Sansei: The Storyteller and Yamabiko Taiko drummers: Performing Arts Trail

April 18 7:30 to 9:00 pm

The Performing Arts Trail series, presented by Trail & District Arts Council, brings you Sansei: The Storytellerand followed by a performance by the Yamabiko Taiko drummers.

It may seem as though a light-hearted look at the Japanese Internment isn’t possible until you hear Kunji Ikeda say, “If the Japanese Internment of WWII didn’t happen, I wouldn’t be alive.”

Sansei: The Storyteller uses dance, theatre, and humour to tell the story of one of Canada’s darkest decisions and how the rampant racism of past generations affected the Japanese community today. Kunji Ikeda investigates the social climates and hardships that affected the Ikeda family after they were labeled enemy aliens after the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor triggered the internment and dispossession of tens of thousands of Japanese-Canadians.

In a tale that is both illuminating and profoundly personal, Sansei: The Storyteller weaves together dance, narrative, historical audio, and recorded family recollections in a moving work that CBC hailed as both “timely” and “uniquely beautiful.”

Ikeda conveys his grandparents’ emigration from Japan to British Columbia, where his grandfather was a successful fisherman in Steveston, B.C. Then, in vivid contrast, his stories follow his family’s incarceration as his grandmother, father and uncle were held at Rosebery, an internment camp outside New Denver, while his grandfather was sent to live and work in a road camp to build the Hope-Princeton Highway.

With compassion and unexpected humour, Kunji Mark Ikeda shares his discovery of where he came from, how his family navigated their histories, and how the rampant racism of past generations has affected the Japanese community today.

The silver lining? If not for the internment, Ikeda wouldn’t be here to tell this story today…

Created and performed by Kunji Ikeda.Produced by Cloudsway Dance Theatre.

Creator/performer Ikeda “dances and says more with the movement of his fingers than many actors do with reams of dialogue” (Calgary Herald). The artistic director of Calgary’s Cloudsway Dance Theatre, Ikeda’s moving multi-disciplinary works inventively combine story, imagination, and choreography.

Watch the trailer at

“A tale of profound historical impact. Sansei is storytelling at it’s finest; sophisticated, meaningful, moving, and humorous.” – Laurie Fife, Ottawa Storytellers Society

“He’s a terrific stage presence… a natural-born storyteller. The agony and ambiguity of the Japanese Internment comes out as much in his dance as it does in his words.” – Stephen Hunt, Calgary Herald


Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Drama (Nominated) – Betty Mitchell Award 2019

Outstanding Choreography (Nominated) – Betty Mitchell Award 2019

Best Solo Performance (Nominated) – Calgary Critter Awards 2015

Best of Fest (Winner) – Calgary International Fringe Festival 2014

The Yamabiko Taiko drummers will close out the evening with their high energy performance! Founded in 2003 in Kelowna, BC, Canada Yamabiko (meaning ‘Mountain Echo’ in Japanese) Taiko began with very humble and simple desires: purely to enjoy and play Japanese Taiko-style drums and be lost in their power and grace. Starting with homemade instruments made from packing tape and cut-to-size sewer pipes they began to gather in the basement of a member’s house.

Today, Yamabiko Taiko has evolved into a regularly performing group and practices have moved to the basement of the Kelowna Buddhist Temple.

55-60 min Sansei Storyteller show followed by 30 min Taiko Drummers performance.

6 Show Series Pass: $148 **Don't miss out on this great offer.**

Individual Adult Ticket: $30.00, except Shane Koyczan which is $35, or the bargain price of $10 for anyone under 30 years old.

All tickets are assigned seating and are available online at, by phone at 250-368-9669, and in person at the Bailey Box Office at 1501 Cedar Ave., Trail.

Shows in the Performing Arts Trail series include:

Ridge: Tues Nov 8, 2022 - A vivid and intimate examination of our connection to the past, through stories from Vimy Ridge, that passionately argues against the exploitation of young lives. Featuring musical interpretations of WWI soldier songs performed by Brendan McLeod and his band The Fugitives.

Oktopus: Tues Feb 28, 2023 – The Quebec octet Oktopus is devoted to klezmer—the musical heritage of Eastern European Jews. The group’s virtuoso musicians offer original compositions, finely crafted arrangements and improvisation for a high-energy performance, at once melancholic, profound, and humorous.

Ballet Kelowna: taqəš and Other Works - Tues March 7, 2023 - Featuring up to 8 dancers this stunning line-up has John Alleyne’s methodically harmonized Split House Geometric, Guillaume Côté’s riveting Bolero, and Cameron Fraser-Monroe’s powerful and compelling new work taqəš set to songs by Polaris Prize-winning Jeremy Dutcher and following the traditional story “Raven Returns the Water”.

Shane Koyczan: Tues March 28, 2023 - There seems no shortage of adjectives to describe a show by spoken word poet, writer and performer Shane Koyczan. Moving, hilarious, challenging, provocative, or inspirational. Take your pick.

Sansei: The Storyteller and Yamabiko Taiko Drummers (double bill): Tuesday April 18 2023 - Sansei: The Storyteller uses dance, theatre, and humour to tell the story of one of Canada’s darkest decisions and how the rampant racism of past generations affected the Japanese community today. The Yamabiko Taiko drummers will close out the evening with their high energy performance on Japanese Taiko-style drums.

Huu-Bac Quintet: Tuesday May 2, 2023 - Huu Bac Quach and his quintet, based in Montreal, skillfully combine his Vietnamese and Chinese heritages with North-American jazz music. His beautiful compositions feature the dan bau (single chord Vietnamese instrument), the erhu (Chinese fiddle), the quena (Peruvian flute) and the guitar.

The Performing Arts Trail series is sponsored by Teck Trail Operations, Pharmasave Trail and Century 21 Kootenay Homes (2018) Ltd. With funding support from the BC Arts Council, the Government of British Columbia, the BC Touring Council and Tourism South Kootenay. This project is funded [in part] by the Government of Canada. / Ce projet est financé [en partie] par le gouvernement du Canada.

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Town: Rossland, BC
Venue: The Bailey Theatre
Address: 1501 Cedar Avenue, Trail