Pt. 1: 仕方が無い
“Shikata Ga Nai” /
”But It Can Be Helped”
“Culture Catalyst” presented by San Francisco Arts Commission
San Francisco, CA
April 27, 2018
The Japanese phrase, 仕方が無い “Shikata ga nai,” translated as “it cannot be helped,” is typically used to describe a common attitude among Japanese people when having to confront unavoidable, tragic situations. During WWII, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were forced into internment camps along the West Coast of the U.S. Many Nisei (2nd generation Japanese American) chose to keep their internment experiences to themselves rather than “repeating the tragedy again.” However by not telling their stories to younger generations, silence takes a place within this history.
Pt. 1: 仕方が無い “Shikata ga nai” / but it can be helped. is part of MACRO WAVES’ on-going video installation series exploring intergenerational experiences. The first part of this series focuses on the personal experiences of member Tina Kashiwagi, who is Yonsei (4th generation Japanese American), and her grandmother’s sister, Christine Umeda, who is Nisei and experienced internment herself. Through intimate conversations between the two, the question of how the trauma of internment is passed down through generations is posed, breaking the silence of “Shikata ga nai.”
Rather than simply interviewing Tina and Christine about their generational experiences we decided to create an immersive interview experience where viewers are allowed to interact with the interview rather than listening and watching it. Throughout the bedroom installation photos, video animations, audio interviews and video recordings are sprinkled around allowing the viewers to explore the intergenerational experiences on their own terms.