Both Eyes Open

a chamber opera

ComposerMax Giteck Duykers
LibrettistPhilip Kan Gotanda
DirectorMelissa Weaver
ConductorBenjamin Makino
Suchan Kim, baritone
Kalean Ung, soprano
John Duykers, tenor

Joel Davel, marimba lumina  
Marja Mutru, piano 
Emanuela Nikiforova, violin
Cory Tiffin, clarinets
Video DesignKwame Braun
Visual AlchemyMatt Jones & Steven Haman
Costume DesignMaria Christoff
Movement DirectionShinichi Iova-Koga
For photos and bios of artists please see Creators and Cast page.
The performance runs approximately 90 minutes.

There is no intermission.

Unauthorized photography or recording is prohibited.


First Look Sonoma
Melissa Weaver – General Director      
John Duykers – Producer
New Performance Traditions/Paul Dresher Ensemble
Paul Dresher – Artistic Director      
Dominique Pelletey – Executive Director
Presidio Theater Performing Arts Center
Robert Martin – Executive Director
Dramaturgical ConsultationDr. Lisa Tsuchitani
Development DirectionRichard Aldag
Publicity & Marketing     Hug Media Group, Mary Alice Fry
Website DesignJosh Levine
Documentation & TeasersAlbert Levine
Lobby Video CompilationTraci Shiro
Social Media CoordinatorPatrick Murray
Logo DesignSorrel Mocchia di Coggiola
Video Assistance Apollo Jones
Librettist’s note:

Both Eyes Open is an operatic telling of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.   Rather than a historical recounting, Both Eyes Open gives an impressionistic narrative centering on the psychological trauma of the American concentration camps.

America is a fertile land.  It grows things.   Potatoes and Daikon, Exclusion Acts and Executive Orders.  Both Eyes Open frames the current rise in Anti-Asian hatred as coming from the same source that grew the incarceration of Japanese Americans in 1942.

Both Eyes Open is a collaborative vision.  Max Giteck Duykers has composed this remarkable score.  Missy Weaver has given all to steward the project from the beginning. We mash up lyrical with raucous, ambitious aesthetic with vaudevillian low brow, social justice with the metaphysical.   We sincerely hope you enjoy the ride.
                                                                                                    -Philip Kan Gotanda

Philip Kan Gotanda’s Acknowledgments:

For Diane Aways.
Diane Emiko Takei, Max Duykers, John Duykers, Missy Weaver, Paul Dresher, Joel Davel, Marja Mutru, UCB Japanese American Studies Advisory Committee, UCB Center for Japanese Studies, UCB Dept. of Theater Dance and Performance Studies, UCB Dept. of Music, UCB Asian American and Asian Disapora Studies, Lisa Tsuchitani, Dana Buntrock, Catherine Cole, Lisa Wymore, Peter Glazer, David Masumoto, Tom Ikeda, Brian Niiya, Densho, Bancroft Library, Frank Wu, Carol Izumi, Aparna Nambiar, Julian Marenco, and the United States Japan Council.

Japanese American History Consultants:  Dr. Lisa Tsuchitani, Dr. Michael Omi, Dr. Heidi Kim.

Both Eyes Open Advisory Committee:  Dale Minami, Don Tamaki, Lisa Tsuchitani, Michael Omi, Heidi Kim, Takeo Rivera, Andrew Wu Leong.
Director’s Acknowledgements:

Robert Martin & Presidio Theatre staff; Paul Dresher, Dominique Pelletey, Virko Baley, Joan Marler, Dan Smith, Rebecca Curinga, Shira Cion, Mike Beck, Chutima Levine, Main Stage West, Pat Weaver, Jonathan Khuner, West Edge Opera, Sidney Chen, Robert Reetz, Donald E. Osborne, Kevin Kennedy of Bank of Marin, Benjy Young and Kelvin Chan.
In this production, we use a 1944 photo of a 23-year-old Japanese American man who committed suicide. Use of the photo is a courtesy of the Bancroft Library of U.C. Berkeley, from
War Relocation Authority Photographs of Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement.
Both Eyes Open
is made possible with generous support from
California Humanities
National Park Service
Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program
Japanese American Community Foundation of Oakland
University of California at Berkeley
Japanese American Studies Advisory Committee
Brooklyn Arts Council
Bank of Marin
The Jerome Foundation
San Francisco Grants for the Arts

