by: Eri Kameyama
The brand new inter-generational oral history program, Katarou Histories, is off to a great start! On June 14th, as students were finishing up classes and finals and getting ready for summer, 14 participants gathered on the hot evening at San Fernando Valley’s Japanese American Community Center for their first session of the program.
On the first day of the program, 8 high school and college youth as well as 6 adults (ages 40+~89!), kibei-nisei, sansei, yonsei, gosei, and shin-issei came together in one space to discuss and share their identity as Japanese-Americans. As they listened to others’ stories and defining moments in their lives that brought them to this program, participants were able to connect with one another despite the age differences.
My personal favorite moment of the day was when the oldest member of our program shared memories of his female friends playing with hagoita (new year’s badminton-like game) in kimonos. He said, “the girls had to hold their kimono sleeves so that it wouldn’t get in the way when they hit the birdie!” Can you imagine having to play badminton in a tight kimono with long sleeves and wearing a geta on your feet?! I thought it was such a cute memory to share with us.
I am so excited to see this program develop! It’s our first EVER multi-generational program and it looks like it’ll be a great success. This week’s session is on API/JA history where they’ll place their own family histories into the larger API narrative for a non-traditional way of learning our communities histories! Will keep you all updated on the sessions so check back soon!