How the story of Japanese American incarceration is expressed through music : Code Switch In February of 1942 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government issued an executive order to incarcerate people of Japanese descent. That legacy has become a defining story of Japanese American identity. In this episode, B.A. Parker and producer Jess Kung explore how Japanese American musicians across generations turn to that story as a way to explore and express identity. Featuring Kishi Bashi, Erin Aoyama and Mary Nomura.

Japanese American musicians across generations draw identity from incarceration

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

B A PARKER, HOST:

Hey, everyone. You're listening to CODE SWITCH. I'm B.A. Parker. And today I'm joined by one of the show's producers, Jess Kung. Hey, Jess.

JESS KUNG, BYLINE: Hey, Parker. OK, today I want to talk about Japanese American musicians of different generations, and particularly how their music relates to the incarceration of people of Japanese descent in the U.S. during World War II. And I want to start on an unbearably cold morning on a snowy field in southeast Arkansas. Actually, Parker, this is a scene from a documentary. I can show you.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIOLIN PLAYING)

PARKER: So there's a man in front of a big, stone marker, and it cuts to him standing in a vast, snowy field, playing the violin.

KUNG: The place is the site of the Jerome War Relocation Center, where more than 8,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated over 21 months. It was the last camp to open and the first to close.

KISHI BASHI: It was so cold that my brain was not functioning, you know?

KUNG: How was tuning in the cold?

KISHI BASHI: Awful.

KUNG: That's the violin player, Kaoru Ishibashi. He usually shortens his name to K, but he's probably best known as Kishi Bashi.

KISHI BASHI: My name is Kishi Bashi. I'm a musician. I'm a composer. I just made a movie.

KUNG: K grew up in Virginia, and his parents immigrated from Japan in the '70s. And what he's playing here is what came out of his experience immersing himself in the stories of Jerome and other World War II incarceration camps and the broader history of Japanese Americans who came before him.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THEME FROM JEROME (FORGOTTEN WORDS)")

KISHI BASHI: (Singing) After today...

KUNG: He turned that improvisation into this song, "Theme For Jerome" (ph).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THEME FROM JEROME (FORGOTTEN WORDS)")

KISHI BASHI: (Singing) With every word you walk from the comfort of my hands.

It was particularly painful to me when I realized that this was an immigrant population incarcerated and forced to assimilate.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THEME FROM JEROME (FORGOTTEN WORDS)")

KISHI BASHI: (Singing) We fight the war of enemies unseen, and here we are in Jerome.

I knew that I wanted to write a melody that had a Japanese flavor - you know (vocalizing). There's a lot of Japanese songs that are basically in that scale.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THEME FROM JEROME (FORGOTTEN WORDS)")

KISHI BASHI: (Vocalizing).

It's a pentatonic scale that exists only in Japan and, coincidentally, in Ethiopia.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THEME FROM JEROME (FORGOTTEN WORDS)")

KISHI BASHI: (Singing in Japanese).

You have that melody with you, but you've forgotten the words. You've forgotten the Japanese. And it's just this kind of ghost of your ancestors that you still remember and feel, but you just can't connect with them.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THEME FROM JEROME (FORGOTTEN WORDS)")

KISHI BASHI: (Singing) And when they sleep, she'd sing this melody to her beloved sons, forgotten words from Japan. (Vocalizing).

KUNG: I think this song is really compelling. And a thing that's interesting to me about it is that this is essentially a fictional lullaby composed to tell this story, and it's informed by research and music theory and empathy.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "OMOIYARI")

KISHI BASHI: Thank you guys so much for coming. I'm - my parents were post-war immigrants, and I actually have no direct connection to the incarceration except that it would be like - I would have probably been in it.

PARKER: Just to be clear, Kishi Bashi isn't a direct descendant of the Japanese American incarceration but is making music about the Japanese American incarceration?

KUNG: Yeah. What you just heard is a scene from his album and documentary project, "Omoiyari." It's the result of him traveling to a bunch of different sites of incarceration, learning history, composing music. In that scene, he's in Wyoming, near the site of the Heart Mountain War Relocation Center, in a half-restored barrack. It's his first visit to the site, and he's throwing a community outreach concert for a crowd of locals.

