The Minidoka Swing Band remembers the Japanese Americans who were interned behind barbed wire during WWII with big band sounds from the 1930’s, 1940’s and beyond. The band’s name comes from the Minidoka Internment Camp near Twin Falls, Idaho, one of ten major camps where Japanese Americans from Portland and Washington State were imprisoned by the U.S. government without due process. To give a sense of normalcy to the lives of the teenagers and young adults, the camps often held Saturday night dances to make the best of a horrific situation.

The band consists of 17 musicians and 2 vocalists. Three of our band’s original members were actually interned during WWII and several of our band members had parents, grandparents, and other family members interned. Our group plays at festivals, concerts in the park, schools, senior living centers, and special events such as weddings, retirements, holiday parties and more. We have entertained for conventions, special events, and concerts in Seattle, Puyallup and Vancouver, WA; Portland Metro area, Hood River, The Dalles, Astoria, Salem, and Eugene, OR; San Francisco, San Mateo, Mountain View/San Jose, and Sacramento, CA.

Special performances and concerts were performed during our 2015 Japan tour in Tokyo, Yokohama, Iwaki-City, Minamisoma, and Gotemba, 70 years after the end of World War II. Our unique band has been featured in many media, including the Oregonian, the Columbian, Vancouver, WA, King 5 TV in Seattle, and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal (March 25, 2010).

MSB is a non-profit, associated with the Portland JACL (Japanese American Citizens League). We were founded by the late Roberta “Robbie” Tsuboi as a training band for kids and adults to perform at the 2008 Minidoka Internment Camp Pilgrimage. We have shared our music and told the story of WWII Japanese American Incarceration since 2007.

UPDATE: The Minidoka Swing Band is ready to do performances/gigs for 2024!!! Please email Elaine Yuzuriha, Band manager, to book us today! e.yuzuriha@gmail.com

NEXT EVENTS – Open to the public:

. . . NEW DATE September 8, 2024, Touchmark at Fairway Village, (3:00-4:00pm) 2911 SE Village Loop, Vancouver, WA

. . . April 4, 2025, Walters Cultural Arts Performance Series, (7:30-9:30pm) 527 East Main St., Hillsboro, OR

“Blue Moon” at Norse Hall for the Portland Lindy Society Dance on April 18, 2024

Audio only podcast: Drop-in Session with the Minidoka Swing Band – Portland Radio Project (prp.fm)

“Sing Sing Sing” at the Oregon Historical Society on December 7, 2023
Our tribute to the Nisei veterans of WWII honoring the release of the USPS Go For Broke Nissei Stamp #StampOurStory
Listen to some of our great music!!!