Milagro, Talisman & Love Stories

A Story Gathering Workshop

The events and circumstances that led to the incarceration of close to 120,000 Japanese Americans in the 1940s are strikingly similar to what’s happening now. RAM Artists-in-Residence Brenda Wong Aoki and Mark Izu seek to engage with the Riverside community to fill out that narrative, expand on unsung heroes and acts of courage, and discover strategies for living that can be used today.

This workshop is an intergenerational workshop culminating in a roundtable sharing of personal stories and artifacts. Participants, please bring small precious objects that have sustained you during your life. Come prepared to explain how you got them and why they’ve helped you.

The purpose of this workshop is to gather personal stories. Stories about or that resonate with the Japanese American incarceration during WWII; stories of kismet and kindness that go beyond skin color.

Some of these stories may be used to add to the impact of Wendy Maruyama’s The Tag Project and the E09066 historical narrative in the culminating site-specific performance by Aoki and composer Mark Izu on Saturday, March 17, at 1 p.m.


Brenda Wong Aoki is trained in Noh and Kyogen, contemporary dance and voice. She continues to entrance audiences throughout the world with her intense, lyrical Japanese ghost legends and heart-warming personal stories. A playwright and performing artist, Brenda has been honored with Hollywood Dramalogue Awards, Critic Circle Awards, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, commissions from U. S. Congress, the State of California, and the City of San Francisco. Her recordings have garnered Indie awards for Best Spoken Word. She is a founding faculty member of Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts. Her grandfather was a founder of the nation’s first Japantown in 1897 in San Francisco. Brenda was raised in Long Beach and in the early 1970s played glockenspiel at football games in the Poly High School marching band.

For more information on Brenda Wong Aoki and Mark Izu, visit:

To learn more about the residency,  visit:

For more information on RAM’s Wendy Maruyama: E.O. 9066 exhibition, visit:

Sponsored by:

  • Exhibition sponsored by Bob Harris & Susan Rothermund, Burgess Moving & Storage, with special thanks to the Japanese American National Museum and the Riverside Metropolitan Museum.
  • Exhibit-related programming for Wendy Maruyama: E.O. 9066 was made possible with support from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program at the California State Library.