A Tribute Band Like No Other Swings to Remember Life Behind Barbed Wire: Music Honors Japanese-American Internees; 'Don't Fence Me In' and the Jive Bombers (Wall Street Journal)Its fans are mostly elderly. Portland's George Azumano, 92, said he already had been drafted into the U.S. Army when World War II began. Nonetheless, he was forced out of uniform after Pearl Harbor and interned. "Swing music was one of the few joys we had at Minidoka," he recalls.
Internment upended the lives of the Japanese-Americans. Many farmers had to sell their land for a pittance, and entire communities were dismantled, never to assemble again.
Nearly 10,000 Japanese-Americans were held in the camp in Minidoka, a tiny town northeast of Twin Falls, Idaho.
Swing dancing at Minidoka and nine other camps gave Nisei, or children born in the U.S. to Japanese immigrants, a way to assert their American-ness. A number of Japanese swing bands from the big cities of the West Coast reassembled in the internment camps, and some new ones formed there.
One time the Korean and the Korean Fiancee were in Prague, and we were railing about how crappy it was have "gonichiwa!" hollered at us all the time. Then, as we were walking our way up to the Prague Castle, we ran into a big group of Asian old folks who were speaking perfect English. We thought about what kind of crap they must have received all their lives, and decided to keep quiet for the rest of the trip.