We went to see the show No No Boy

Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
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Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Where I stayed
Courtyard Marriott @ Marina Del Rey

Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, April 17, 2010

My wife and I trekked down to Southern California to see my childhood friend, Sab Shimono, in the play, No No Boy, as Pa.   We woke up about 6AM on Saturday, and drove down to Marina Del Rey to check into our hotel, and freshen up before going to the theater in Santa Monica at 2:30 PM to pick up our tickets at will call for the 3PM matinee show.   We had dinner at a seafood restaurant in Marina Del Rey at the wharf.

Our hotel and across the street:


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Santa Monica show:


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Rather than attempting to describe what the show was about, I copied the following from Wiki that does a yeoman's job that explains in a few paragraphs the whole nine yards. 

"No-No Boy is the only novel
published by Japanese American writer, John
Okada
. It deals with the aftermath of the Japanese American internment
during World War II. The novel begins as Ichiro Yamada is returning
home from prison, and follows him as he struggles to come to terms with
his decision of not having joined the army. Yamada experiences intense
inner turmoil as he tries to identify why things happened the way they
did, why people hate one another, and why he acted the way he did.
The title refers to Japanese Americans who answered 'no' to the
following two questions, when asked by the United States government on a
1943 Leave
Clearance Application Form administered to Interned Japanese Americans.
  • "Are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the United States
    on combat duty wherever ordered?"
  • "Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of
    America
    and faithfully defend the United States from any or all
    attack by foreign or domestic forces, and forswear any form of
    allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, to any other foreign
    government, power or organization?"

Both questions were confusing in different ways. Many respondents
thought that by answering yes to the first question, they were signing
up for the draft. Others, given the circumstances of the questions -- in
which Americans of Japanese descent were held in "concentration camps"
-- said no to resist the draft. The second question implied that the
respondent, most of whom were American citizens, had already sworn
allegiance to the Japanese emperor. Many respondents saw this question
as a trap, and rejected the premise by answering no. Afterwards, many of
those who answered "No" were thrown into Federal Prison."


My comments:
The experience by many Japanese Americans who answered "no" to both questions were treated badly not only from Caucasians but from their own family members and other Japanese Americans.   It even shows the conflict within themselves on what they did, and wasn't always sure they did the right thing.It took decades after the war when those No No Boys were finally acknowledged as having done the right thing - and admired, but some never forgave them, and many have passed away with this conflict still alive in their minds. 
We were able to meet with Sab after the show to chat for a few minutes.   He sends me a postcard to let me know when he'll be in a show in California, so we have been able to see him in plays in San Francisco and Berkeley.  
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The Santa Monica Pier:


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