KISHI BASHI: It's really kind of in the middle of nowhere - Cody, Wyo., you know? And it's like - you know, it's, like, the least populous state, where there's more cows than people. And that was really early on. So I'm really fumbling around and feeling insecure about knowing if I even deserve to be telling the story.

KUNG: I think that discomfort he's describing is one reason why this whole thing is interesting to me. Different waves of immigrants, even from the same mother country, aren't always guaranteed to share a lot, you know? There can be disparities in education, class, dialects, language, politics.

PARKER: But Jess, it's also clearly not nothing.

KUNG: I mean, yeah. But I'm curious why people of different Japanese American backgrounds seem to reach for this history. Like, a good amount of "Omoiyari" is Kishi Bashi reflecting on how learning this history made him reexamine his identity. He says he didn't really have a Japanese American community growing up. Like, at school, he learned to ignore that part of himself.

KISHI BASHI: It was the '80s, you know? So I just kind of hid behind just a veneer of - just a - I'm just your friend here. I'm not, like, Asian.

KUNG: And when he was coming up as a musician in the early 2000s, he was really conscious of how Japanese his image could be.

KISHI BASHI: Being a male Asian violinist was very, like, characterized and kind of a stereotype, almost. So I had to, like, find a balance of being, like, a cool Asian violinist or just a violinist who also happened to be Asian. I didn't want to be, like, world music. So I was very conscious to find this just slight Japaneseness (ph) in a very white indie rock world.

KUNG: For what it's worth, Kishi Bashi sings in Japanese across all of his albums.

PARKER: That seems like a contradiction, right? He was trying to downplay being Japanese while also being undeniably Japanese.

KUNG: Yeah. I mean, it's, like, somewhat legible to me, but it is this kind of, like, messy thing. I think it's something that came into sharper relief when K started working with people who are third- or fourth-generation Japanese American.

ERIN AOYAMA: We used to sort of tease K sometimes 'cause it was like, K, you sing in Japanese. And so how - like, how do you see that separation between, like, the Japanese parts of you and the American parts of you?

KUNG: We're going to get into that question and who's asking it later. But first, let's do a quick explanatory comma.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1942, almost every person of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast, which is where almost that entire population lived, were sent to, quote, "war relocation camps." That's about 122,000 people. Decades later, the U.S. government actually admitted wrongdoing - that it was a racist and knee-jerk policy. They offered a national apology and financial redress. In the '90s, surviving detainees were given a check for $20,000. And in a way, it's a huge reason we have so much public memory of incarceration today. Japanese American historical projects got funded by people donating from their redress checks.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOR EVERY VOICE THAT NEVER SANG")

KISHI BASHI: (Singing) In the middle of this ocean, in the deepest of the beds, I had written down a poem that you never could have read. There is a time. There is a place for us, for every voice that never sang, for every one I trust. I am with you.

When I present these songs, I don't really intend people to learn the complete factual history of what I'm trying to tell. I just want it to be a taste of the emotions involved and to cultivate this kind of empathy so that you'll go back and learn more about it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOR EVERY VOICE THAT NEVER SANG")

KISHI BASHI: (Singing) Can't wait for when the world can be a better place with countless hours to embrace with you.

KUNG: Kishi Bashi's songs in "Omoiyari" reference and respond to this history without, you know, being too "Schoolhouse Rock!" about it. But on that note, Parker, can I confess something?

PARKER: Always.

KUNG: I'm pretty sure I first learned about Japanese American internment from Mike Shinoda.

PARKER: The rapper from Linkin Park?

KUNG: That one, yeah. When I was a kid, my older cousin played me a song from his side project, Fort Minor.

PARKER: The "Remember The Name" song.

KUNG: Uh-huh, uh-huh. This is from that same album from 2005. The song is called "Kenji."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "KENJI")

FORT MINOR: My father came from Japan in 1905. He was 15 when he immigrated from Japan.

KUNG: Shinoda's father's family was incarcerated at Manzanar, and he wrote this song based on interviews with relatives.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "KENJI")

FORT MINOR: (Rapping) It was World War II when this man named Kenji woke up. Ken was not a soldier. He was just a man with a family.

