Left: Sepia-toned photo of a Japanese American woman in the 1940s, standing in a line, looking ahead. In the background, posted notices of Executive Order 9066. 
Right: White background with red lettering--
Question 27, Question 28
By Chay Yew
Directed by Jully Lee
Available May 8-21, 2021

What were the experiences of Japanese American women during the World War II concentration camps? How did they keep hope alive for themselves, their families and community? Question 27, Question 28 uses real interviews and testimonials to tell their stories of hardship, determination and community. This presentation is an abridged version of the original, which has been shortened and edited for families.
Presented in partnership with the Japanese American National Museum.

Featuring Linda Igarashi, Yumi Iwama, Stephanie T. Keefer and Helen H. Ota
Stage Management by Risa Kurosaki

Question 27, Question 28 Program

Screengrab of the PDF program

Question 27, Question 28 Timeline and Japanese Glossary

Screengrab of the Japanese Glossary for Question 27, Question 28

“Artists at Play hosts free virtual plays showcasing Asian American resilience” from the Daily Bruin
Read the article, which includes interviews with Stefanie Lau and Chay Yew.

three women standing in the orange brick courtyard of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. Left to right: Julia Cho, Stefanie Lau and Marie-Reine Velez
Left to right: Julia Cho, Stefanie Lau and Marie-Reine Velez

“Repeating the History” from the Los Angeles Times
Read about the origins of Question 27, Question 28 by Chay Yew.

an archival image of Question 27 and Question 28 on the "loyalty test" that incarcerated Japanese Americans had to submit during World War II

Artist Mine Okubo
Question 27, Question 28 director Jully Lee chose to use artwork by Mine Okubo in between scenes of the online performance. Okubo was relocated to Tanforan Assembly Center and then imprisoned at Topaz War Relocation Center from 1942 to 1944. There she made more than 2,000 drawings and sketches of daily life in the camps. After her release, Okubo studied art and continued her career as a painter

Mine Okubo Collection at the Japanese American National Museum

Mino Okubo biography

hand drawing on white background: a young woman in the foreground with straight, shoulder length black hair, wearing a long sleeve top with cross pattern and dark pants, sitting on a rooftop, looking at various people doing different activities inside a fenced courtyard with a train passing by and a man in a watchtower. The people in the courtyard are playing sports, doing laundry, conversing with each other, and watching each other. In the background are open fields and farms.
[Observing camp activities from a rooftop, Tanforan Assembly Center, San Bruno, California, 1942]

“The ‘No-Nos’ of Tule Lake from the Los Angeles Times
The play title, Question 27, Question 28 refers to two questions that incarcerated adults had to answer as a way for the government to assess their loyalty. Question 27 asked if they would serve in the military and Question 28 asked for unqualified allegiance to the United States. Those who answered “no” to both were deemed “disloyal” by the government and moved to Tule Lake, a high-security prison camp.
Read the collection on the Los Angeles Times website

Photo of an older Japanese American man with white hair, glasses, and wearing a light blue buttoned shirt, blue tie, and royal blue cardigan sweater, looking to the right of the camera, and sitting in front of a wall of multicolored books. Underneath the photo is the text, "I made no secret of the fact that I was going to say no... I was not about to become a man without a country."

“‘Her Name is Shizuko’ – A Mother’s Influence” from Library of Congress
Artists at Play’s promotional material for Question 27, Question 28 uses this photo from Dorothea Lange. For almost 80 years, the woman was unknown. She was recently identified as Shizuko Ina, and her daughter, Satsuki, shares her family’s experience with the WWII concentration camps and the iconic photo.

photo of a Japanese American woman in the 1940s, standing in a line, looking ahead. In the background, posted notices of Executive Order 9066.

Question 27, Question 28 at the Aratani Theatre
Artists at Play and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center presented the full-length version of Question 27, Question 28 to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Day of Remembrance. On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized the creation of military zones and the imprisonment of 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans without due process. Directed by Alison De La Cruz, KPCC’s The Frame sat in and recorded a portion of the rehearsal.

Screengrab of a video with an older Japanese American woman with fair skin, chin-length black hair, glasses, wearing a white jacket, holding a script in a binder, and standing on stage at the Aratani Theatre, with chairs behind her.

Japanese American National Museum
Common Ground: The Heart of Community chronicles Japanese American history beginning in the late 1800s with Issei pioneers through the redress movement.

Timeline of Japanese American History

Exploring America’s Concentration Camps

Other Activities and Resources

Screengrab of the Japanese American National Museum website of the Common Ground exhibition info page. White background with purple accents, a photo of a run-down cabin interior with a window and aging wood, overlayed with the title Common Ground: The Heart of Community
Screengrab of the Japanese American National Museum website for "Exploring America's Concentration Camps." Image of a torn paper background with faded photos of a site where Japanese Americans were incarcerated, with a graphic of a compass and in script-like lettering, "Start Exploring."

Tales of Clamor by PULLproject Ensemble
Created by traci kato-kiriyama and Kennedy Kabasares, Tales of Clamor utilizes ensemble storytelling, circus arts and archival footage from the 1981 Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians hearings to explore cultural and institutional silence in the redress movement for Japanese Americans who were imprisoned in WWII concentration camps. PULLproject Ensemble recently received a grant to continue development of the play, including a possible tour in 2022.

Tales of Clamor teaser

Tales of Clamor Tells the Emotional Reckoning of Japanese-Americans After WWII” from NPR

Photo of two performers in discussion during rehearsal. Facing towards the camera is a Japanese American person wearing a black beanie and black shirt with "By Any Means Necessary" is pointing to the right. Facing away from the camera is an Asian American man with short black hair, and wearing glasses and an olive shirt, holding a script. In between the two performers is a table with a silver notebook computer and scattered items. In the background in a giant notepad with multicolored post-its on an easel.
a screengrab of a video trailer, with a shot of two Japanese American women in dresses, sitting and looking towards the camera.

Artists at Play is exploring ways in which our work can enrich K-12 education, especially how our histories are situated within United States history. Recent events demonstrate that the stories and experiences of our diverse Asian American communities need to be learned and championed. Please email ArtistsAtPlayLA@gmail.com for more information.

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