began with a grant from Maui County to conduct interviews with twenty elders. Additional funding came from the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui and the Alexander & Baldwin Foundation. Opticus Corporation produced the film, with principals Cal Lewin directing and Victorian Lewin producing. The film aired on PBS Hawaii in April 2011 and has been screened subsequently both in Hawai'i and the continental U.S.

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Might also like The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai'i (2012); Hidden Legacy: Japanese Traditional Arts in the World War II Internment Camps (2014); From Bullets to Ballots (1997)

Media Details
Release Date 2011
Runtime 57 minutes
Director Cal Lewin
Producer Victoria Lewin
Writer Cal Lewin
Narrator DC Goode
Starring Kay Fukumoto (interviewee), Jane Azeka (interviewee), May Fujiwara (interviewee), Stanley Okamoto (interviewee), Beatrice Kashiwa (interviewee), Masaru Pundy Yokouchi (interviewee), Isamu Honda (interviewee), Florence Hasegawa (interviewee), Arnold Hiura (interviewee), Kristine Omura (interviewee), Moana Hirata (interviewee), Gaylord Kubota (interviewee), René Tomita (interviewee), Susanne Hotta (interviewee), Tonya Murray (musician, interviewee), Sharon Westfall (musician, interviewee), Ethan Murray (musician), Meyer Ueoka (interviewee), Hideo Saito (interviewee), Shinichi Suzuki (interviewee), Seiya Ohata (interviewee), Yuki Lei Sugimura (interviewee), Paul Hiranaga (interviewee), Robert Kawaguchi (interviewee), Lynn Araki-Regan (interviewee), Kenji Oyama (interviewee), Andrew Kutsunai (interviewee), Hiroshi Arisumi (interviewee), Brian Nagam (interviewee)i, Stephanie Ohigashi (interviewee), Brian Niiya (interviewee), Leonard Yasuo Oka (interviewee), Michael Sugimura (interviewee), Lin Watanabe (interviewee), Ayako Watanabe (interviewee), Beverly Hiranaga (interviewee), Kristen Kagoshima (interviewee), Kalena Hiranaga (interviewee), Mitchell Fukumoto (interviewee), Ronald Fukumoto (interviewee), Kelsie Kagoshima (interviewee), Erin Westfall (interviewee)
Cinematography Cal Lewin
Editing Cal Lewin
Studio Opticus Corporation