The Genki Spark
The Genki Spark multi-generational Asian women’s performance troupe uses Japanese taiko drumming, martial arts, spoken word, dance, and personal stories to inspire creativity, build community, and promote cultural pride to further a world of respect for all.
Launched November of 2010, with start-up funding from the Boston Women’s Fund and fiscal sponsorship from ASPIRE, we have conducted over 140 presentations, workshops, and classes, at universities and schools, community events, museums, conferences, and cultural celebrations, throughout the greater Boston area reaching an audience of over a million people.
To learn more about The Genki Spark please see our website: www.TheGenkiSpark.org
Genki Speak: our community blog
This blog is a community blog which means that no one author’s viewpoints represent the whole. In fact it’s our hope to capture the rich and diverse viewpoints of our community.
The idea of this blog was generated out of the desire to document our experience attending a 4 day pilgrimage to Tule Lake. Tule Lake was the largest (18,000 people in it’s height) and arguably the most controversial of the 10 Japanese/Japanese American internment camps set up during WWll. 120,000 Japanese heritage people (2/3s of whom were US citizens) were forced to leave their homes, jobs, and communities to be incarcerated behind barbed wire in an effort to ‘protect’ the US during wartime. This blatant act of institutionalized racism has impacted and continues to impact our communities in many ways.
Although each of us has chosen to attend the pilgrimage for a variety of reasons, one central reason has been to listen to and build relationships with the elders who faced this travesty. With most of them now in their 80’s and 90’s it’s critical to listen and learn from the experiences that are not shared in US history books and are in danger of being lost. It is also important for us as artists to understand this period in history in order to better understand the context in which the art of taiko drumming developed in the US. Japanese Americans as well as other Asian Americans who were engaged in the efforts to reclaim cultural pride, establish Asian American studies, fight for civil rights, and develop and preserve Japan towns, saw taiko drumming as an important vehicle for social change.
Beyond documenting the experience of Tule Lake, Genki Speak provides an important opportunity for members of the Genki community (both current and past) to share thoughts, experiences, and reflections with our family and friends.