Recently I came across a novel “No-No-Boy” by the first Japanese American novelist John Okada. First I was perplexed to find out that Okada fought against Japan in World War II, but after reading “No-No-Boy” I understood that John was an American boy, and this was the choice he made so he can live in the country he was born in. To imagine the life of others takes time. But novels, movies, music and the arts allow us to experience their emotions without needing to pick a side.
Here is poems John Okada wrote after the Pearl Harbor attack.
I Must be Strong
I know now for what war I was born.
Every child is born to see some struggle,
But this conflict is yet the worst.
For my dark features are those of the enemy,
And my heart is buried deep in occidental soil.
People will say things, and people will do things,
I know they will, and I must be strong.
—John Okada, University of Washington Daily, Dec 11, 1941
Today I worked on the music for a Persian American film “Over My Dead Body”. This film touches on immigrant children’s experience in America and the conflict with their parents, because they have different cultures and beliefs. Here are two tracks that I have composed for “Over My Dead Body”. I hope you enjoy.
Over My Dead Body: