|Born||April 28, 1952|
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Occupation|| Playwright |
|Alma mater||California State University, Northridge|
Tim Toyama (born April 28, 1952 in Chicago, Illinois) is a playwright and producer. He is Sansei (third-generation Japanese American) living in Los Angeles, California. He is co-founder of the Asian American media company Cedar Grove Productions, and its sister Asian American theatre company, Cedar Grove OnStage. He attended California State University, Northridge (CSUN) as an English major.
His plays have been produced at The Complex in Los Angeles and The Road Theatre Companyat the Lankershim Arts Center in North Hollywood, California. His best-known work is Visas and Virtue , which is based on the story of Holocaust rescuer Chiune "Sempo" Sugihara – known as "The Japanese Schindler". Adapted into a short film by actor-director Chris Tashima, the 26-minute drama received the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film in 1998.
In addition to serving as the film's executive producer, Toyama co-founded Cedar Grove Productions with Tashima and producer Chris Donahue. By producing professional dramatic films intended for entertainment and educational use, Cedar Grove Productions has brought forth Asian American stories, history and issues which were previously either glossed over in textbooks or ignored by the mainstream media. Cedar Grove Productions "remains dedicated to developing and producing projects that boldly defy mainstream Hollywood by giving Asian Americans the spotlight on stage, and the close-up on screen."
Toyama teamed up with Aaron Woolfolk to write the play Bronzeville (play), about Los Angeles's Little Tokyo during World War II when African Americans became the primary residents there after Japanese Americans were relocated to internment camps. The play received its world premiere in April 2009 and was produced by the Robey Theatre Company in association with the LATC in downtown Los Angeles. The play received a nomination for an Ovation Award for Original Playwriting in October 2009.
Toyama's play Independence Day was also adapted to the screen by Cedar Grove Productions as a half-hour television special for PBS. Inspired by his own father "Zip" Toyama's World War II experience in a U.S. internment camp for Japanese Americans, Day of Independence received a Regional Emmy Nomination in 2006 from the NATAS Northern California Chapter, in the category of Historical/Cultural - Program/Special. [ citation needed ]Toyama co-wrote the screenplay and served as executive producer on the film. In addition to its PBS broadcast, the film has been shown at over sixty international film and video festivals and has garnered twenty-five awards.
Toyama is working on several new plays, including Memorial Day, which is about the 100th/442nd, the segregated Japanese American fighting unit of World War II, and Yuri and Malcolm X, about the life of Nisei civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama and her friendship with Malcolm X.
He has served on the Artistic Board at The Road Theatre Company as well as the Literary Committee at East West Players. He has been honored with awards from various community organizations, including "Japanese American of the Biennium" awarded by the National JACL,a Community Award from the Japanese American Service Committee of Chicago, Special Recognition from the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center of Los Angeles, a Visionary Award from East West Players, and a Humanitarian Award from The 1939 Club, a Holocaust Survivors' organization. In July 2008 Toyama received the Ruby Yoshino Schaar Playwright Award presented by the New York/National JACL for his play Yuri and Malcolm X.
Yuri Kochiyama was an American civil rights activist. Influenced by her Japanese-American family's experience in an American internment camp, her association with Malcolm X, and her Maoist beliefs, she advocated for many causes, including black separatism, the anti-war movement, reparations for Japanese-American internees, and the rights of political prisoners.
This is an alphabetical index of topics related to Asian Americans.
East West Players is an Asian American theatre organization in Los Angeles, founded in 1965. As the nation's first professional Asian American theatre organization, East West Players continues to produce works and educational programs that give voice to the Asian Pacific American experience today.
Christopher Inadomi Tashima is a Japanese American actor and director. He is co-founder of the entertainment company Cedar Grove Productions and Artistic Director of its Asian American theatre company, Cedar Grove OnStage. Tashima directed, co-wrote, and starred in the 26-minute film Visas and Virtue for which he and producer Chris Donahue won the 1998 Academy Award for Live Action Short Film.
Cedar Grove Productions is an independent production company based in Los Angeles, California, specializing in media and theatre arts representing the Asian Pacific American community. Media projects are educational, with Visual Communications (VC) serving as a non-profit fiscal sponsor.
Visas and Virtue is a 1997 narrative short film directed by Chris Tashima and starring Chris Tashima, Susan Fukuda, Diana Georger and Lawrence Craig. It was inspired by the true story of Holocaust rescuer Chiune "Sempo" Sugihara, who is known as "The Japanese Schindler". Sugihara issued over 2,000 transit visas to Polish and Lithuanian Jews from his consulate in Kaunas, Lithuania, in August 1940, in defiance of his own government (Japan), thereby allowing an estimated 6,000 individuals to escape the impending Holocaust.
