Asian American Artists in California Symposium, Panel 1



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UCLA Asian American Studies Center
The UCLA Asian American Studies Center was established during the 1969-1970 academic year as a result of faculty, student, alumni, and community advocacy. "The Center," the founding steering committee wrote in its proposal to the UCLA administration in 1969, "will hopefully enrich the experience of the entire university by contributing to an understanding of the long neglected history, rich cultural heritage, and present position of Asian Americans in our society."

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Asian American Art: A History 1850-1970
Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970 is the first comprehensive study of the lives and artistic production of artists of Asian ancestry active in the United States before 1970. The publication features original essays by ten leading scholars, biographies of more than 150 artists, and over 400 reproductions of artwork, ephemera, and images of the artists.

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Don T. Nakanishi
DON T. NAKANISHI, Ph.D., is the Director and Professor of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, the largest and most renowned research and teaching institute in Asian American Studies in the nation. He has served as Director since 1990, and has provided leadership and vision for the national development of the fields of Asian American Studies and Race and Ethnic Relations Scholarship for nearly forty years.

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Valerie Matsumoto
Dr. Matsumoto is associate professor in History and Asian American Studies at UCLA, and a contributer to Asian American Art and History, 1850-1970. She's also just completed a study of Japanese American women in Los Angeles from the Jazz Age to resettlement after WWII.

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Asian American Art Project
Directed by Stanford Professor Gordon H. Chang and Professor Mark Dean Johnson of San Francisco State University, the Asian American Art Project at Stanford is the most comprehensive study and interpretation ever undertaken of the history of visual art produced by individuals of Asian ancestry in the United States from the mid-19th century to 1970. Fully collaborative in structure, the project involves scholars from fields including American History, Asian American Studies, Art History, East Asian Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Women's Studies.

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De Young Museum: Asian American Modern Art
Asian | American | Modern Art: Shifting Currents, 1900–1970 presents the work of artists of Asian ancestry who lived and worked in the United States. This exhibition represents the first comprehensive survey of these artists, and seeks to advance awareness of this under-represented group in American art history. Their art reflects the currents of identity and style that shift between aesthetics of diverse international geographies. This exhibition is rich in variety and demonstrates the wealth of Asian American art using masterpieces spanning seventy years.

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Karin Higa
Karin earned a B.A. from Columbia University and an M.A. from UCLA, both in art history. As the senior curator of art at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, she curated a number of exhibitions including "George Nakashima: Nature, Form & Spirit," "The View from Within: Japanese American Art from the Internment Camps, 1942-1945," and the national traveling exhibition "One Way or Another: Asian American Art Now," which was co-curated with the Asia Society, New York.

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Japanese American National Museum
The Japanese American National Museum opened its doors in 1992. The museum is located in the Little Tokyo area near downtown Los Angeles, California. It is devoted to preserving the history and culture of Japanese Americans. The museum is home to a moving image archive, which contains over 100,000 feet of 16 mm and 8 mm home movies of Japanese Americans from the 1920s to the 1950s. The museum also contains artifacts, textiles, art, photographs, and oral histories of Japanese Americans.

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Living Flowers
“Living Flowers: Ikebana and Contemporary Art” is a smart new exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Los Angeles. The show presents examples of ikebana, the traditional Japanese art of flower arranging, alongside works of contemporary art. There are pieces of the latter by established artists like Robert Mapplethorpe, James Welling, Laura Owens and Manfred Pernice, as well as by emerging talents like Andy Ouchi and Anna Sew Hoy, among others.

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Little Tokyo
Little Tokyo, also known as Little Tokyo Historic District, is an ethnic Japanese American district in downtown Los Angeles and one of only three official Japantowns in the United States. Founded around the beginning of the 20th century, the area, sometimes called Lil' Tokyo, J-Town, 小東京 (Shō-tōkyō), is the cultural center for Japanese Americans in Southern California. It was declared a National Historic Landmark District in 1995.

