Roy Hirabayashi was born in 1951 in Berkeley, California. He was raised in East Oakland. Both of his parents are Kibei and were incarcerated at Topaz during World War II. He attended Skyline High School where he began playing the trombone. He attended San Jose State University where he was involved in the creation of the Asian American Studies program. There, he became involved with the local Japanese American community and began playing the drums and started a taiko drumming program. In this interview, Hirabayashi discusses his early life, family, his parents experience being incarcerated and returning to the East Bay from Topaz, growing up with Japanese culture, his grade school education, time at San Jose State University, community work, experience learning taiko, running San Jose's taiko chapter, making taiko drums, visiting Japan, the significance of San Jose's Japantown, Asian American identity, involvement in the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute, work as a graphic artist, hopes for the future of taiko, and the legacy of the San Jose Asian American community.




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