Presentation: Out of the Dust: Dance film on Japanese American incarceration

Saturday, 5/25/2024
4:00 - 5:00
Golden Gate Valley Meeting Room
Golden Gate Valley

1801 Green Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
United States

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Out of the Dust is a film that combines dance, poetry and music to evoke the specter of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII. The program includes discussion with its creators.

Out of the Dust is told through ghosts of Manzanar Detention Camp who come to life through the poetry of Janice Mirikitani, the music of Miles Lassi and Paul Chihara, and the Japanese American folk dance “Ei Ja Nai Ka” (meaning “Ain’t it good?”) choreographed and music written by PJ Hirabayashi. After the closing of the camps, who and what memories were left behind in the windy dust-laden desert of Manzanar?

Out of the Dust is a film dedicated to the memory of our friend and collaborator, Japanese American poet and child incarceret Janice Mirikitani.

Co-Created by Yayoi Kambara and Brian Staufenbiel. Directed by Brian Staufenbiel.

Choreography by Yayoi Kambara and cast.

Sound design and original music by Miles Lassi.

Poetry written and read by Janice Mirikitani.

Ei Ja Nai Ka Obon Dance Choreography by PJ Hirabayashi.

Music and Lyrics written in collaboration with Yoko Fujimoto and Nobuko Miyamoto

Additional Music:

Minidoka Tears composed by Paul Chihara; performed by Colin Jacobsen, violin.

Fue 7 composed and performed by Roy Hirabyashi.

Awa-no-Uta performed by PJ Hirabayashi, arrangement by Mariko Miho, PJ Hirabayashi

Nana-shi and Celebration from Kodama: Echoes of the Soul by San Jose Taiko.

Cast / Dancers:

Erik Debono, Farmer (duet)

PJ Hirabayashi, Spirit Guide

Mimi Jacobsen, Lost Child

Yayoi Kambara, Woman with Comb

Momoe Luce Kambara-Coughlin, Child

Kaia Makihara, Baseball Player

Maile Okamura, Seamstress

Lani Yamanaka, Farmer (duet)

Mark Yamanaka, Doctor


Creative Producer - Courtney Ozaki (Japanese Arts Network)

Costume Coordination - Maile Okamura

Hair and Makeup Design - Jenny-King Turko

Costume Tailor - Annette Ribeiro


Film Editor - Sam Clevenger

Lead Camera Operator - Jeffrey Gass

Second Camera / Steadicam Operator - Jonathan Takenaka

Assistant Camera Operator / Focus Puller - Yoshiki Abe

Special thanks to Manzanar National Historic Preservation Site and Christine Holtslander, Alisa Lynch Broch, Roger Myoroku, and David Murakami.

Out of the Dust was funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the New England Foundation for the Arts, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the Japanese American Citizens League Northern California Western Nevada Pacific District, the San Francisco Arts Commission, Dancers’ Group’s CA$H Dance, the Fleishhacker Foundation, and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.

Watch party and film discussions. 

Weaving Stories: Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Interest
Connect with AANHPI heritage with programs and workshops, book recommendations and more.

Weaving Stories is the Library's celebration of the many diverse histories and cultures from Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities.

Connect to engaging discussions and performances related to the Japanese community and culture.

This program is sponsored by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Attending Programs

For questions about the program or help registering, contact sfplcpp@sfpl.orgAll programs are drop-in (no registration necessary) unless otherwise noted. All SFPL locations are wheelchair accessible. For accommodations (such as ASL or language interpretation), call (415) 557-4557 or contact accessibility@sfpl.org. Requesting at least 3 business days in advance will help ensure availability.

Notice: This event may be filmed or photographed. By participating in this event, you consent to have your likeness used for the Library’s archival purposes and promotional materials. If you do not want to be photographed, please inform a staff person or the photographer. A sticker will be provided to help identify you so that we can avoid capturing your image.

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The views and opinions expressed in programs presented by groups unaffiliated with SFPL do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SFPL or the City.