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Gordon Chang
Gordon Chang has been working on two edited volumes that will appear in the spring 2006. One of the volumes is a collection of the last work of Yuji Ichioka, the pioneer historian of Japanese Americans who died a few years ago. Gordon has also been collaborating with two other historians on a book called "Chinese American Voices," which presents the words of Chinese Americans from the mid-19th century to the recent past. Many of the personal narratives included in the book appear in print for the first time and offer unique insights into Chinese American experiences.

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Chinese American Voices: From the Gold Rush to the Present
Described by others as quaint and exotic, or as depraved and threatening, and, more recently, as successful and exemplary, the Chinese in America have rarely been asked to describe themselves in their own words. This superb anthology, a diverse and illuminating collection of primary documents and stories by Chinese Americans, provides an intimate and textured history of the Chinese in America from their arrival during the California Gold Rush to the present.

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Archives of American Art
The Archives of American Art is the world's largest collection of records documenting the history of the visual arts in the United States. More than 10 million items of original material are housed in the archives in Washington, D.C

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Chinatown, San Francisco
San Francisco Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia as well as the oldest Chinatown in North America. It is one of the top tourist attractions in San Francisco. You can use this site to learn more about the attractions, culture, history, and events in Chinatown. If you plan to visit us, you can book a Chinatown Tour, hotel rooms, and more. Upcoming event s of interest include 2009 OCA National Convention, 2009 Miss Asian America Pagaent, and the Moon Festival.

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Online Archive of California
The Online Archive of California (OAC) provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 150 contributing institutions including libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California and collections maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses.

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Anti-Chinese Legislation
From their arrival during the Gold Rush, the Chinese experienced discrimination and often overt racism, and finally exclusion. Action often in the form of Legislation was used against Chinese immigrants and started as early as the 1850 foreign Miners' License Tax law. In 1854 was the California State Supreme Court categorizing Chinese with Blacks and Indians, and denying them there right to testify against white men in courts of law. During the 1870s, an economic downturn resulted in serious unemployment problems, and led to more heightened outcries against Asian immigrants.

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San Francisco Art Institute
Founded in 1871, the San Francisco Art Institute is one of the U.S.’s oldest and most prestigious schools of higher education in contemporary art. It boasts an illustrious list of alumni in all of its areas of focus. But most important, it has consistently held fast to its core philosophy of creating programs where creativity and critical thinking are fostered in one of the most open, innovative, and interdisciplinary environments in higher education. At SFAI we focus on educating artists who will become the creative leaders of their generation.

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Diego Rivera Mural at SFAI
The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City ("Making a Fresco")(1931) is one of four murals in the Bay Area painted by Mexican artist Diego Rivera (1886-1957).

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Takeo Edward Terada
Terada immigrated to California in 1922. After graduating from Chico High School, he studied briefly at UC Berkeley. He then studied with Otis Oldfield at the CSFA until 1932. In 1934 he was one of 26 artists selected to paint frescoes in Coit Tower. He returned to Japan in 1935 and settled in Tokyo. Terada continued painting, teaching, writing, and was a leading force in the Japanese art world. In 1984 one of his paintings won the Emperor's Award. He died in Tokyo in 1993.

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Works Progress Administration
On May 6, 1935, the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) was created to help provide economic relief to the citizens of the United States who were suffering through the Great Depression. The artistic community had already become inspired during the 1920s and '30s by the revitalization of the Italian Renaissance fresco style by the inspired creations of Mexican muralists Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueriros. Certain visionary U.S. politicians decided to combine the creativity of the new art movements with the values of the American people.