Day of Independence is a 2003 short film, broadcast in 2005 as a half-hour PBS television special. It is a drama, set during the Japanese American internment of World War II, produced by Cedar Grove Productions with Visual Communications as fiscal sponsor.
Lisa Onodera is an American independent film producer, of such noted films as Picture Bride, The Debut and Americanese. She grew up in Berkeley, California, and attended UCLA where she received a degree from the School of Motion Picture and Television.
Visual Communications –– is a community-based non-profit media arts organization based in Los Angeles. It was founded in 1970 by independent filmmakers Robert Nakamura, Alan Ohashi, Eddie Wong, and Duane Kubo, who were students of EthnoCommunications, an alternative film school at University of California, Los Angeles. The mission of VC is to "promote intercultural understanding through the creation, presentation, preservation and support of media works by and about Asian Pacific Americans."
The Grateful Crane Ensemble is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Asian American theatre company based in Southern California, established in July, 2001.
Strawberry Fields is a 1997 independent feature film directed by Japanese American filmmaker Rea Tajiri and co-written by Tajiri and Japanese Canadian author Kerri Sakamoto.
Chris Donahue is an American film and television producer. He began his career as a producer in television news and documentaries, then transitioned to narrative film and television at the American Film Institute. Donahue's work has been honored with numerous awards including an Academy Award for Live Action Short Film for producing Visas and Virtue (1998), and an Emmy for his documentary Be Good, Smile Pretty (2003). His love for documentaries has him returning to the form often, and his current interests have him exploring themes in Artificial Intelligence, Creativity, Immersive Storytelling, and Social Impact Entertainment.
Atsushi Wallace Tashima is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and a former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California. He is the third Asian American and first Japanese American to be appointed to a United States Court of Appeals.
Rodney Masao Kageyama was an American stage, film and TV actor. He was a Nisei Japanese American (second-generation) and besides acting in Asian American theater groups, he was also a director and designer. With his roles in the “Gung Ho” film and television series and the “Karate Kid” franchise, he was a trailblazer for Asian Americans in Hollywood.
Aaron Woolfolk is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and playwright. He shot his first feature film The Harimaya Bridge in Kōchi Prefecture, Japan and San Francisco. The film had a nationwide theatrical release in Japan in the summer of 2009, and had a limited independent release in the United States in 2010. His play Bronzeville, which he co-wrote, opened to critical acclaim in 2009 and has since enjoyed two successful revivals. His podcast dramas There's Something Going on With Sam and Renaissance Man were nominated for numerous awards in 2015 and 2016. Woolfolk was the recipient of an ABC Entertainment Talent Development Grant, and was later a Walt Disney Studios/ABC Entertainment Writing Fellow.
Be Like Water (2008) is a play written by Dan Kwong, originally produced at East West Players, in association with Cedar Grove OnStage. The play received its world premiere in Los Angeles on September 17, 2008, directed by Chris Tashima, at East West Players' David Henry Hwang Theater at the Union Center for the Arts in Los Angeles. The story follows a young Asian American girl in 1970s Chicago, who is visited by the Ghost of Bruce Lee.
Cedar Grove OnStage is an Asian Pacific American theatre arts organization established in 2006, based in Los Angeles, co-founded by playwright Tim Toyama and actor/director Chris Tashima who serves as Artistic Director. It is a division of the entertainment company, Cedar Grove Productions and their focus is to develop, produce and present new and original Asian American theatre works.
Soji Kashiwagi is a Sansei journalist, playwright and producer. He is the Executive Producer for the Grateful Crane Ensemble theatre company in Los Angeles. He has contributed to The Rafu Shimpo with his column, "Corner Store." He is the son of Nisei playwright Hiroshi Kashiwagi.
Allegiance is a musical with music and lyrics by Jay Kuo and a book by Marc Acito, Kuo and Lorenzo Thione. The story, set during the Japanese American internment of World War II, was inspired by the personal experiences of George Takei, who stars in the musical. It follows the Kimura family in the years following the attack on Pearl Harbor, as they are forced to leave their farm in Salinas, California and are sent to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in the rural plains of Wyoming.
Bronzeville is an original play written by Tim Toyama and Aaron Woolfolk. Developed and produced by the Robey Theatre Company. The original production and two subsequent revivals were directed by Ben Guillory. The play had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles, California, on April 17, 2009, and enjoyed an extended, sold-out run. Woolfolk and Toyama were subsequently nominated for an Ovation Award, and they and Guillory were nominated for NAACP Theatre Awards.