Penitentiary Rakugo 刑務所落語

A few weeks ago, I received an unexpected yet welcome letter from JK, a clerk for the Asian Pacific Family, a club at the Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP). JK asked if I would consider visiting his club, to perform and teach his group about rakugo. He read about me in a local newspaper, The Asian Reporter.

OSP is operated by the Oregon Department of Corrections as Oregon’s only maximum security prison. The mission of the Oregon State Penitentiary is to assure public safety by providing, among other things, 1) program and rehabilitative opportunities to enhance inmate ability to reintegrate into the community, and 2) work and leisure time activities to reduce inmate idleness.

The Asian Pacific Family is operated by an inmate executive committee, and has a history of seeking out volunteer speakers, performers, and even yoga teachers to visit them in prison. I recently learned in the OPB archives that the men of  the Asian Pacific Family were featured in 7,500 Miles to Redemption, a powerful story about regained purpose, self-worth and humanity for inmates at the Oregon State Penitentiary. The producers spent four years following members of the prison’s Asian Pacific Family Club as they helped guitarist Tinh Mahoney realize his dream to build a school in his native Vietnam (Filmmakers: Emiko Omori and Tinh Mahoney).

So, this evening, I too will join the list of guests invited by the Asian Pacific Family, and it will be an honor to share rakugo with this group.

I will share more about my experience in the coming days.



「アジアン・パシフィック・ファミリー」とは、受刑者自身が執行委員会のメンバーとなり、刑務所外からボランティア(講演者、パフォーマー、そしてヨガの先生など)を招待し活動する組織であり、長い歴史があります。僕は最近、オレゴン公共放送のアーカイブスでこの組織について知りました。「アジアン・パシフィック・ファミリー」の受刑者メンバーは「救済まで7500マイル (12,070km)」というドキュメンタリー番組でも特集されました。OSPの受刑者が取り戻した人生の目標、自尊心、そして博愛についてを描いたパワフルなストーリーです。「アジアン・パシフィック・ファミリー」のメンバーがギタリスト、ティン・マホーニーさんの母国であるベトナムで、学校を建てるという夢を叶えるためのお手伝いをし、その過程を番組プロデューサーが4年間追った内容でした。(フィルムメイカーは、エミコ・オオモリとテイン・マホーニー)




Comments コメント

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s