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Otis Institute of Art and Design
In 1918, General Harrison Gray Otis, the founder and publisher of the Los Angeles Times, bequeathed his home to the city for "the advancement of the arts." For almost eighty years, Otis remained at this downtown location. In 1997, the College moved to the Elaine and Bram Goldsmith Campus on the West side. From Spanish-Moorish mansion to seven-story cube, Otis has evolved. Designed by architect Eliot Noyes for IBM, the 115,000 square-foot Ahmanson Hall was renovated in 1997, using the concept of an artist's loft or a working studio rather than that of a traditional classroom.

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Keye Luk
Keye Luke (traditional Chinese: 陸錫麟, Cantonese: Luk Sek Lam, Pinyin: Lù Xílín; June 18, 1904 – January 12, 1991) was a Chinese-born American actor.

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Legion of Honor
The Legion of Honor, San Francisco's most beautiful museum, displays an impressive collection of 4,000 years of ancient and European art in an unforgettable setting overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Noriko Yamamoto
Noriko Yamamoto''s familly moved to Tokyo soon after she was born, resided in Honolulu between 1935 and 1941, and returned to Tokyo in 1941. Her initial art training in calligraphy was given by her father. An interest in oil painting began when she moved to Honolullu, and her serious art studies commenced at California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC) in 1952, continuing through 1957.

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The Whitney Biennial
The Whitney Biennial is a biennial exhibition of contemporary American[1] art, typically by young and lesser known artists, on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, USA. The event began as an annual exhibition in 1932. The Whitney show is generally regarded as one of the leading shows in the art world, often setting or leading trends in contemporary art.

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Japanese Internment Camps
On February 19, 1942, soon after the beginning of World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. The evacuation order commenced the round-up of 120,000 Americans of Japanese heritage to one of 10 internment camps—officially called "relocation centers"—in California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, and Arkansas

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The Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge started on December 16th 1944. Hitler had convinced himself that the alliance between Britain, France and America in the western sector of Europe was not strong and that a major attack and defeat would break up the alliance. Therefore, he ordered a massive attack against what were primarily American forces. The attack is strictly known as the Ardennes Offensive but because the initial attack by the Germans created a bulge in the Allied front line, it has become more commonly known as the Battle of the Bulge.

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Adrienne Rich
Adrienne Rich was born on May 16, 1929 in Baltimore, Maryland. She attended Radcliffe College, graduating in 1951, and was selected by W.H. Auden for the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize for A Change of World that same year.

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Margo Machida
Margo Machida is Associate Professor of Art History and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from SUNY Buffalo. A scholar, independent curator, and cultural critic specializing in Asian American art and visual culture, her most recent book is the forthcoming Unsettled Visions: Contemporary Asian American Artists and the Social Imaginary (Duke University Press, January 2009).

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Mary Tape
Mary Tape was a biracial Chinese American woman who believed that her daughter, Mamie, should have the same access to education as white children in San Francisco. In particular, Mary Tape wanted her daughter to be able to attend public school. When the local school principal, Jennie Hurley, stood in the schoolhouse door to bar Mamie’s entrance on the sole grounds that she was Chinese, Mary Tape took Jennie Hurley to court.

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Yasushi Tanaka
Yasushi Tanaka was born May 13, 1886 in Saitana, Japan. In 1904 he moved to Seattle, Washington. After graduating high school in Seattle he studied at the Seattle Fine Art Association and exhibited and taught there from 1901 to 1920. His first exhibition was at the Washington Museum in Seattle in 1912. In Seattle, in 1914, he had his first one-man show where he exhibited cubist and futurist-influenced works.

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Frank Matsura
Frank S. Matsura came to the United States from Japan in 1905, settling briefly in Seattle before crossing the Cascades to take a job at the Elliot Hotel at Conconully, Washington, as a handyman. Little is known about his life in Japan. He may have served in the Japanese army, perhaps during the Japanese-Russian War, as a professional comedian. In 1907 he moved to Okanogan, Washington, and set up a photography, studio which he conducted until his death in 1913 from tuberculosis at the age of 32. Judge William C.

