The event’s signature online program, centered around the theme of memory, reached nearly 10,000 viewers during its weeklong schedule.
By Rob Buscher, Contributor
Tadaima Virtual Pilgrimage recently concluded its 2022 edition, which took place during the week of Oct. 11-18. Although smaller in scale than previous years, in a single week, its signature online program reached nearly 10,000 viewers throughout the country and participants from more than a dozen countries.
Tadaima 2022 centered around the theme of memory with both live and prerecorded content that explored topics such as collective memory, loss of memory and the lessons we leave for future generations.
Program highlights included participatory Zoom calls organized by generation — from Nisei to Gosei and Nosei (Shin-Nikkei), one-on-one consultations with the California Genealogical Society, film screenings and other educational video content.
In lieu of a formal opening ceremony, this year’s program commenced with a prerecorded panel discussion that explored the significance of the Irei monument that was recently installed at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo.
The panel featured four participants, including myself (representing JACL Philadelphia), who attended the ceremony (Janis Hirohama, genealogist; Kurt Ikeda, Minidoka National Historic Site; and Nancy Ukai, 50 Objects/Stories), spanning three generations of the Nikkei community (Sansei, Yonsei, Shin-Nisei). Each provided their own unique insights to the historic event and reflections on how this monument may continue to shape collective memory for generations to come.
One program dealt with elder care and memory loss in a Zoom session titled “Communicating, Caring and Coping: When a Loved One Suffers From Memory Loss.” The session was moderated by Tadaima Steering Committee member and public health expert Dr. Paula Fujiwara and featured a presentation from Alzheimer’s Assn. staff members Bonnie Rae and Kelly Takasu. Retired family therapist and former family caregiver Alan Maeda then shared his personal experiences with this topic before opening the discussion for participants to ask questions and share their own stories.
Another program of note was the session titled “Music, Memory and You,” which was hosted by licensed music therapist April Ikeda. The session introduced music therapy with a special emphasis on aging and memory care and explored how this treatment modality can help our loved ones and ourselves.
A highlight of this program was a modeling of the “Life Review” activity, which invites participants to create a playlist of 10 songs that define their lives, writing down memories attached to each and then inviting someone else to listen to the playlist with them in chronological order. The session concluded with a heartfelt rendition of the Beatles’ “In My Life,” played on ukulele and sung by Ikeda.
The Tadaima Steering Committee is pleased to announce that the virtual pilgrimage will return on a larger scale next year.
Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages Founder/CEO and Tadaima Co-Founder Kimiko Marr wrote, “Tadaima 2023 will again be a four- or five-weeklong event. Dates are still to be determined, but planning will start in early 2023. We truly see this as a community virtual pilgrimage, so we would like to encourage community members and organizations to suggest programs they would like to see for Tadaima 2023.”
Although in-person pilgrimages have resumed at many of the former sites of wartime incarceration, it seems that there are still many exciting virtual programs to look forward to in the coming year.
As the Japanese American community continues to weather the challenges of the Covid pandemic, at least there is the silver lining of better connectivity in the digital community space, thanks to Tadaima.
To view recordings of each program listed above and for more information, visit Tadaima’s website at jampilgrimages.com or the JAMP YouTube channel at youtube.com/c/JAMPilgrimages.