Bodhidharma was a legendary Buddhist monk, often referred to as “The Blue-Eyed Barbarian” who lived during the 5th or 6th century.  He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Buddhism to China, and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch. According to legend, he also began the physical training of the monks of Shaolin Monastery that led to the creation of Shaolin kung fu.  In Japan, he is known as Daruma. His name means “dharma of awakening (bodhi)” in Sanskrit. Little contemporary biographical information on Bodhidharma is extant, and subsequent accounts became layered with legend and unreliable details. According to the principal Chinese sources, Bodhidharma came from the Western Regions, which refers to Central Asia but may also include the Indian subcontinent, and he is described as either a Persian Central Asian or a South Indian, the third son of a great Indian king. Throughout Buddhist art, Bodhidharma is depicted as an ill-tempered, profusely bearded, wide-eyed non-Chinese person.

七転び八起き Nana Korobi Yaoki  (Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight) is a Japanese proverb.  Oftentimes, people take failure as an absolute extreme. Failing at something is not necessarily a bad thing.  It forces us to grow and try things we may not have thought of otherwise.  The Daruma Doll is made so that it will always upright itself when tipped over.

Executive Order 9066 was issued February 19, 1942, signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  E.O.9066 mandated the incarceration of people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast. Military proclamations resulted in the forced relocation from place of residence to guarded “relocation camps”.  This culminated decades of anti-Japanese violence, discrimination, and propaganda, and eliminated the constitutional protections of due process, violating the Bill of Rights. Two-thirds of the 120,000 persons of Japanese descent, incarcerated in American concentration camps, were American citizens, born in the United States.  
Loyalty Oath Questionnaire:

Question #27 asked if Nisei men were willing to serve on combat duty wherever ordered and asked everyone else if they would be willing to serve in other ways, such as serving in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. Question #28 asked if individuals would swear unqualified allegiance to the United States and forswear any form of allegiance to the Emperor of Japan.

Inmates stewed over the questionnaire with a combination of resentment, confusion and suspicion. The Loyalty Oath caused sharp conflicts and division within each camp, which led to agonizing turmoil within many families. If its purpose was to determine loyalty, why had it not been given earlier in the Army’s temporary concentration camps? Inmates puzzled over the meaning of the wording, wondering if a “yes” to #27 meant that the respondent was volunteering for the military. Were they being asked to fight for freedom and democracy while their families remained imprisoned without cause?  Was #28 a trick question, with a “yes” implying the respondent was, at some time, loyal to the emperor?  For the Issei who were legally defined as “aliens ineligible for citizenship,” would a “yes” leave them stateless? Could the government be asking for their unqualified allegiance after smearing all persons of Japanese descent with mistrust and suspicion?  Approximately 20,000 individuals used this questionnaire to express their individual frustrations and anger with the United States government for the entire program of mass removal and incarceration.  They refused to answer the questions, or answered “No. No.”  Government propaganda slandered protest as disloyal and protesters were demonized as pro-Japan fanatics.  This initiated the most wrenching and divisive crisis of the entire incarceration and led to the creation of the largest camp, the conflict-ridden Tule Lake Maximum Security Segregation Center.

Tule Lake Maximum Security Segregation Center became the crucible for Japanese American resistance to incarceration during World War II, where thousands of Japanese Americans met America’s betrayal of their hopes and dreams with anger, defiance and rejection.  With a peak population of 18,700, Tule Lake was the largest of the camps, ruled under martial law and occupied by the Army.  Due to turmoil and strife, it was the last to close, on March 28, 1946.

