Yosh Kuromiya, one of the Heart Mountain Resisters, sent me this response to the NO NO BOY reading at the Center for the Preservation of Democracy last Saturday. It's funny; I've been reading a book about the Heart Mountain Resisters and the author quotes a then 18 year-old Yosh extensively, calling him "unusually articulate, especially for an 18 year-old." Well, he's still unusually articulate, and he gave me permission to post his note here; I hope you enjoy it:
I thoroughly enjoyed the recent reading of your play based on John Okada's "No-No Boy".
Being a draft resister myself, when I first read Okada's book back in the 60's, I was quite distressed with all the misleading innuendos and assumptions typical of those who opposed any type of protest against our government. I was greatly relieved at the reading where I discovered I could relate to each individual---albeit they were all playing assigned roles---with a degree of compassion as confused people caught-up in an insane dilemma, and not in terms of "friend or foe". Whether this was due to your expertise in presenting essentially the same plot, same characters, same dialogue, same message, but in a different media---or was it a matter of the improved perceptions of the players and the viewers (including you and I and the general public) in the 50 plus years that have elapsed since the book was published---I don't know. Perhaps it was a combination of all.
On a more concrete note, I appreciated the background narration of the story of Momo-taro in its entirety by the mother who, in spite of her delusions, maintains the courage and commitment few people ever attain. In the book, I could only feel sorrow for her. In your play she became my hero, even though I could never agree with her. (I must be a little crazy too!) The gathering of all the players with their thoughts at the conclusion was an extra bonus. Also, a question and answer session after the program may have been helpful.
Thanks for a great show and for reminding me there may still be hope for Japanese America and for this crazy world we live in.