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June 12, 2011 / dragonly76

Welcome to a blog inspired by Yuri Kochiyama!


This blog features articles, videos, songs, and other information about Yuri Kochiyama.

She has inspired hundreds of thousands of people in her lifetime. This blog is a reflection of her contributions and work throughout the years.

Yuri Kochiyama (born May 19, 1921 – died June 1, 2014) is a Japanese American human rights activist.

Kochiyama was born Mary Yuriko Nakahara in San Pedro, California. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Kochiyama’s father was imprisoned the same day. Her family, sent to the Jerome War Relocation Center in Jerome, Arkansas, were among the 120,000 Japanese Americans interned during the Second World War. Two of her brothers joined the U.S. Army.

In 1960, Kochiyama and her husband Bill moved to Harlem in New York City and joined the Harlem Parents Committee. She became acquainted with Malcolm X and was a member of his Organization of Afro-American Unity, following his departure from the Nation of Islam. She was present at his assassination on February 21, 1965 at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, and held him in her arms as he laid dying.

In 1977, Kochiyama joined the group of Puerto Ricans that took over the Statue of Liberty to draw attention to the struggle for Puerto Rican independence.

Over the years, Kochiyama has dedicated herself to various causes, such as the rights of political prisoners, freeing Mumia Abu-Jamal, nuclear disarmament, and reparations to Japanese Americans who were interned during the war.

In 2005, Kochiyama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize through the “1,000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005” project.

[edit] Media

  • Kochiyama is the subject of a documentary film in conversation with Angela Davis called Mountains That Take Wing (2009) by C.A. Griffith & L.T. Quan.[1]
  • Kochiyama appeared as herself in the TV movie Death of a Prophet — The Last Days of Malcolm X in 1981.
  • Kochiyama was the subject of the documentary film, Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice (1999), from Japanese American filmmaker Rea Tajiri, and ( African American) filmmaker Pat Saunders.
  • She and her husband, Bill Kochiyama, were featured in the documentary, My America…or Honk if You Love Buddha by the Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña.
  • She is the subject of a play, Yuri and Malcolm X, by Japanese American playwright, Tim Toyama.
  • She is the subject of the play Bits of Paradise by Marlan Warren (showcased at The Marsh Theater, San Francisco, 2008), as well as a documentary currently in production, Bits of Paradise: Missives of Hope which focuses on the letter-writing campaign led by Kochiyama during her internment (Producer: Marlan Warren).
  • Kochiyama’s speeches were published in Discover Your Mission: Selected Speeches & Writings of Yuri Kochiyama (1998), by Russell Muranaka.
  • Kochiyama is mentioned in the Blue Scholars’ album Bayani on the title track and has a track titled in her honor in their 2011 album Cinemetropolis

[edit] External links