Alton Chung can take you on a trip to far off Asia with stops in Japan, Korea, China, and India. You will explore these diverse lands through their folktales, stories, and legends. Or would you prefer some true ghost stories from around the world, Japanese ghosts, local ghosts or perhaps ghosts from Tennessee. Alton has two full length programs based on true oral histories of the Japanese-American soldiers of World War II. They are powerful, moving tales.
A GATHERING OF TALKING SHADOWS: LOCAL OBAKE AND OTHER GHOST STORIES
Afraid of the dark? You will be after listening to ghostly tales from Hawaii and around the world. Alton has a wide repertoire of ghost stories for audiences of all ages. Shows can be tailored from benign, gentle spookers for little children, to stories which make adults uncomfortable, to those which can even make teenagers look over their shoulders into the shadows. Alton has been given permission from Dr. Glen Grant’s Estate to tell all of the strange stories he collected in Hawaii over 30 years. He also makes the ancient Japanese obake (ghost) tales translated by Lafcadio Hearn come to life. Take a night in a haunted wax works, a faceless ghost, an earless monk, a dash of urban legends, and blend well with several true stories of the bizarre and unexplainable of Hawaii and you have the makings of perfectly frightful time. Shows run between 45 minutes – 1 hour.
STORIES FROM AROUND THE RIM: A MIXED PLATE OF ASIAN FOLKTALES
Travel around the Pacific Rim and beyond, making stops in Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and India just to name a few Ports of Call, without leaving your chair. Experience these diverse lands through their folktales, stories, and legends. Shows are appropriate for families and kids of all ages. Meet the mischievous Tanuki (badger) and his friend Usagi (rabbit), the Spiderweaver, and the Great Dragon King of the Eastern Sea. These traditional tales are told with great respect and deep gratitude for all those who kept these stories alive from generation to generation. Shows run between 45 minutes – 1 hour.
BACK WHEN I WAS SMALL KID: STORIES FROM THE PLANTATION DAYS
Plantations were part of Hawaii from the 1850s through the 1990s and just about everyone who lives in Hawaii has had their lives touched by Plantation Life. Working with Hawaii’s Plantation Village in Waipahu and the Okinawan Genealogical Society, Alton has gathered oral histories from folks who grew up in the Plantation Camps before, during, and after WWII. He breathes life into these stories and invites the listener to take a stroll into yesteryear to experience what life was like for kids growing up in the Plantation Camps, to a time when trains ran across the island, and when the sweetest pineapple was that which was picked that morning and liberated that afternoon. These stories are appropriate for older elementary, teens, and grown-ups. Shows run between 45 minutes – 1 hour.
December 7, 1941: An Eyewitness to the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
MO’OLELO: HAWAIIAN LEGENDS AND TALES OF GROWING UP IN HAWAII
Listen to ancient Hawaiian legends brought to life and retold with reverence and passion. Hear true stories of growing up in the Islands, of local customs, and superstitions. Hear tales about aumakua (guardian spirits), menehune (faerie folk of the islands), heiaus (ancient Hawaiian temples), and kahunas (ancient Hawaiian priests). Feel the fire Pele’s (the goddess of the volcano) rage as she chases the ali’i (chiefs) who would dare cheat her in a holua sled race. Cheer the cleverness of Punia as he battles wits with the great mano (shark), Kaialeale, the King of Kohala Bay. Stories are appropriate for elementary, teens, and grown-ups. Taste the flavor of the Sandwich Isles, smell the Plumeria blossoms, and dance in the Mists of Manoa. Experience what is it is like to live in Paradise through the eyes of “one local boy.” Shows run between 45 minutes – 1 hour.
GANBARE: THE JAPANESE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE OF WWII
Explore what it was like for the Issei and the Nisei (first and second generation Japanese-Americans) in Hawaii and in the Continental US during WWII. These stories offer a glimpse into aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the Internment Camps, and the creation of the all Japanese-American 100th Battalion and 442 Regimental Combat Team. The 442 RCT is the most highly decorated unit in the history of the US Military. From saving the Lost Battalion to the Liberation of Dachau to stories of the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) in the War in the Pacific, we explore the concepts of honor, sacrifice, and looking like the enemy. Stories are appropriate for older elementary, teens, and grown-ups. Shows run between 45 minutes – 1 hour.
Sagebrush Santa: Christmas, 1942 in the Minidoka Internment Camp
LIFE IS THE TREASURE: OKINAWAN MEMORIES OF WWII
Once upon a time, a storyteller was invited into the Okinawan Community in Hawaii to gather their oral histories and tell their stories back to them. The result is an award winning collection of stories about what happened in Hawaii and Okinawa before, during, and after the Battle of Okinawa, the last great battle of WWII. Hear the tragic story of the Himeyuri, the teenage Okinawan student nurses, who tended to the wounded Japanese soldiers throughout the three month long battle. Five days before the end of the Battle, they were kicked out of the caves and abandoned. Hear how the people of Hawaii sent pigs to Okinawa after the end of the War to help restore the heart of the culture and diet of the Okinawan people. Stories are appropriate for teens and grown-ups. Shows run between 45 minutes – 1 hour.
Japanese and Korean storyteller Alton Takiyama-Chung, grew up with the stories, superstitions, and the magic of the Hawaiian Islands. This gives him a unique perspective when telling cultural tales and personal stories of growing up in Hawaii, stories of WWII Japanese-Americans, Asian folktales, and ancient Hawaiian legends. He was awarded the National Storytelling Network’s (NSN’s) first J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award in 2005. Performances include: the Timpanogas Storytelling Festival in Utah, the Cayman Islands Gimme Story Storytelling Festival, Singapore’s Congress of Asian Storytellers, the International Storytelling Festival of Thailand, and the International Storytelling Festival in Hue, Vietnam. He has also been the Teller-in-Residence at the International Storytelling Center and a New Voice Teller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN. His DVD, LIFE IS THE TREASURE: Okinawan Memories of WWII and CD, TALES FROM THE LANAI have both won Storytelling World Honors. He is also the former Chairman of the Board of Directors for NSN.