Hi everyone,

We’re celebrating the release of "Buddha In The Searchlights," a new song inspired by the stories of American Sutra, by @nonoboyalbum, (featuring scholar and singer songwriter Julian Saporiti.) The "Buddha In the Searchlights" collaboration between American Sutra and No-No Boy emerged after I met with Julian and Erin Aoyama at a No-No Boy concert last October in San Francisco. The two talented musicians and Ph.D. students at Brown University have been performing around the country, retelling the story of the WII Japanese American incarceration, as well as the larger Asian American historical experience, through music and visual art. The lyrics and song composition of “Buddha in the Searchlights” is the result of the thoughtful reading of American Sutra by No-No Boy.

Nearly 120 people gathered this past Sunday at the Futures Without Violence Gallery (in San Francisco’s Presidio) to attend my American Sutra talk and to hear No-No Boy’s musical storytelling. Juxtaposed with the embodied histories presented in the book lecture, No-No Boy’s performance--backed by projected archival images and video of Japanese American incarceration and the Vietnam War--was remarkable. One audience member called the intersection of scholarship, media, music, and storytelling a “genius collaboration.” It is a powerful song with an impactful message: if you have a moment, please watch the video, share it.

I’m heading to North Carolina and Illinois this upcoming week— see you there!

If you have any questions or comments regarding American Sutra or this newsletter, please email me.

Kindest regards,


Despite a slushy winter storm, I am grateful to everyone who made it to the Yale Law School for an intimate conversation about buried memory and the urgency of spiritual pluralism on February 20th.


In conversation with writer Pico Iyer. Many thanks to our hosts Tricycle Magazine and the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan for bringing American Sutra to the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan on February 21st.


A full house at the Japanese American National Museum’s National Center for the Preservation of Democracy on February 23rd, with panelists Brian Niiya (Densho Encyclopedia), Prof. Valerie Matsumoto (UCLA), and writer Naomi Hirahara.


My collaborative performance with No-No Boy on February 24th was held in conjunction with the Futures Without Violence Gallery exhibition, "Then They Came For Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties." I had the great pleasure to share the premiere of "Buddha In The Searchlights" on stage with Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama.


Upcoming Events

Schaumburg, Illinois
Schaumburg, IL – Trickster Gallery
Saturday, March 2, 2019 |1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Chicago, IL – Midwest Buddhist Temple
Sunday, March 3, 2019 |10:30 AM - 11:00 AM