Nobuko Miyamoto

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Nobuko Miyamota

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Nobuko Miyamoto "is a third-generation Japanese American songwriter, dance and theater artist, and activist. She is the artistic director of Great Leap. Her work has explored ways to reclaim and decolonize our minds, bodies, histories, and communities, using the arts to create social change and solidarity across cultural borders. Her albums A Grain of Sand, with Chris Iijima and Charlie Chin, and 120,000 Stories are part of the Smithsonian Folkways catalog."

Tribute to Yuri Kochiyama

As described in an article at Yes! titled "Asian American Sisters in the Movement for Racial Liberation" dated April 12, 2021:[1]

"From internment camp to Broadway to activism, Nobuko Miyamoto steered her life toward creativity and liberation. In this excerpt from her memoir, Not Yo’ Butterfly (forthcoming, University of California Press, 2021), she describes how working on films about the Black Panthers and the Young Lords in the late 1960s led her to Yuri Kochiyama and a sanctuary for inter-racial solidarity."

Excerpt:

"Somehow Mary and Bill made the leap from the injustices of Japanese American concentration camps and landed in the middle of the civil rights and Black Power movements. Mary became a friend and follower of Malcolm X. Like many Blacks who traded their slave name for a name that reflected their African roots, she traded Mary for her Japanese name, Yuri. Yuri was in the audience the day Malcolm got shot at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. She ran onstage and protected him with her body. Yuri was no ordinary Japanese woman. Yuri was no ordinary human being."

[...]

Yuri and Bill Kochiyama’s Harlem apartment, in the projects at 545 West 126th Street, was a mecca for the movement. … Apartment 3C was not like any home I’d ever been to. It was no quiet retreat from busy New York life. It was a meeting house, a guesthouse, a drop-in center, a family hostel where you might find Black and Puerto Rican comrades, acquaintances, and strangers from anywhere in the world passing through, to eat and rest their heads for a night or two, or sometimes weeks. It was beyond comprehension how the Kochiyamas and their six children plus guests managed to live in that compact four-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment. Before long, 3C became my second home. (Later, after I moved back to LA and visited her in New York, I was among those who slept on the utilitarian postmodern couch and on every one of her children’s beds.) When you entered, the living room on the right had an ironing board that doubled as a reception table. There sat a phone and a nine-by-twelve notebook that kept a log of every visitor, every phone call, with names and meticulous notes of every conversation in her cool handwriting.
To me, apartment 3C was a movement sanctuary, a place you went to touch truth. I loved sitting in its altar of a kitchen, table layered with leaflets for upcoming rallies and walls postered with images of political prisoners—FREE THE PANTHER 21!, FREE RUCHELL MAGEE, STOP THE WAR IN VIETNAM, CHIMURENGA, ATTICA.

Asian Americans United - 28th Anniversary

Asian Americans United November 19, 2013:

Cheers and thanks to all who volunteered (Go AAU, go!), sponsored, hosted, donated, presented, emceed, deejayed, cooked, mixed sangria, performed and celebrated at AAU's memorable 28th anniversary benefit concert/dance featuring Nobuko Miyamoto with Theo Gonzalves! Intergenerational groups presented AAU's Standing Up for Justice Awards to Grayce Uyehara, John Elliott Churchville, and 1Love Movement. Emcee Kao Khue wove the program together like poetry.

Nobuko wrote and sang a new song for the first time: ”You are the ones we've been waiting for...” And all joined in singing: ”We are the ones we've been waiting for.”

...with so much gratitude for all who build communities and work for justice.

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<3 — with Eric Joselyn, Duong Nghe Ly, Matt Tae, Regina Liu Kerr, Lai Har Cheung, Srey Boss, Chi-Ser Tran, Grace Rustia, Emily P. Lawsin, Scott Kurashige, Mary Yee, Laurent Widjaya, Paul Uyehara, Alix Mariko Webb, Rorng Sorn, Senn Font, Linh Nguyen, Bryan Mercer, K. Naroen Chhin, Masaru Edmund Nakawatase, Neeta Patel, Tai Joselyn, Doua Xiong, Renyu Wu, John Elliott Churchville, Kavita Levy, Judy At Aau, Theo Gonzalves, Ana Cruz, Janeya Hisle, Ellen Somekawa, Wei Chen, Helen Gym, Sookyung Oh, Dawn Werme Pratson, Xu Lin, Betty Lui, Peter Van Do, Nobuko Miyamoto, Kao Nhia Kue, Jean Hunt, Teresa Engst, Alice Vuong and Maxine Chang.

Celebrating Grace Lee Boggs

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Brooke Anderson Photography: Stills of Our Stories & Struggles March 21,2016 ·

With Margo Okazawa-Rey, Phil Hutchings, Gwyn Kirk, Shirley Strong, Alex T. Tom, Lauren Liu, N’Tanya Lee, Nancy Vogl, Rob Yanagida, Linda Lee, Brenda Salgado, Alice Kuang, Shea Howell, Ellen Choy, Tawana Petty, Roberto E. Vargas, Kweli Tutashinda, Michelle Puckett, Nobuko Miyamoto, Le Tim Ly, Star Hawk, Grace Lee and Invincible Ill Weaver.

References

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  1. https://www.yesmagazine.org/social-justice/2021/04/12/japanese-american-racial-solidarity Asian American Sisters in the Movement for Racial Liberation (accessed November 6, 2021)