UNCLE GUNJIRO'S GIRLFRIEND
A True Story of Forbidden Love
A secret shame at the time of the Great Earthquake, the marriage of Helen Emery daughter of the Archdeacon of Grace Cathedral and Gunjiro Aoki, scion of a samurai noble house, sparked Yellow peril journalism, public outrage, death threats and the loss of Ms. Emery’s citizenship. Told by Gunjiro’s grandniece Brenda Wong Aoki accompanied by Emmy Award winning composer Mark Izu, and koto artist Shoko Hikage, repercussions from Gunjiro’s marriage reverberate into the new millennium. Uncle Gunjiro’s Girlfriend, the U.S. representative to the Adelaide International Festival. “Fascinating and inspirational” – Chicago Weekly Reader. “a great gift to the jazz tradition” – Downbeat Magazine
A duet for storyteller and acoustic bass, Brenda Wong Aoki is accompanied by Emmy award winning composer and musician Mark Izu with a haunting original score, multimedia images of Victorian Japanese photos and original yellow peril journalism
A secret family shame is unraveled to reveal an incredible tale of forbidden love. In 1909, Brenda Wong Aoki’s great uncle Gunjiro, son of a legendary samurai, fell in love with Helen Gladys Emery, the daughter of the Archdeacon of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. Their announced engagement triggered a media blitz of yellow peril headlines, provoked public outrage, death threats and culminated in the loss of Ms. Emery’s citizenship. Uncle Gunjiro’s Girlfriend tells the tale of their epic love and its impact on descendants three generations later.