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caption:  Paul Kikuchi next to the Califone in the Panama Hotel Tea Room
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Paul Kikuchi next to the Califone in the Panama Hotel Tea Room
Shin Yu Pai

The vintage Califone record player allows sound artist Paul Kikuchi to access and share songs that he inherited from his great-grandfather and other 78rpm records that were left behind by Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II.

Paul Kikuchi got to know his great grandfather, Zenkichi Kikuchi, through the records he'd left behind: 78s of Japanese music from the 30s and 40s. Zenkichi immigrated here in 1900, around the time 78rpm records were invented.

When Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II under Executive Order 9066, they could take only what they could carry. Many of their music collections were lost, but Paul is helping to preserve some of the musical artifacts that survived.

In addition to helping build the archive at the Northwest Nikkei Museum (at the Japanese Community Cultural Center of Washington), Paul brought these sounds into the city, installing a Califone record player in the Panama Hotel café. It is an invitation into a soundscape of this place before Executive Order 9066 changed it forever-- and to consider the history and archives of American music in a new way.

Related Links

Paul Kikuchi

The Panama Hotel and Tea House

Japanese Cultural and Community Center of WA

Nikkei Music Archives at the JCCCW

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caption: The Califone at the Panama Tea House.
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The Califone at the Panama Tea House.
Shin Yu Pai

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The Blue Suit is produced by KUOW in Seattle. Our host, writer, and creator is Shin Yu Pai. Whitney Henry-Lester produced this episode. Jim Gates is our editor. Tomo Nakayama wrote our theme music. Additional music in this episode by Paul Kikuchi. Special thanks to the Panama Hotel and Tea House, the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of WA and the Northwest Nikkei Museum.

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