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Japanese American Camp Internees to Speak at Santa Monica College

Speakers include Santa Monica resident Noboru Kamibayashi, who was interned at the Manzanar and Tule Lake internment camps in California. Discussion to follow free performance of "Heart Mountain.

A free panel discussion featuring Westside residents who were Japanese American World War II camp internees will follow the premiere of Heart Mountain, a play on the same topic, Nov. 4 at Santa Monica College.

Local speakers include Noboru Kamibayashi of Santa Monica, who was interned at the Manzanar and Tule Lake internment camps in California; Arnold Maeda of Mar Vista, who was interned at Manzanar, and who is active with the group organizing the Venice Japanese American Memorial Marker; and Brian Maeda of West Los Angeles, who was also interned at Manzanar, and whose 2011 grant was approved by the National Park Service to create a documentary, We Said, No-No. In addition, a representative of the Japanese American Citizens League will serve on the panel.

More than 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans along the West Coast were sent to 10 relocation camps—including Heart Mountain, WY, which became a center for a draft resistance movement—following the Dec. 7, 1941, sneak attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor and the entrance of the United States into World War II.

Heart Mountain tells the fictional story of a family in a World War II Japanese interment camp as it struggles to maintain its dignity and cohesion. It was inspired by research that included interviews with former camp internees—including Kamibayashi—and their relatives.

The panel discussion, and reception with food and beverages, is at 4:30 p.m. after the 2 p.m. performance on Nov. 4.

Heart Mountain runs Nov. 2-11 in the college's Theatre Arts Studio Stage on the main campus, 1900 Pico Blvd. Show times are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at and 2 p.m. Sundays. An additional 2 p.m. matinee is added for Saturday, Nov. 10.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $13 at the door, with a service charge, and can be purchased by calling (310) 434-4319 or by visiting smc.edu/eventsinfo. Parking is free on Friday evenings and weekends.

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