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Dear Friends,

Today is February 19th, or Day of Remembrance.

Day of Remembrance commemorates the World War II incarceration of over 110,000 Japanese Americans on the day in 1942 that Executive Order 9066 was issued by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

I am honored to be giving the Day of Remembrance keynote talk today at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History with a performance by the extraordinary musician, Kishi Bashi. Kishi Bashi is the pseudonym of internationally acclaimed Japanese American songwriter and musician, Kaoru Ishibashi. His forthcoming project, Omoiyari, a Songfilm by Kishi Bashi. chronicles a personal quest to create music in locations relevant to the Japanese American WWII incarceration. Following the performance, Kishi Bashi and I will share a conversation about the long-term cultural effects of the camp experiences, both on personal levels and on the nation.

Additionally, Smithsonian magazine recently published this great article by their curator of religion, Peter Manseau, about the role of faith in the World War II Japanese American camps, based on American Sutra and artifacts in the National Museum of American History.

If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, today is the day to buy your book! The uptick in sales during Launch Week actually makes a difference to my publisher, Harvard University Press, so let’s make an impression. I can’t thank you enough for your support. My gratitude to you for all of your help.

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

Kindest regards,
Duncan

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I am grateful to the Buddhist Church of San Francisco for inviting me to give a guest Dharma Talk at their regular service on Sunday, February 17th. The Buddhist Church of San Francisco was founded in the Jodo Shinshu school of Pure Land Buddhism (Mahayana) and was established in Japantown in 1898.

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What a joy it was to meet Yasuko Fukuda, whose father is Reverend Naito. Reverend Naito’s WRA photograph by Dorothea Lange (see below) of him locking the Florin Buddhist Temple in preparation for the forced removal is included in American Sutra.

Florin, California. Hands of Reverend Naito (Buddhist priest) are here as he locks the door of his church. The beads around his hands are used to aid in the recitation of Buddhist prayers. January 12, 1942. Photo by Dorothea Lange, Department of the Interior. War Relocation Authority.

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Later that afternoon, I attended the Bay Area Day of Remembrance “40th Anniversary of DOR: Bridging Borders – Carry the Light of Justice, ” held at the AMC Kabuki 8 Theater in Japantown and joined the procession after the ceremony to the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center of Northern California for the reception. My gratitude to everyone who joined the community in remembrance of EO 9066 and in support of American Sutra.

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