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David Ono, Shirley Ann Higuchi, and Tamlyn Tomita portraits

Sparking Stories: A Conversation with Shirley Ann Higuchi & Tamlyn Tomita

Saturday, January 9, 2021 

2:00 PM—3:30 PM Pacific Time

FREE

Setsuko’s Secret: Heart Mountain and the Legacy of the Japanese American Incarceration by Shirley Ann Higuchi blends personal and political histories into a powerful and inspirational narrative. Join author Shirley Ann Higuchi in a conversation and Q&A with actress Tamlyn Tomita, moderated by filmmaker and news anchor David Ono.

As children, Shirley Ann Higuchi and her brothers knew Heart Mountain only as the place their parents met. As they grew older, they would come to recognize the name as a source of great sadness and shame for the generation of Japanese Americans forced into the hastily built concentration camp during WWII. Only after a serious cancer diagnosis did Shirley’s mother, Setsuko, share her vision for a museum at the site of the former camp, where she had been donating funds and volunteering in secret for many years. After Setsuko’s death, Shirley skeptically accepted an invitation to visit the site, a journey that would forever change her life and introduce her to a part of her mother she never knew.

Navigating the complicated terrain of the Japanese American experience, Shirley patched together Setsuko’s story and came to understand the forces and generational trauma that shaped her own life. Moving seamlessly between family and communal history, Setsuko’s Secret offers a clear window into the “camp life” that was rarely revealed to the children of the incarcerated. This volume powerfully insists that we reckon with the pain in our collective American past.

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