KUNG: And you know, compared to, like, "Theme For Jerome" (ph) by Kishi Bashi, this song is very literal.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "KENJI")

FORT MINOR: (Rapping) When the kids ask, Mom, where are we going? Nobody even knew what to say to them. Ken didn't want to lie. He said the U.S. is looking for spies, so we have to live in a place called Manzanar, where a lot of Japanese people are.

PARKER: I mean, this is very earnest.

KUNG: It's probably one of the most just explicit songs about this incarceration that's ever been put out by someone this mainstream. And at least for me as a kid, learning this story, knowing it affected someone from a band I thought was very cool - and I still think Linkin Park is really cool - and learning that he was Asian American in this way that I didn't understand yet mattered. So I wanted to know more about what this particular chapter of history means for Japanese Americans of all kinds, regardless of their relationship to incarceration.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MARY NOMURA: (Singing) I knew a boy and I knew a girl in Manzanar.

KUNG: Coming up, we're going to peel back more Japanese American incarceration history through different generations of musicians.

AOYAMA: Like, yeah, of course. Like, you're going to find a way to sing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TWO CANDLES IN THE DARK")

NO-NO BOY: (Singing) Don't it feel like a movie, teaching this girl how to waltz?

PARKER: Stay with us.

Parker.

KUNG: Jess.

PARKER: CODE SWITCH. Now, Jess, you've been telling us about Japanese American musicians who have been influenced by stories of World War II incarceration camps.

KUNG: Yeah. It's become a defining story for Japanese American identity. Before, during and after wartime, people had to make these navigations. Were they going to prove themselves to be good U.S. citizens? And did that mean they would have to be less Japanese?

AOYAMA: It becomes a sort of a stimulative quest - right? - that you want to be American. You were just recently put in a prison because you were not American enough, so how do you prove that you are, you know, 200% American?

KUNG: This is historian Erin Aoyama. She's getting her Ph.D. in American studies at Brown University, and she's also a curatorial assistant at the Japanese American National Museum. Her work focuses on the Japanese American experience, particularly World War II and redress, and she tries to think of this need to assimilate in context.

AOYAMA: People were just trying to survive. And so some of, like, extending a historical kindness, perhaps to my ancestors, is to say, like, you didn't have time to think about how you were maintaining your cultural traditions or whether you were, you know, teaching your children Japanese and keeping that up. It was sort of a, like, are you OK?

KUNG: Erin is Yonsei, or fourth-generation, Japanese American. She grew up in New England, where she says as a kid, she loved how the historical stories about Revolutionary War and colonial America were reflected in places she could see and visit for herself. She didn't know about camp.

AOYAMA: We never talked about it.

KUNG: When Erin was a little older, though, maybe middle school age, she got the inkling of how her family was part of this bigger story.

AOYAMA: I remember at one point my dad saying to me just around the dinner table - like, mentioning this place, Heart Mountain, that my grandmother had lived during the war. And the name stuck with me because it has this sort of like beautiful sound to it, this sort of like romantic, you know - I don't know. I didn't really know what a camp was. I'm not really sure that my dad had a full understanding of what a camp was.

KUNG: Erin held on to this fact. She kind of waited for it to come up later in U.S. history class, but, like, it didn't.

PARKER: Yeah. I mean, I barely learned about it in high school.

KUNG: Yeah, same.

AOYAMA: And I think that sort of lit this fire in me - a little bit because I was sad I didn't get to, like, share my own family story in history class, but also because it made me realize that so many of the stories that we're told are what counts as American history are not the ones that shaped our families.

KUNG: Erin had already been on the path of being, like, a history scholar. But with that fire in her, in undergrad, she started interviewing her father and his childhood neighbors about how their families experienced World War II.

AOYAMA: My grandmother passed away right before I started fifth grade, and my grandfather right at the beginning of eighth grade for me. And so I just never asked them any of these - I didn't know how to ask them those questions.

KUNG: Erin says her Japanese American grandmother has a pretty typical Nisei, or second-generation, story growing up in Southern California.

