Composer & percussionist
Paul Kikuchi never met his great grandfather...

But, he was left with his stories, his written memoir,
and a small collection of Japanese 78rpm records.  


These artifacts from Zenkichi
became new works and re-imaginations...

Both historic and modernistic; the project is a musical homage -
an exploration of identity, culture, tradition, and lineage.  




Blending the textured and fragile sonic
landscapes of  Zenkichi's records...

static and feedback generated by old walkie-talkies,
and traditional instrumental composition.


The Music

Released as a CD & limited edition 10-inch vinyl by Prefecture Music.

The vinyl (limited to 100 copies) pairs two of Paul's re-imaginations with the original Japanese songs from which they drew inspiration.

Original 78rpm records from Zenkichi's collection.

The CD and digital download
feature the full studio
recordings from the project.


Zenkichi Kikuchi
immigrated from Iwate Prefecture in 1900.  

After his arrival in the SF Bay Area, Zenkichi worked farm labor in California for several years before settling in the Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington.  In 1910 he married Hagino Yawata, the younger sister of a close friend in Japan; an arranged picture bride.  

As one of the first wave of Japanese settlers in the area and an agricultural expert, Zenkichi was a community leader and was instrumental in encouraging young Japanese immigrants to settle in the Yakima Valley.  Zenkichi and his family were sent to a farm labor camp during WW2, returning to the Yakima valley after the war years.  

Late in his life Zenkichi wrote his memoir, in English. 

Memoir Entries, Photographs, & Music.

“In the streets there are many educated Japanese young men.  
But they walking or living as stray sheep, because they don’t know what they should do,
or can do.  To lead these men to farm and build up new Japan in America - real man’s job.”

- Zenkichi Kikuchi


2015 Travel Journal

Paul spent 3 months in Japan in 2015 on a JUSFC Creative Artist Fellowship -
an extension of the Bat of No Bird Island project.  
While in Japan he studied Japanese music; wrote and premiered a new piece, Oobire, for traditional Japanese instruments and electronics; reconnected with relatives; and rode his bike all over Kyoto.