Valerie Matsumoto

Valerie J. Matsumoto is a professor in the Department of History and the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to her book City Girls: The Nisei Social World in Los Angeles, 1920-1950, she is the author of Farming the Home Place: A Japanese American Community in California, 1919-1982 and co-edited the essay collection Over the Edge: Remapping the American West. She has received the Toshio and Doris Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Award, the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring and Teaching from the UCLA Asian American Studies Graduate Student Association. She was recently appointed to the George and Sakaye Aratani Chair on the Japanese American Incarceration, Redress, and Community.

Updated September 2018

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The Epic Lives of Taro and Mitsu Yashima

One remarkable Japanese American story is that of the epic and tragic partnership of Taro and Mitsu Yashima, an extraordinary couple of artists and freedom fighters. Together they survived years of hardship—imprisonment, exile, poverty, and illness—and made a name for themselves as authors and illustrators. Eventually they reached a point where Mitsu was unable to continue with her husband.

Taro Yashima was born Jun Atsushi Iwamatsu on September 21, 1908, the son of a doctor and art collector in the seaside town of Nejime (now part of Minami Ōsumi-cho), in Kagoshima prefecture. Yashima later recalled that his childhood ...

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