AOYAMA: My grandmother had just started junior college when Pearl Harbor was bombed, so she had just sort of graduated from high school in 1940, moved out, it seemed, wasn't living with her family. She and her older brother were sent to Pomona Assembly Center, which was one of the temporary detention centers built on the West Coast. Her parents went to Santa Anita, which was built at the Santa Anita race tracks in LA, and I haven't really been able to figure out too much about why they were separate or what that was like.

KUNG: So Erin worked with Kishi Bashi during the development of "Omoiyari." As a grad student in 2017, she had the opportunity to travel with a bunch of other students at Brown across the boundary of that exclusion zone. That line drawn up the West Coast. And...

AOYAMA: K sort of, like, invited himself on this road trip with a bunch of grad students, brought a cameraman, which was hilarious.

KISHI BASHI: They were already doing a trip to begin with, so I just jumped on, which was amazing.

KUNG: Erin is also a singer. During that trip, she was part of a music project called No-No Boy, and alongside Kishi Bashi, also made music inspired by historical research. Erin ended up opening for a bunch of Kishi Bashi shows and talking off stage about the history and the ideas as he developed "Omoiyari." And they talked about stuff like how much personal history matters.

AOYAMA: I'm always curious about this idea that, like, you should care about a history. If you can put yourself in the shoes of it. Like, to me, I - yes, in some ways, absolutely. Like, that is why I care about incarceration history is because it touched, you know, my life in these ways that I don't understand. But I also hope for not needing to rely fully on empathy because I think that can be so limiting. Like, you should only care about something if you know that it would have happened to you. Like, that's actually not the thing that we want.

KUNG: In 2018, No-No Boy entered the Tiny Desk contest. They didn't win, but here's them being featured on NPR.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama, two doctoral students at Brown, created songs that illuminate the Asian American experience in their multimedia project, No-No Boy.

JULIAN SAPORITI AND ERIN AOYAMA: (Singing) Don't it feel like a movie, teaching this girl how to waltz?

KUNG: This song is called "Two Candles In The Dark," and it's a romantic snapshot of the root cellar at Heart Mountain. You know, like where they stored vegetables.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

SAPORITI AND AOYAMA: (Singing) Wind around past the skaters and ponds just looking for a cut in the wire.

AOYAMA: So the song we sing, "Two Candles In The Dark," is kind of a speculative piece, thinking about what it would mean to sneak out. My grandmother was about 20 years old when she was at Heart Mountain, so thinking about living in a one-room barrack with her older brother and her parents and trying to get some time away, find a little bit of light in a really dark place, finding joy and finding life even from within a prison camp.

PARKER: So Erin is singing about this sneaky date in the root cellar. I mean, that's sweet. It's, like, life goes on.

KUNG: Yeah, and it's based on visiting that cellar long after it's prime and seeing years of, like, abandoned beer cans and improvised seating and understanding that it's always been a spot for teenagers to sneak off to.

AOYAMA: My grandmother, as far as I know, never talked about her time in camp beyond, like, acknowledging that she had been there. And so a lot of my research to this day still is, like, holding that and just holding the fact that, like, the one person that I really want to know a lot about, I can't ever know, like, OK, as a historian, we're supposed to try and understand and know everything that we can, but what do you do when you just know that you're not going to know everything? And how does that, like, shift the way that you approach what knowledge can be and what, like, history can be and who counts and who gets to be part of the story?

KUNG: While younger generations and newer immigrants search for historical connections, the Japanese American community has invested a lot into preserving this memory. Like, people who were incarcerated as children or teenagers are still alive.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NOMURA: I don't have an accompanist, so I'll just had to sing a la carte.

KUNG: Like Mary Nomura. When she was 16 years old, she was incarcerated with her family and moved from LA County to Manzanar, deep in the California desert. This is her at a Japanese American National Museum virtual event in 2020.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NOMURA: And it's a song that was written for me in camp by Mr. Lou Frizzell about the life of the young people who had no privacy. Everybody knew what everyone was doing and who you were dating and what you were doing. And I always used to call - I lovingly called it "The Manzanar Song." (Singing) I knew a boy and I knew a girl in Manzanar. They try to feel that it makes no difference where you are.

