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Enfolding SilenceThe Transformation of Japanese American Religion and Art under Oppression$

Brett J. Esaki

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190251420

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190251420.001.0001

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(p.215) Appendix Background Information Sheet and Interview Questionnaire

(p.215) Appendix Background Information Sheet and Interview Questionnaire

Enfolding Silence
Oxford University Press

Preliminary Background Information

Name, Age, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Marital Status

Highest Education Level, Current Occupation, Approximate Income

Hometown (city, state, country), Location of Current Residence (city, state, country)

Racial/Ethnic Background (be as specific as possible):

What generation Japanese American (e.g., Nisei):

Religion [if applicable]

Are you an active member of one or more religious or spiritual communities?

Past religious affiliation(s)


A. Background and Introduction

  1. 1. Can you briefly describe where you were born and a bit about your family?

  2. 2. When was the first time you were interested in the arts?

  3. 3. Have you ever participated in other Japanese American cultural arts, such as gardening, origami, jazz, taiko (Japanese drumming), dance, ikebana (flower arrangement), chanoyu (tea ceremony), kimono wearing, sumi-e (calligraphy), or theater?

  4. 4. How about non-Japanese American arts, such as oils, classical music, modern dance, etc.? (p.216)

  5. 5. Have you ever met friends, extended family, or romantic partners through art? If so, can you mention an example and explain how it happened?

  6. 6. Regarding religion, do you follow a particular religion?

  7. a. If so, what is the religion? Briefly describe your religious background.

  8. b. If not, do you consider yourself to be spiritual?

  9. i. If so, what does the word “spiritual” mean to you, and why would you consider yourself to be spiritual?

B. Tradition

Thinking of your primary art …

  1. 1. Briefly describe how you got into your current art form [or the art form of interest to the book].

  2. a. When was the first time you tried it?

  3. 2. Do you consider yourself part of an artistic tradition?

  4. 3. Do you pattern yourself after other artists?

  5. 4. Have you ever had any struggles within your artistic community as a person of color, woman, young artist, sexual minority, coming from poverty [categories as applicable]?

  6. 5. Do you have a particular goal or message that you try to spread to Japanese Americans or to your community more broadly through your art?

C. Silence

Now I’m going to turn to the topic of silence. The main subject of my dissertation is silence for the Japanese American community. This is silence in the literal, volume sense, and in the broader sense of the creation of space that gets people to listen to each other. In addition, silence is not all positive, and many experience silence as an enforced silence and a destructive force.

  1. 1. What is your view of silence?

  2. 2. Do you have any physical, mental, or spiritual exercises that you do before create art?

  3. a. If so, please describe them. Do they involve silence?

  4. 3. In [enter name of artist’s work or works] I noticed that you used silence. [May require more description.] Can you tell me what this silence does in your piece? Here, I’m looking for a nuts-and-bolts artistic reason.

  5. a. Does this silence refer to an experience? Some part of Japanese American history?

  6. b. What about emotionally? Are you trying to evoke a particular emotion or set of emotions with this silence? (p.217)

  7. 4. When you perform [or display] this piece, do you try to do anything to set up the environment or stage that it is performed [or displayed] in?

  8. 5. How about when you teach your art? Please describe some of the ways that you teach your art. [If not mentioned:] Can you demonstrate how you might set up the teaching space?

  9. 6. Are there other examples where you use silence in your art? Please describe some of them. Or, if it makes more sense, can you show me or perform an example of how you have used silence.

D. Wrapping Up/Current Projects

  1. 1. What projects are you currently working on?

  2. 2. Do you have a message that you are trying to convey?

  3. 3. Recently, what are you most passionate about?

  4. 4. Any other thoughts that may have been left out?

  5. 5. Do you have any questions for me?