A Preview of Julian Saporiti’s Event “No No Boy, A Multi-Media Presentation on Japanese Internment”
By Andrew Devine – Editor-in-Chief
UMF to welcome Julian Saporiti to the Emery Community Arts Center on Tuesday, October 3rd to perform a collection of songs based on his extensive research.
Inspired by his doctoral research at Brown University, and his own experiences as a Vietnamese American growing up in Tennessee, Saporiti will perform a collection of his own songs accompanied by archival photographs and films, as well as collected stories from World War II era Japanese Internment Camps.
The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was the forced relocation and incarceration of between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry as ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt shortly after Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.
In an email interview, Saporiti wrote “Coming from a family of immigrants, I wanted to focus on a dissertation project which illuminated complicated American histories while also speaking to the present moment filled with racial fear, immigration bans, intolerance, and political divide.”
The project is titled “No No Boy” as a tribute to The “No-No Boys” which are reported as being Japanese-Americans who during WWII refused to swear allegiance to the US government or be drafted while their families and friends were locked away in concentration camps on Saporiti’s web-page.
The web-page/blog serves as a companion to the No-No Boy project by posting pictures, music, and other media, as well as interviews and articles which have inspired the album and informed Saporiti’s scholarship.
Saporiti formerly performed in a successful indie rock band, the Young Republic, consisting of himself and various musicians, including Nate Underkuffler. Luanne Yetter -mother to Nate and advisor to the Farmington Flyer – pushed the band to perform in the Farmington area and Saporiti to bring his project here as well.
In an interview, Yetter discussed working on books, projects, and UMF courses that look at history from the perspective of art of the time period being examined; similarly to what Saporiti has done for this project.
“It’s something that Julian and I have always had in common, an interest in both history and music,” Yetter said. Saporiti has also been a guest speaker in some of her previous courses offered at UMF.
In the preview for the album found on the web page for this project, Saporiti concludes his understanding of his work in saying “Whether it’s in concert halls, museums, bars, churches, or coffee shops, performing these songs, showing these pictures, and telling these stories is important, especially right now.”
Saporiti expanded on this in saying, “I’m not talking at anyone or lecturing or writing a dense academic paper (I also do that), but with these songs, I’m just telling you stories of people I know or have read about and am trying to get people to think, and maybe think about what’s going on right now with Muslims, black folks, and undocumented Latinos and Asians.”
Saporiti will bring the presentation to numerous other colleges and venues around the northeast United States the remainder of the year. More information can be found at https://nonoboy-music.tumblr.com/about .
Saporiti will be bringing “No No Boy” to the University of Maine at Farmington in the Emery Community Arts Center on Tuesday, October 3rd at 7 pm.