Fishtrap kicks off this year’s Big Read with special guest, Japanese American artist and community activist Chisao Hata. This free event takes place 7:00pm Wednesday, February 19 at the Enterprise Christian Church. Each year, Japanese Americans recognize February 19 as the day President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which sent more than 100,000 American citizens to Internment Camps during World War II. Chisao Hata will share her personal story of that experience as well as stories of several Japanese Americans who survived this chapter of American history.
Chisao Hata has shared the Japanese American story around the world. She believes that through art and freedom of expression, we can celebrate what it means to be human. Chisao is on the Board of Directors for the Japanese American Museum of Oregon and serves on the Advisory Board of the Oregon Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. She is a founding member of Portland Taiko, Theatre Diaspora, and has inspired countless students to pursue the art of dance and the art of creative living.
The Big Read Kickoff is the first of six weeks of events in Wallowa and Union Counties celebrating the novel, When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka. This book tells the story of one family’s experience in the Internment Camps of WWII. Each week, Fishtrap and Art Center East will host events exploring themes in the novel and Japanese American culture. Upcoming events include a traditional Japanese Tea on Sunday, February 23 hosted by Kiyomi Oliver at the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture, a screening of the OPB documentary, Oregon’s Japanese Americans, a Big Read Youth Day at Art Center East, and many more. The Big Read Finale features a public performance on March 19 by the award-winning drum group, Portland Taiko at the OK Theatre. Go to Fishtrap.org to see the full list of events and discussions.
Since 2006, Fishtrap has brought The Big Read to our community by highlighting one great work of literature, hosting events, discussions, and providing hundreds of free books to schools, libraries, and community members. The program is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and is supported locally by neighborhood businesses and individual donations. Special thanks to community sponsors Community Bank, Pacific Power, Wallowa County Cultural Trust Coalition, The Bookloft, The Josephy Center for Arts and Culture, The Bronze Antler, and the Oregon Arts Commission. Fishtrap's Big Read is presented in partnership with Art Center East and The Japanese American Museum of Oregon.
Learn more about When the Emperor was Divine and The Big Read at fishtrap.org