Notre Dame’s junior class had the opportunity to hear a performance by No-No Boy, a multimedia concert performed by Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama. Their personal stories of searching for identity as Asian Americans touched students, some of which heard reflections of their own stories.
Taking inspiration from interviews with World War II Japanese Incarceration camp survivors, his own family’s history living through the Vietnam War, and many other stories of Asian American experience, Saporiti has transformed his doctoral research at Brown University into folk songs in an effort to bring these stories to a broader audience. Alongside Aoyama, a fellow PhD student at Brown whose family was incarcerated at one of the 10 Japanese American concentration camps, No-No Boy aims to shine a light on experiences that have remained largely hidden in the American consciousness.
No-No Boy aims to illuminate an understudied past and in doing so, generate conversations about the present with diverse audiences. Using music to process their research and family legacies, Saporiti and Aoyama return often to a refrain they’ve heard spoken by those who have lived through the trauma of war and incarceration, “Do not let this happen, again.”
The group also performed for more than 100 students from five local high schools who are part of the Facing History Student Leadership Group.