“Kenji” – Fort Minor
Fort Minor is a hip hop-based side-project of Mike Shinoda, who is better known as the rapper, rhythm guitarist, keyboardist and producer of the American rock band Linkin Park. The band is a side project Shinoda, who uses the name Fort Minor for his collaborations with Ryan Patrick Maginn (Ryu) and Takbir Bashir (Tak), who themselves form the underground hip hop group Styles of Beyond.
“Kenji” is a song about the horror of the Japanese Internment camps that were setup during World War II to contain the “the frightening specter of massive espionage nets,” that Japanese-Americans supposedly posed. This claim has, of course, since been proven to be grossly unjustified and untrue. However, between 1942 and 1946 110,000 Japanese Americans lived in horrible conditions in camps where their daily ration fr food has been estimated at 45 cents a day.
The legal aspect of this story, as well as the historical setting, is truly fascinating. The hardships that Asian-Americans have endured is often underestimated, and reading through this article I was blown away at how mainstream and accepted racism was until very recently. Marriage between Caucasians and “Mongolians”? Wasn’t legal until 1905.
Although I can’t relate to this song at all, not being of Japanese descent, the story moved me. The way Shinoda presents the characters and the events is very powerful, and I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did.