Hiroshima, a band that helped define Asian American identity, will take a hiatus.
Hiroshima, a beloved American band founded in 1978, is breaking up. The reasons are complex—the band has announced that it is ending because its members don’t want to make a live band because of a lack of focus, and because the band members (most of whom were also working music industry professionals) simply aren’t ready to play live with each other. What is not complicated however is that Hiroshima remains a beloved American band. It’s a band that has defined a generation of Asian Americans by its work ethic, its sound, and its songs. (For more on the band, see Japan’s own Hiroshima.)
Hiroshima’s hiatus feels like a big loss, but not just because of the band’s music and its place within the Asian American music scene. The Hiroshima’s hiatus is a loss for us as a community, because it suggests that we need to figure out how to support bands who are just starting out. The fact that the band will be taking a hiatus that will not force it into bankruptcy is a beautiful thing, and an encouraging sign that we can look ahead and build something new with them.
When this hiatus happens for the first time for an entire generation of Asian Americans, the world will know that we’re here. In the years to come, we will see many young musicians who have grown up with Hiroshima’s music. To those of you who are of Asian descent, you will take from this band a sense of pride and community, and you will look on with admiration and love at the new generation of musicians you will see, because your own generation was not able to make it when it came time for them to follow in Hiroshima’s footsteps.
In the end, the only thing Hiroshima has to offer us is a new start, and as we consider how we can better support young Asian American musicians, we should remember that, for better or worse, Hiroshima’s music lives on.
Awards and Recognition
The band won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Performance in 2018.
The band won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Performance in 2018