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<em>Nihonjin Face</em> : Full Performance

A Civil Rights Legacy Tour Performance. Watch the full play.

February 19, 2017 marked the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans on the West Coast during World War II. Examining how this chapter of American history — which was unaddressed until President Reagan’s 1988 apology, but still resonates to this day — this play connects with the Civil Rights era of Dr. King. Now, we examine how we can uphold civil rights for all today.

Inspired by true stories of South Sound families, following a family as they are forced to leave their home in Tacoma for an unknown destination. It’s 1942, the country is engaged in World War II, and the US Government incarcerates 120,000 Japanese Americans for reasons of national security. During their three years of incarceration, the family learns the impact of incarceration and develops empathy for others facing civil rights challenges.

Nihonjin Face was commissioned by Tacoma’s Broadway Center for the Performing Arts and written by Playwrights Tere Martinez and Janet Hayakawa.

Read more about this play at 'About Nihonjin Face: Lessons From the Past' on Borders & Heritage.


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The thought provoking 35 minute one-act play Nihonjin Face by Janet Hayakawa and Tere Martinez evolves around Tomiko Hashimoto and her family during WW11 and its life altering impact on their lives. The underlying issues of racism, bigotry, and social injustice permeate throughout the dialogue. Since these challenges continue to remain with us now and throughout history, the play serves as a catalyst for questioning, increasing awareness, examining multiple viewpoints, applying current relevance, and ultimately encouraging individuals to take on personal social responsibility to work collectively and collaboratively toward a more just and humane society. I highly recommend Nihonjin Face as an excellent resource particularly for high school students.