Thursday, February 23, 2006
interview with Mike Shinoda

I got this link from AngryAsianMan - an interview with Mike Shinoda, whose recent project, Fort Minor has been on heavy rotation on the GARpod, even when cradled. Of special interest to me is Shinoda's discussion about the reasons behind him writing the track "Kenji", a narrative about his family's experiences during the Japanese American Internment.

An excerpt:

Shinoda's father, Leslie Shinoda, is a second-generation Japanese-American and was about 3 years old when his family was forced from their home in Los Angeles into an internment camp in Poston, Ariz. Excerpts from interviews with his father and aunt are incorporated in ``Kenji.''

``I've been wanting to make that song for a long time,'' Shinoda says. ``I hadn't figured out how to word it and how to execute it until now.''

Shinoda explains that Japanese-Americans of that time had an attitude known as shikataganai, which means ``it can't be helped.'' Many, he says, believed it was helpful back then because it kept them focused on the future -- not dwelling on the past.

``The problem for my generation,'' he says, ``is that the older generation tends to stick to that and they don't like to talk about what happened -- and that deprives us of the story.''

After hearing the song ``Kenji,'' his family members cried, Shinoda said. And, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles was impressed with his effort to breathe new life into the saga.

``He's basically telling the story to a whole new generation of people, and we applaud that effort,'' says Chris Komai, public information officer for the museum. ``It's a very similar story to other Japanese-Americans.''

The museum also honored him earlier this month at its annual dinner, though Shinoda couldn't make it because of his tour. His parents and wife, however, went on his behalf.

``I think it's very appropriate for today's times,'' Shinoda says. ``In World War II, we had a situation where the government profiled a group of people and punished them for things they did not do. In the '90s, the government apologized publicly, and in doing so it was clear to everybody on both sides of that issue that it was the wrong thing to do. . . .

``So why do we keep messing up and leaning toward that profiling every once in a while? If everyone agrees that it's wrong, why do we keep making those mistakes? Maybe these little stories need to keep coming up, reminding people that we already screwed that up before, and we shouldn't do it again.''

Good stuff - there's also an audio interview with Shinoda right here (right click + save as). As I've said before, more people need to check out Fort Minor's The Rising Tied...

*EDIT* My cousin went to a show, got to meet Mike and the band, get her CD signed, take pictures, AND get invited to the afterparty! Whoa.


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in?scrip?tion (n-skrip-shun)n.
1. The act or an instance of inscribing.
2. Something, such as the wording on a coin, medal, monument, or seal, that is inscribed.
3. A short, signed message in a book or on a photograph given as a gift.
4. The usually informal dedication of an artistic work.
5. Jeremiah 31:33

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