KUNG: Mary's nickname was the Songbird of Manzanar. While she was incarcerated, she performed, she toured, she even cut records.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NOMURA: (Singing) A necessity must be a thing of public interest, not private property. No...

PARKER: Oh, this is the same kind of thing Erin was singing about.

KUNG: Yeah. And it was, like, written and performed during incarceration. I think it's kind of stunning to think about how young lovers were probably slow dancing to this kind of thing or maybe just, like, shooting each other knowing looks.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NOMURA: (Singing) The mess hall can be dinner at the Ritz while you wear your corsage (ph).

PARKER: Well, when were they listening to music in the camps?

KUNG: I mean, eventually it was about as often as people listen to music in their life. A lot of it was because internees set up life for themselves in the barebone structures of the camps - churches, temples, farms, newspapers, sports team, dances. People wanted the structure of normalcy, of community, you know, especially with kids around. And also, because the camps were put together so hastily, they weren't fully operational when thousands of people suddenly needed to live there.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NOMURA: (Singing) It's just as good to pretend. It's not so important when you're true. It's...

Oh, I forgot the rest of the word.

(Singing) It's not to show it when I can.

Sorry, I started too low.

KUNG: But there were spaces for music and dance, both formal and informal, Japanese and American 'cause that's what people do.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

PARKER: So what did that look like?

KUNG: My understanding is that there was a pretty strong generational divide even before the war. Issei, first-generation folks, held on to the traditions they grew up with in Japan. There are stories of kabuki theater productions coming together in New Mexico's camps - people hand-making props and instruments for classical dances.

And for Nisei, the second generation, there was a pretty distinct cohort of them coming of age in the early 1900s. And they wanted to dance and play popular American music, particularly swing and jazz and big-band stuff. Like, you know, these are people in their teens and early 20s who wanted to be defiantly American at a time when they were extremely aware that they weren't welcome into that.

PARKER: So as things change, many things still stay the same.

KUNG: Yeah. Mary Nomura has talked about how she didn't think she'd been able to have a singing career at all outside the camps. Here's her and a documentary from 2002.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NOMURA: I've always aspired to be a singer on the radio because no way is a Japanese going to be wanting to get into the movies. But because of my love for music, I've always wanted to be on the stage or in the radio. And being that I was in the camp like this, there was no way. But I was lucky that I was able to sing at some of these things in the camp. But if it wasn't for that, I would have really been stifled, you know, if I didn't have the opportunity to pursue that music part.

PARKER: That's a hard irony that the internment camp provided her with opportunities she wouldn't have ever had in white America.

KUNG: There are so many stories like this, many of them collected in this book called "Reminiscing In Swing Time" by George Yoshida, who was living with his family in Los Angeles before they were incarcerated in Poston, Ariz. He was 20.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

KUNG: Yoshida writes of this feeling among Nisei while incarcerated. Quote, "didn't we pledge allegiance to the American flag all our lives? Hey, we're American, you know - apple pie, baseball and Chevrolet - aren't we?" George was a musician and band leader himself. And in his book, he documents dozens of Nisei groups playing jazz and swing before, during and after the war - school friends and church groups, the American-born musicians who went back to Japan for opportunities to play professionally, some of whom got caught abroad during the war. He writes about the big bands that existed at every single camp and what happened to those musicians after the war.

Yoshida has spoken about how when the order came down, his family, like a lot of others, burned a lot of their stuff that was Japanese - in this case, records full of, like, children's music. They sold their piano. They were able to store a few trunks of stuff at their church. Here's a 2002 interview with him from the Densho Archive.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GEORGE YOSHIDA: You know, one thing I kept, which I took to camp for my personal use, was a record carrying case of 78 rpm records of my favorite pop music, Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey stuff. I carried them to camp, besides another suitcase with spare pants, shirts. And my sister was very much upset because I took these records. What's the matter with you, George? But I could not bear leaving my records behind.

KUNG: George Yoshida wanted his records with him, even maybe to his detriment. It reminded me of something that came up with Erin Aoyama in her discussions with Kishi Bashi.

