History: Midori Shimanouchi Lederer (1923-2005) was the founder of Japanese American Social Services, Inc. (JASSI), a social services agency for New York’s elderly Japanese and Japanese American residents. Born and raised in Fresno, California, Lederer was a student at the University of California, Berkeley, when she and her family were forcibly removed from their home and incarcerated at the Topaz War Relocation Center, a concentration camp, in 1942. Her 1943 appeal to the US government granted her permission to leave Topaz and resume her studies at Pace College in New York. While living in New York she became involved in the film and publicity industries. In 1952 she became the secretary of renowned film producer Michael Todd and served as his production assistant. She later joined Bill Doll and Company, a top New York-based firm of press agents in 1960 and eventually rose to partner and vice president.
Survey Conducted: Tue, 2010-09-14
Creator: Yuzawa, George
History: George Katsumi Yuzawa was born in Los Angeles, California on February 21, 1915. George’s immigrant parents named their Nisei son after the first president of their adopted country, George Washington (whose birthday was a day later on February 22). His parents, Tamasaburo “James” and Bun “Mary” Yuzawa, immigrated to the United States from Nagano, Japan. In 1917, James Yuzawa established the Vermont Flower Shop in downtown Los Angeles near the University of Southern California campus. He served a term as president of the Southern California Floral Association. As a young man, George was a founding member of Boy Scout Troop 64 in Los Angeles and achieved the rank of Life Scout.
Date Range: 1938 – 1969
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2011-05-20
Creator: United Automobile Workers of America, District 65
History: District Council 65 of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) began as a group of Jewish laborers working in dry goods warehouses in the Lower East Side of New York City. The union became a local of the Wholesale Dry Goods Employees Union in 1935 before affiliating with the Distributive Trades Council of New York and the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Its affiliation with the UAW began in 1979. In later years, the union’s membership grew beyond the warehouse and retail workers to include white-collar workers in publishing and universities. The union remained active until bankruptcy forced the union to close in 1994. Read more
Survey Conducted: Thu, 2010-01-28
Creator: Red Hot Organization
History: The Red Hot Organization is an international organization dedicated to fighting AIDS through pop culture. First founded as King Cole, Inc. by Leigh Blake and John Carlin in 1989, Red Hot Organization has since produced fourteen albums, related television programs and media events incorporating the talents of performers, visual artists, producers and directors to raise funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS. Read more
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2009-10-23
Creator: Mark Hall Amitin/World of Culture for the Performing Arts, Inc.
History: Mark Hall Amitin received his doctoral degree from the Universite Paris VIII in 1978. He went on to present lectures and workshops at universities in the United States, Europe, Canada, and Asia. He worked as a consultant and producer for several major theatre festivals, including the American College Theatre Festival, the Rhode Island Theatre Festival, the Festival Mondial du Theatre in Nancy, France, and the New Theatre Festival in Baltimore. He has published articles on theatre and performance in academic journals and contributed articles and reviews on film and theatre to books, magazines, and newspapers. He has also acted in, and directed, film, television, and theatre projects in the United States as well as in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.
Survey Conducted: Wed, 2008-10-01
Creator: Kishi, Yoshio (1932-2012)
History: Yoshio Kishi (1932-2012) is an award-winning New York City-based film and sound editor whose credits include such classics as Jerry Schatzberg’s “Panic in Needle Park” (1971), Alan Parker’s “Fame” (1980), Martin Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” (1980), and Wayne Wang’s “Dim Sum” (1985). For four decades, Kishi has been an avid collector of materials that trace the depiction of Asian Americans in U.S. intellectual and popular culture and of materials produced by Asian American activists to counter such stereotypical images. His compulsion for collecting Asian Americana began in the mid-1960s when, in the midst of thinking about his identity, he began to regret not knowing more about his ethnic heritage.
Survey Conducted: Wed, 2008-11-19
Creator: Kida, Emi; Kida, Isaku
History: Isaku Kida (1905-1996) immigrated to the United States from Japan in 1930 as a student of theology. Following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, he fell under the suspicion of the FBI for his growing interest in Communism. Arrested and incarcerated at Ellis Island, he was subsequently released to work as a language instructor for the Office of Strategic Services. Nearing the end of WWII, Isaku became a business manager, and later, president of The Hokubei Shimpo (renamed New York Nichibei in 1945). During its run from 1945 through 1993, the paper documented the life of New York’s postwar Japanese American community, serving not only as a place to obtain community news but also as an important outlet for Asian American writers. A range of progressive causes from civil rights to women’s and gay rights found expression within its pages. In addition, the paper regularly documented developments in the Asian American Movement born in Chinatown in the late 1960s and 1970s, the Asian American arts movement, and the redress movement of the 1970s and 1980s.
Survey Conducted: Fri, 2009-03-13
Creator: Japanese American Association of New York
History: The Japanese American Association of New York, Inc (JAA) is a nonprofit organization serving the Japanese and Japanese American community through a variety of activities, including social services, education, scholarships and cultural events. JAA was founded in 1907 as the Japanese Mutual Aid Society (Nihonjin Kyosaikai) by Dr. Toyohiko Takami. The organization’s first major project was to purchase land in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Queens in 1912 to provide a burial plot for Japanese Americans. In 1914, the organization became the Japanese Association of New York (New York Nihonjinkai), under which name it continued until World War II. The organization was dissolved during World War II but reconstituted shortly thereafter, serving largely as a relief organization. Through the American Friends Service Committee’s Licensed Agency for Relief in Asia (LARA), it sent food and clothing to Japan. As conditions in Japan improved, the organization turned its attention towards local needs, merging with the Japanese American Welfare Society in 1952 to form the Japanese American Association of New York.
Survey Conducted: Wed, 2008-10-01
Creator: Gee, Yun, 1906-1963
History: Canton-born modernist painter Yun Gee (1906-1963) immigrated to San Francisco in 1921 at the age of fifteen to join his merchant father, Gee Quong On. In 1906, Gee’s father was among the thousands of Chinese immigrants to claim US citizenship following the San Francisco earthquake that destroyed City Hall and the Hall of Records housing citizenship papers, thus enabling him to later sponsor his son to America. Read more
History: Epoxy was an Asian American artists’ collective founded in 1982. Like other alternative art movements in New York City, it was a response to the arts establishment at the time. Founded by artists originally from Hong Kong such as Bing Lee, Eric Chan, Chung Kang Lok, Jerry Kwan, Ming Fay and Kwok, membership later included artists like Zhang Hongtu and Andrew Culver who were from other countries. Read more