Master Apprentice Award

A Masters/Apprentice award by the Alliance for California Traditional Arts has been granted this year to my long time koto student, Isabella Lew, and me, Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto Wong.  "The Apprenticeship Program encourages the continuation of the state’s traditional arts and cultures by contracting master artists to offer intensive, one-on-one training to qualified apprentices.", is the quote on the website. As people all over the world … [Read more...]

Hidden Legacy Film

Now that this documentary film about Japanese cultural performing arts in the camps is almost over, I can't help but reflect on how this all came about. All this happened because of my passion for the art of koto. For a long time, I've been curious about the history, the one that started when my mother learned koto in camp. There were others who had similar experiences. I realized that these stories will die if no one captures them now. I am not an academic, so I can only cover these stories … [Read more...]

Japanese Kimono – a lost art?…

While interviewing the various artists of Japanese cultural arts for the film, I noticed one very important part of all Japanese arts which isn't discussed as much: the beautiful and exquisite kimono.  To tell you the truth, I tried to "ignore" the kimono for a long time.  Wearing a kimono in the classic sense is not an easy undertaking.  Most modern Japanese don't even own a kimono, and only wear it for weddings or a funerals, which they often rent or borrow.  Generally speaking, buying a … [Read more...]