Tsuioku: On the Internment of Japanese Americans
"Internment means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. The Jewish have experienced it, the American Indians have experienced it, many prisoners of war have experienced it, refugees have and are experiencing it. The list of aggravations goes on and on over the years and even for centuries."
On February 19th, 1942, Executive Order 9066 was signed and issued, an order evacuating all Japanese and Americans of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast. This order included anyone who was 1/8th or more Japanese. This included my grandfather, George Hajime Tsuda. Just a young man living in San Francisco between Japanese Town and the Golden Gate Panhandle, he, his parents and sister were ordered to sell everything they owned and board a bus to Tanforan Race Tracks, a holding area for them before being sent to the Topaz Internment Camp in the deserts of Utah.
This piece is one of contrast, between light and dark but also some of the gray areas in between. Throughout the piece, bursts of dark, chaotic and violent sections much like the opening measures, are interjected with quiet, and introspective sections for contemplation. These sentiments are to reflect the internal conflict of the Japanese-American's who were interned.
Tsuioku is a Japanese word for reminiscence, and likewise, this piece is a reflection on one of the darker footnotes of American history. It is an elegiac reminder that history can and will repeat itself should we not recognize our past and use it to look forward.
-D. De Togni