The magical journey of a lonely young hero and a Japanese mermaid
Written by Brenda Wong Aoki • Music by Mark Izu
Choreography by Kimi Okada • Costumes by Beaver Bauer

Brenda Wong Aoki's MU

Japanese legend speaks of Mu as the under sea kingdom of the Dragon King, a place of light, wisdom and beauty where all creatures live in eternal harmony.

We are currently seeking touring partners for the national premiere of MU, an intercultural-interdisciplinary dance drama performed by traditional world and contemporary global dancers and musicians. Inspired by the lost continent of MU, this new work continues the successful collaboration between NEA Playwright Fellow Brenda Wong Aoki, Emmy-winning composer Mark Izu and Tony award-winning choreographer Kimi Okada. It will premiere on the last day of the Mayan calendar in San Francisco on December 21, 2012 at the Jewish Community Center and we are currently in conversation with the Krannert Center in Illinois and the Flynn Center in Vermont.

MU was inspired during a U.S/JAPAN Creative Artist Fellowship in 2008, when Aoki and Izu learned that scientists at the University of Okinawa recently discovered underwater pyramids off the southern coast of Japan that may be the world’s oldest civilization. Called MU, The Land of the Sun, this empire predates ancient Egypt and had colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Americas – all with sun deities, pyramids, and flood legends. Shared architecture and mythology suggest that these widely separated cultures owe their origins to a common source

As we approach 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar and world religions preach the apocalypse, the Legend of MU,an ancient empire of bountiful blessings and noble values destroyed by materialism and greed, is a parable for our times. A multimedia dance work with live music narrated by storyteller, MU is about the beginning, the end and ultimately our envisioned futures together.

Story Synopsis

Samebito, a creature from MU

A boy on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach rescues a Samebito (a magical Japanese sea creature black as ink, with the face of a dragon, and jade green eyes that weep tears of blood in the sea which turn to rubies on land)who in gratitude takes him down to the magic sea kingdom of the Dragon King where Past/Present/and Future exist simultaneously and no one ever grows old.  He learns that civilizations come and go because humans think they live on islands separate from the rest of the world but the denizens of the sea know there is only one world with one ocean.


Jewish Community Center, San Francisco

California State Summer School for Arts

Cal Arts

California Presenters

Cal Artists Management

Gerbode Foundation

NEA Foundation

Talk About  Mu: (415) 221-0601, cell: (415) 992-2428

or visit

Book Mu: California Artists Management

Don: 415-362-2787 or Sue: 707-937-4787 or

The commissioning and production of this world premiere is made possible by The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Composer Collaboration Awards 2010 initiative, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, National Endowment for the Arts, Rhythmix Cultural Works and Union Bank.

Additional funding and support for MU provided by California State Summer School for the Arts, Dramatist Guild, Grants for the Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission, Zellerbach Family Fund and individual donors.


Calendar At-A-Glance

May 9-10 :: Asian American Storytelling Festival, Oakland and San Francisco, CA

May 28 :: Nationwide PBS Broadcasting
Local Bay Area Showtimes on KQED TV:
•  Don't Lose Your Soul: Sunday May 11, 9 pm • Sat May 17th, 6pm
•  Mrs Judo: Tues May 13, 11am • Wed May 28th 11pm • Thur May 29 5am
•  Stories from Tohoku: Tues 20, 11pm

June 16 :: The Queen's Garden performed by Sun Mee Chomet, The Southern Theatre, Minneapolis, MN


 Major Support Provided By

& Individual Donors


Donate to First Voice

Founded by Brenda Wong Aoki and Mark Izu in 1995, the mission of the non-profit First Voice is to create and develop the stories and music of people living between worlds. Critical to this mission is "personal experience" or "voice" as essential to authentic pan-world culture.


Contact Us

Phone: 415-221-0601
Email: aokizu @
Address: 43 Parsons St., San Francisco, CA, 94118

Now Booking Solo, Duet, and Ensemble Performances

Click here to watch video clips of Brenda Wong Aoki and Mark Izu's work