AOYAMA: You know, we had many conversations about, yeah, when people were told to, like, pack and take only what they could carry, he would take his violin. And that's a way into this sort of like, oh, yeah, of course there were musicians in camp. And I know that because - we know that - we have, like, pictures and stories. But we also know that because musicians - there are musicians today. And, like, that is what a musician does. You are silly, and you don't pack a coat. You bring your violin.

(CHEERING)

KUNG: In November 2023, I went to the D.C. stop of Kishi Bashi's tour for "Omoiyari," the movie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Thank you so much for joining us this evening. Enjoy the show.

KUNG: After the movie ended, K got back on stage to transition to the next part of the show, which was a live set.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KISHI BASHI: ...Connected with the internment or incarceration that would like to raise their hand and acknowledge that they were, I would like to thank you personally for allowing me to tell your story.

KUNG: From the back of the theater, I couldn't see many hands go up. But near me, two women cautiously raised their hands together.

(APPLAUSE)

KUNG: I was in reporting mode. So during intermission, I approached them, you know, thinking about what different people of different generations get from this kind of art.

LINDA MORRIS: Kishi Bashi's album has been incredibly healing for me personally. It's allowed me to have a conversation with my family, in a way, about our history and to really heal from that.

KUNG: This is Linda Morris. She brought her mom, Mary Ishimoto Morris, to the show with her.

MARY ISHIMOTO MORRIS: We have been to Jerome. And to see it on the screen and to hear the music and to see the video - it just overwhelmed me with emotion knowing that it's my family that he's making a tribute to. And it just really overwhelmed me.

KUNG: The Morrises seemed to have gotten a lot out of "Omoiyari," and I found their perspective grounding.

MORRIS: Our family was living in California when Pearl Harbor happened, and my grandmother's mother remembers digging a hole and throwing everything that was Japanese into that hole and setting it on fire because they were so afraid and so fearful. And shortly after that, they were forced from their homes and relocated to Arkansas. And my grandmother's mother died months after entering camp at the age of 47, so it was just incredibly devastating for our family. You know, it's hard to even really share about these things and talk about them out loud. And so, I mean, I think that's healing for that reason.

My grandparents actually met and got married in the camps, which, you know, is something I think about a lot, but especially with Kishi Bashi's music - just painting a full picture of humanity in the camps is something that I don't know that we often see when we do talk about camp in mainstream culture. It's just so special because it offers a different way to experience and revisit that history that isn't just talking about it or reading about it but actually being immersed in the feelings of it. That's just been really impactful.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SUMMER OF '42")

KISHI BASHI: (Singing) What are the things you wanted? The same as anyone? Just a hand to hold a little after all is said and done. And the days were long and open 'cause I had a view of you. The summer of '42, when I was in love with you.

PARKER: And that's our show. You can follow us on Instagram @nprcodeswitch. If email is more your thing, ours is codeswitch@npr.org. And subscribe to our newsletter. You can find that at npr.org/codeswitchnewsletter. You can follow the podcast on the NPR app or wherever you get your podcasts.

KUNG: Another way to support our work here is to sign up for CODE SWITCH+. It's small, but really makes a difference for us, and you'll get to listen to every CODE SWITCH episode without any ads. Check it out at plus.npr.org/codeswitch, and thanks to everyone who's already signed up.

PARKER: This episode was produced by Christina Cala. It was edited by Dalia Mortada. Our engineer was Maggie Luthar.

KUNG: Thanks to Joy Yamaguchi and Greta Pittenger, as well as Kishi Bashi for use of music from "Omoiyari." We used audio from the Densho archive and the documentary "Words, Weavings & Songs," produced by the Japanese American National Museum.

PARKER: And a big shout-out to the rest of the CODE SWITCH Massive - Xavier Lopez, Leah Donnella, Veralyn Williams, Lori Lizarraga, Chloee Weiner and Gene Demby.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SUMMER OF '42 (ORCHESTRAL EDITION)")

KISHI BASHI: (Singing) I am in love with you, I am in love with you...

PARKER: I'm B. A. Parker.

KUNG: I'm Jess Kung.

PARKER: Hydrate.

KUNG: Bye.

Copyright © 2024 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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