Blogs Category: Asian American History

Navigating AFC Collections Geographically: Pacific Region States

Staff at the American Folklife Center continue to use new digital tools to support remote discovery and access for our resources by users of all kinds. Whether you are a community scholar, a teacher, an academic researcher, a creative artist, or a curious consumer of local culture we hope that our geographically-oriented research guides offer […]

Holehole Bushi: Franklin Odo on the Work Songs of Japanese Sugarcane Workers in Hawai`i

Japanese agricultural workers began immigrating to Hawai`i in 1868, primarily to work on sugar plantations. This immigration peaked in the late 19th century. At this time the population of Native Hawaiians was crashing. As Hawaiians had more contact with Europeans they contracted diseases that they had no immunity to. Sugar plantations, mainly owned by American […]

Homegrown Plus: Traditional Hindustani Music with Soumya Chakraverty and Devapriya Nayak

In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here!) We’re continuing the series with a concert and oral history with Soumya Chakraverty and Devapriya Nayak. This event was cosponsored with the Library of Congress Asian American Association […]

Homegrown Plus: Cambodian-American Heritage Dancers with Chum Ngek Ensemble

In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here!) We’re continuing the series with a concert and oral history with the Cambodian-American Heritage Dancers with Chum Ngek Ensemble. Update: in September, 2020, Chum Ngek did […]

Homegrown Plus: Kalanidhi Dance Company Performs Kuchipudi Dance

In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here!) We’re continuing the series with a performance of Kuchipudi dance by the Kalanidhi Dance Company from Maryland and an oral history with their director, Anuradha Nehru. This is […]

Yuki Usagi: The Japanese Snow Hare

In 2014 I wrote a blog for Folklife Today called, “From Snowballs to Sculptures: Material Culture that Melts.” It dealt with several kinds of traditional uses of snow as a construction material and as a projectile for snowball fights. I came across one type of snow sculpture that I didn’t know very much about, so […]

Teaching the Japanese Tea Ceremony: Mine Somi Kubose

Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage. In China, in the eighth century, it entered the realm of poetry as one of the polite amusements. The fifteenth century saw Japan ennoble it into a religion of aestheticism—Teaism. Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts […]

Music and a Mystery to Celebrate the Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year! The Year of the Rooster begins on Saturday, January 28th.  To celebrate, here are four recordings of Chinese music recorded on Victor in 1902 and 1903.  We hope that someone reading this article might be able to tell us more about these songs. The recordings are part of the collections of […]

A Dance for the Birthday of the Buddha

Note: This is part of a series of blog posts about the 40th Anniversary Year of the American Folklife Center. Visit this link to see them all! When I was working on the article, “Dance!” in Folklife Today last month, I had planned to include the wonderful performance of the Lao Natasinh Dance Troupe of […]