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Edward Curtis
Beginning in 1900 and continuing over the next thirty years, Edward Sheriff Curtis, or the "Shadow Catcher" as he was later called by some of the tribes, took over 40,000 images and recorded rare ethnographic information from over eighty American Indian tribal groups, ranging from the Eskimo or Inuit people of the far north to the Hopi people of the Southwest. He captured the likeness of many important and well-known Indian people of that time, including Geronimo, Chief Joseph, Red Cloud, Medicine Crow and others.

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Chiura Obata
Chiura Obata (Nov. 18, 1885 - 1975) was a well-known Japanese-American artist. He came to the United States in 1903, at age 18. After initially working as an illustrator and commercial decorator, he had a successful career as a painter, following a 1927 summer spent in the Sierra Nevada, and was a faculty member in the Art Department at the University of California at Berkeley from 1932 to 1953, interrupted by World War II, when he spent over a year in internment camps. After his retirement, he continued to paint and to lead group tours to Japan to see gardens and art

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The Butterfly Dream
Once Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Zhuangzi. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuangzi. But he didn't know if he was Zhuangzi who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuangzi. Between Zhuangzi and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things. (2, tr. Burton Watson 1968:49)

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Dong Kingman
Dong Kingman, whose watercolor paintings enrich the collections of over 50 museums and institutions in the United States, is recognized as one of America’s premier watercolor masters. Recipient of virtually every major award in this medium, the artist was honored in 2001/2002 with a highly successful exhibition, “Dong Kingman: American Master,” spanning seven decades of Kingman’s artistic career.

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Tokio Ueyama
Born in Wakayama, Japan on Sept. 22, 1890. Ueyama studied in Tokyo and continued in San Francisco at the Institute of Art (1909-10) and at the PAFA. By 1922 he had moved to Los Angeles and in the 1930s lived for a few years in San Francisco. After returning to Los Angeles, he established a gift shop called Bun-Ka Do in Little Tokyo. Ueyama died in Los Angeles on July 12, 1954.

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Toyo Miyatake
Toyo Miyatake (1895-1979) was a leading figure in the Los Angeles Little Tokyo area and a noted photographic artist. He was born in Kagawa, Japan and immigrated to the United States in 1909 to join his father. At age 21 he took up the study of photography. In 1923 Miyatake purchased the Toyo Photo Studio, which coincidentally bore his own name. He became an established photographer, associating with photographers such as Edward Weston and winning prizes in exhibitions including the 1926 London International Photography Exhibition.

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Manzanar Internment Camp
A black spot in America's history, Manzanar was the result of rampant xenophobia and the signature of Franklin Delano Roosevelt on Executive Order 9066 on was February 19, 1942. By June 1, 1942, the War Relocation Authority took control of a hastily built Manzanar and 11,061 resident aliens and U.S. citizens were processed and incarcerated behind strands of barbed wire and eight guard posts

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Japanese Aesthetics
The explicit formulation of an aesthetics in the Western sense only started in Japan a little over two hundred years ago. But, by the Japanese aesthetic we tend to mean, not this modern study, but a set of ancient ideals that include wabi (transient and stark beauty), sabi (the beauty of natural patina and aging), and yûgen (profound grace and subtlety)[1] . These ideals, and others, underpin much of Japanese cultural and aesthetic norms on what is considered tasteful or beautiful.

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Michio Ito
Ito studied traditional dance in Japan before moving to Paris in 1911. At the beginning of the World War, he moved to Britain and became acquainted with Ezra Pound and William Butler Yeats. In 1915, Ito choreographed an interpretation of Yeats's “At the Hawk's Well.” The following year, he moved to the U.S. and choreographed Broadway revues and experimental dance pieces for the Washington Square Players and the Habima Players. During this period, Ito divided his time between New York and Hollywood, where he choreographed films such as Madame Butterfly (1933) and Booloo (1938).

