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Drawing the Line: Japanese American Art, Design & Activism in Post-War Los Angeles

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Nobuko Miyamoto

Nobuko Miyamoto (b. 1939) is a dancer and musician who found her political and artistic voice in the Asian American movement. JoAnne Nobuko Miyamoto began her career as a dancer on Broadway in Flower Drum Song and in films like West Side Story and The King and I.

After working with director Antonello Branca on Seize the Time, a radical docufiction film about the Black Panthers, and meeting activist Yuri Kochiyama, Miyamoto became deeply involved in Asian American activism. She teamed up with musician Chris Ijima, traveling the country as a part of "Chris and Jo," playing music for Asian American audiences. They recorded the album "Grain of Sand" with Charlie Chin in 1973.

She settled in Los Angeles and continued to perform music with Benny Yee in a group called Warriors of the Rainbow. In the late 1970s, Miyamoto and Yee collaborated on the first Asian American musical called Chop Suey, which followed the story of a Chinese American girl's struggle to find her voice. This was the first project of Miyamoto's multi-ethnic performing arts organization Great Leap, which was founded to promote Asian American performing arts. For more information about Great Leap, visit their website:www.greatleap.org
Photo: Nobuko Miyamoto and Chris Iijima. Courtesy of Photographic Collections, Visual Communications. © Visual Communications.

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Nobuko Miyamoto and Chris Iijima
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Nobuko Miyamoto and Chris Iijima. Courtesy of Photographic Collections, Visual Communications. © Visual Communications. Included in the Drawing the Line: Japanese American Art, Design & Activism exhibition on view at the Japanese ... More »


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