Nikiko Masumoto to perform as part of 9066 exhibition

Nikiko Masumoto

~ Promo video produced by Brad Shirakawa

~ Article by Lisa Maria Boyles and Lucero Benitez

In conjunction with the Henry Madden Library’s exhibition “9066: Japanese American Voices from the Inside,” Nikiko Masumoto will do a special adaptation of her performance “What We Could Carry” from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5, in the Table Mountain Rancheria Reading Room in the Henry Madden Library (third floor, North Wing).

“What We Could Carry” is a one-woman show developed and performed by Masumoto, a Del Rey peach farmer, public arts performer and a member of the College of Arts and Humanities Advisory Board.

The show asks us to consider how and what memory we carry about Japanese American experiences before, during, and after Internment and World War II. Based almost entirely on the testimony of individuals from the Los Angeles hearings of the 1981 Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, Masumoto performs 13 individuals’ testimony (in addition to her own) about internment and the weight of these memories.

NBC News did an extensive segment about Masumoto in February 2017: Merging Farming and Art, Nikiko Masumoto Keeps her Family’s Roots Alive.

Masumoto developed the piece during her graduate school work at the University of Texas, at Austin.

Masumoto performed an excerpt of “What We Could Carry” at the White House in December, as part of a panel speaking about the future of food. Here is a link to a Fresno Bee article about that appearance.

The event is sponsored by the Sociology department and the College of Social Sciences as part of “Lived Experiences, Social Justice and Social Science” speaker series.

Fresno State’s Henry Madden Library is hosting the event as part of “9066: Japanese American Voices from the Inside,” a series of exhibitions and events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans with a focus on those from the San Joaquin Valley.

The exhibitions officially opened Feb. 19, exactly 75 years to the day from when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing exclusion areas in preparation for the removal of 120,000 Japanese Americans (most of whom were citizens) from the West Coast.

This free, public event is held during normal Library hours but you must RSVP by March 29, 2017 at: (enter code LIBCARRY).

Event starts at 5:30 with a reception with hors d’oeuvres and no-host beer and wine bar. The performance starts at 6 p.m. Parking may be restricted. Please visit a campus parking kiosk.

For more information about the performance, contact Dr. Matthew Jendian, Sociology Department Chair at

For more information about the exhibition, contact Tammy Lau, head of the Madden Library Special Collections Research Center, at 559.278.2595 or at

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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