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Yeat's At the Hawk's Well
At the Hawk's Well is a one act play by William Butler Yeats, first performed in 1916 and published in 1917. It is one of five plays by Yeats which are loosely based on the stories of Cuchulain[1] the mythological hero of ancient Ulster. It was the first play written in English that utilised many of the features of the Japanese Noh Theatre.

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Japanese Noh Drama
Noh drama is the oldest surviving form of Japanese theater. It combines music, dance, and acting to communicate Buddhist themes. Often the plot of a Noh play recreates famous scenes from well-known works of Japanese literature such as The Tale of Genji or The Tale of the Heike. The typical Noh play is not a dramatic reenactment of an event but its retelling.

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Isamu Noguchi
Isamu Noguchi was a sculptor, designer, architect, and craftsman. Throughout his life he struggled to see, alter, and recreate his natural surroundings. His gardens and fountains were transformations meant to bring out the beauty their locations had always possessed. His large abstract stone sculptures were both majestic and personal. He believed that through sculpture and architecture, one could better understand the struggle with nature. It is that search for understanding which brings together his many and varied works.

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Benji Okubo
Born and raised in Riverside, California in 1904, Benji Okubo learned landscape design from his father and an appreciation of art from his mother, an accomplished calligrapher. In 1928, he moved to Los Angeles to attend the Otis Art Institute where he won first prize in the California Botanical Gardens poster contest, among other honors. While at Otis, Okubo began attending the Los Angeles Art Students League, where he became a student and later a colleague of Stanton MacDonald-Wright.

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Stanton MacDonald Wright
Stanton MacDonald-Wright (July 8, 1890 – August 22, 1973), was a U.S. abstract painter. One of his significant achievements was co-founding the Synchromist movement in 1913

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Hideo Date
Born in Osaka, Japan, Date immigrated to California in 1923. After graduating from high school he enrolled at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, but left after a year to pursue the study of traditional brush painting in Japan. Date returned to Los Angeles where he spent the 1930s immersed in the burgeoning Los Angeles art scene. Influenced by artist and teacher Stanton MacDonald-Wright, Date was also a part of the Independents, a group of L.A.-based artists who rejected the tenets of modernism.

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The Art Student's League
Founded in 1875, the Art Students League has been instrumental in shaping America's legacy in the fine arts. Many renowned artists - Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, and Norman Rockwell among them - have honed their skills at the League, which is dedicated to sustaining the great tradition of training artists

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Tyrus Wong
Tyrus Wong (Chinese: 黃齊耀; born 1910 in Taishan, Guangdong, China) is a painter, muralist, ceramicist, lithographer, designer and kite maker. As film production illustrator in the film industry, Wong has worked for Disney and Warner Bros.. Wong's most famous work was for the Disney animated classic, Bambi. Wong lives in Sunland, California.

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On Gold Mountain by Lisa See
When she was a girl, Lisa See spent summers in the cool, dark recesses of her family's antiques store in Los Angeles Chinatown. There, her grandmother and great-aunt told her intriguing, colorful stories about their family's past- stories of missionaries, concubines, tong wars, glamorous nightclubs, and the determined struggle to triumph over racist laws and discrimination.

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From the Chinese photographers of the gold rush to contemporary video artists, men and women of Asian descent have produced a rich, diverse body of artwork. Examining the lives and work of artists past and present offers insights into issues of cultural hybridity, race, social climate, and transnationalism. This symposium celebrates the publication of Asian American Art: A History, 1850–1970 and is one of the events commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and other ethnic studies centers at UCLA. The first panel, on the history of long-neglected artists includes Sharon Spain, associate director of the Asian American Art Project; Mark Johnson, professor of art at San Francisco State University and curator of Asian/American/Modern Art: Shifting Currents, 1900–1970 at the de Young Museum; Karin Higa, adjunct senior curator of art at the Japanese American National Museum; and Gordon Chang, professor of history at Stanford University. Moderated by Valerie J. Matsumoto, associate professor in history and Asian American Studies at UCLA.

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