These dissidents there, known as “no-nos,” carried the stigma of disloyalty for entire lifetimes, hiding their experiences from family and friends, shrouding their Tule Lake past as “dirty linen.” Perversely, many Japanese Americans accepted the racist propaganda as truth, effectively erasing the stories of their leaders who displayed moral courage. Tule Lake’s history of segregation, de-nationalization, and of deportation of protesters, is perhaps the most important civil rights story of the wartime incarceration. Our hope is that their stories won’t be forgotten, and that camp survivors and their families come to see their legacy of protest at Tule Lake with pride, not shame.

The 442nd Regiment was an infantry regiment of the United States Army, best known as the most decorated regiment in U. S. military history.  Most Japanese Americans who fought in World War II were Nisei, born in the United States to immigrant parents. Beginning in 1944, the regiment fought primarily in Italy, southern France and Germany. Many of the soldiers had families in incarceration camps while they fought abroad. The unit’s motto was “Go for Broke”. The 442nd Regiment, with an eventual total of about 14,000 men, earning more than 18,000 awards in less than two years, (including more than 4,000  Purple Hearts, 4,000 Bronze Star Medals, eight Presidential Unit Citations. and twenty-one Medals of Honor). One battalion liberated labor camps at Dachau and saved survivors of a death march near Waakirchen. In 2010, Congress approved the granting of the Congressional Gold Medal to the 442nd Regiment, and in 2012, all surviving members were made chevaliers of the French Légion d’Honneur for their actions contributing to the liberation of France and their heroic rescue of the Lost Battalion.

Alien Land Laws that restricted aliens’ rights to agricultural lands, so often associated with anti-Japanese racism, were initially designed to prevent large-scale absentee landlords from buying up land by giving preference instead to resident aliens and citizen farmers. Coded language targeting “aliens ineligible for citizenship” became a legal way that individual states could limit the rights of Asian immigrants without targeting a group racially in the language of the law. In direct response to anti-Japanese hysteria, alien land laws shifted focus to Japanese immigrants when California passed the Alien Land Law of 1913 prohibiting aliens from owning land. Families and communities navigated their way around the law. Some created corporations to purchase land on behalf of Japanese immigrants, others purchased land through white intermediaries, and others purchased land in the names of their U.S.-born citizen children. Anti-Japanese groups made wild claims about the “threat” that the Japanese immigrants represented, in terms of economic competition and their alleged inability to assimilate fully into American society.

For More Information:


 10 Former Japanese Detention Camps You Can Visit in the United States:

Japanese American Farms in the 1920’s
NPS 2019 Newsletter

Hayashi, Brian Masaru. Democratizing the Enemy: The Japanese American Internment. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2004.

Lyon, Cherstin. Prisons and Patriots: Japanese American Wartime Citizenship, Civil Disobedience, and Historical Memory. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011.

Muller, Eric. American Inquisition: The Hunt for Japanese American Disloyalty in World War II . Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.

Omori, Emiko. Rabbit in the Moon. Hohokus, N.J.: New Day Films, 1999.

Weglyn, Michi. Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America’s Concentration Camps 
“About the Harada House,” Riverside Metropolitan Museum, .

Cuison Villazor, Rose. “Rediscovering Oyama v. California: At the Intersection of Property, Race, and Citizenship,” Washington University Law Review, 87, No. 5 (2010): 979-1042.

Daniels, Roger. The Politics of Prejudice: The Anti-Japanese Movement in California and the Struggle for Japanese Exclusion. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1962.

Chuman, Frank F. The Bamboo People: The Law and Japanese Americans . Del Mar, CA: Publisher’s Inc., 1976.

 Ichioka, Yuji. The Issei: The World of the First Generation Japanese Immigrants, 1885-1924  New York: The Free Press, 1988.

Lazarus, Mark. “An Historical Analysis of Alien Land Law: Washington Territory and State: 1853-1889,” University of Puget Sound Law Review, 12 (1989): 198-246.

Matsumoto, Valerie. Farming the Home Place: A Japanese American Community in California, 1919-1982 . Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1993.

Rawitsch, Mark. The House on Lemon Street: Japanese Pioneers and the American Dream . Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2012

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