Tad Nakamura

Congratulations to Asian American Studies alumnus Tad Nakamura on winning the Audience Award for his film, "Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings", at the 2013 Gotham Independent Film Awards ceremony!

"Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings" is a compelling portrayal of an inspiring and innovative Japanese American musician, whose virtuoso skills on the ukulele have transformed all previous notions of the instrument’s potential. Through intimate conversations with Shimabukuro (she-ma-BOO-koo-row), "Life on Four Strings" reveals the cultural and personal influences that have shaped the man and the artist. Covering tours from Los Angeles through New York to Japan, the film captures the musician's solitary life on the road: the exhilaration of his performance, the wonder of his newfound fame, the loneliness of his separation from home and family.

A few years ago, the Los Angeles-based filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura was named one of CNN’s “Young People Who Rock” for being the youngest filmmaker at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival as well as one of the “30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30” by the popular website Angry Asian Man.  Now at 33 years old, the fourth-generation Japanese American has completed his first full-length documentary – on internationally acclaimed ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro – which was broadcasted nationally on PBS in May, 2013. 

Nakamura’s trilogy of documentary films on the Japanese American experience, "Yellow Brotherhood" (2003), "Pilgrimage" (2007), and "A Song for Ourselves" (2009) have garnered over 20 awards at film festivals around the world with "Pilgrimage" being one of 83 short films selected out of 7,500 submissions for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival competition.  Film scholar B. Ruby Rich remarked, “Nakamura takes the joy of activism and makes it downright contagious!”

For information on Tad's film, "Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings", please click here.