Passing It On - A Memoir By Yuki Kochiyama (2004)

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Author: Yuri Kochiyama
Editors: Marjorie Lee, Audee Kochiyama-Holman and Akemi Kochiyama-Sardinha

Paperback: $17.00
ISBN-10: 0-934052-37-9
ISBN-13: 978-0934052375

Cloth Edition: $27.00
ISBN-10: 0-934052-38-7

Product Details:
Paperback: 256 pages, 10 x 7.8 x 0.7 inches

Categories: Asian American; Asian American Movement; Autobiography/ Biography/Memoir; Civil Rights; Gender and Sexuality; Internment; Japanese; Japanese American; Race Relations; Women's Studies

Table of Contents

World War II And Internment Camps
Work And Friendship With Malcolm X & Harlem Freedom Schools
Organization Of Afro-American Unity
Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Survivors
Civil Rights In The South
Third World, Anti-Imperialist And Anti-Apartheid Struggles
Native American Sovereignty
Puerto Rican Independence
Vietnam War
Venceremos Brigade
Asian American Movement
Japanese American Redress And Reparations
Defense Of Political Prisoners
National And International Human Rights Movements
Anti-War Movements


Passing It On - A Memoir by Yuri Kochiyama is the account of Kochiyama, an extraordinary Japanese American woman who spoke out and fought shoulder-to-shoulder with African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and whites for social justice, civil rights, and prisoner and women's rights in the United States and internationally for more than half a century. A prolific writer and speaker on human rights, Kochiyama has spoken at more than 100 colleges, universities and high schools in the United States and Canada.

"This is my grandmother's memoir. It expresses the primary values and themes that have guided and directed her life, and it describes some of the struggles, movements, moments, and people that have most significantly inspired her to become the person that she is today." - Akemi Kochiyama-Sardinha.

This memoir received the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award for 2004. The award honored "authors and books that challenge ways of thinking and acting, that allow the many faces and facets of bigotry to replicate over and over again," according to Loretta J. Williams, former director of the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights.


I was born Mary Yuriko Nakahara on May 19, 1921, and raised in San Pedro, California, a predominantly white working-class neighborhood. Aside from my twin brother Peter, I also had an older brother, Arthur, whom we called "Art." My parents were Issei (first- generation Japanese) so our home life was traditional in that we spoke Japanese and ate Japanese food and were expected to behave as proper Japanese children. Outside our home, though, I was very much an "all-American" girl. As a teenager and young adult, I volunteered at the YWCA, the Girls Scouts, and the Homer Toberman Settlement House that served the Mexican community in San Pedro. I taught arts and crafts, tennis, first aide to teenagers at the Red Cross, and Sunday School at my local Presbyterian Church. The day Pearl Harbor was bombed--December 7, 1941--changed all of our lives. Every American, of whatever background, was affected. Before the war, I was seeing America with American eyes. What happened to Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor made me see the world and America with entirely new eyes -Japanese American eyes. In many ways, this marked the beginning of my political awakening and development. What follows are my memories, reflections, and beliefs about some of the major events of my life, people I have encountered, and movements I have supported and been involved in. Although I focus mainly on the many people I have encountered, befriended, and learned from since I left San Pedro, my political convictions had already taken root while growing up in my hometown. I must admit that my passion and zeal to address human and social injustices were already taking shape within me as a young girl.


"A legacy of humility and resolve, vitality and resistance, and, perhaps most important of all, hope for the future." -- Angela Davis

"Insight into social conditions and social justice for all who are oppressed." -- Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award for 2004

"Yuri Kochiyama has fashioned an extraordinary life of commitment to peace, equality, and social justice." -- Angela Davis