Mary Uematsu Kao

Mary Uyematsu Kao has worked at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Asian American Studies Center since 1987. She received her MA from UCLA Asian American Studies in 2007. 

Updated May 2018


identity en

Ode to Mi Madre and Other Nisei Moms

You could call this a belated birthday message to my mother, Elsie Osajima, who turned 93 this past July. We are fortunate that she is healthy, upbeat, competitive, attention-loving, easy to friend, fiercely independent, and still mobile even without a walking cane. She played tennis until she was 60, and was forced to quit because of a bone spur. I’m sure this had something to do with her good physical condition today.

I used to brag about her to people I met in the L.A. Asian American Movement back in the ’70s. She can actually be credited with ...

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Japanese Mexicans — Our Little-Known Relatives ‘South of the Border’

UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center held a book talk by Selfa A. Chew on her publication, Uprooting Community: Japanese Mexicans, World War II, and the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. She was graciously introduced by Professor Valerie Matsumoto, who grew up in these borderlands.

Given the fact that Mexico is such a close neighbor geographically, I wonder why Japanese Mexicans are not a familiar part of our awareness. As a kid in the 1950s, we used to go on family vacations to Rosarito Beach, and my dad’s fishing club used to go deep-sea fishing off the coast of Baja California ...

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Shoso Nomura—Through The Fire And Back

One hot summer afternoon back in 2008, my husband and I had just finished taking my mother to Huntington Library for her 83rd birthday. We decided to visit our old hometown Sierra Madre, where I spent most of my pre-teen years.

Even though we hadn’t planned on it, we thought by chance we might be able to meet up with Sho Nomura. Mom’s childhood friend Shag told Mom about Sho because she thought my husband John would want to talk to him. Sho was in China during World War II, and Shag knew that John was a champion ...

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