Yuji Ichioka and Emma Gee Endowed Fund in Social Justice and Immigration Studies

The Asian American Studies Center is pleased to announce that the endowment to honor the late Professor Yuji Ichioka, an esteemed historian and Center researcher, has been renamed. The efforts continue to raise funding for what would become the Yuji Ichioka and Emma Gee Endowed Chair in Social Justice and Immigration Studies. The change reflects the fact that Emma Gee, wife of Yuji Ichioka, is herself an Asian American Studies pioneer with a long association with the Center, having served as editor of the foundational text, Counterpoint: Perspectives on Asian America, and as a member of the editorial board of Amerasia Journal. Key founders of the Center, Yuji Ichioka and Emma Gee in the early years helped shape the curriculum for classes, establishing a comprehensive research agenda and linking the efforts on campus to Asian American communities.

Professor Yuji Ichioka coined the term “Asian American” during the early years of the movement and went on to become a research associate at the Center, producing such seminal historical works as the award-winning books, The Issei: The World of First Generation Japanese Immigrants, 1885-1924 and Before Internment: Essays in Prewar Japanese American History. The themes of social justice and immigration not only served as prominent areas of study for the two, but they also advocated for immigrant communities.

The Center is grateful to the many friends and supporters who have contributed, especially lead donations from the George and Sakaye Aratani Foundation of Los Angeles, the Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Foundation of San Francisco, and Dr. Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki. Dr. Terasaki is Professor Emeritus of the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine.

Although funding for the endowment is not yet complete, about 85% of the $500,000 needed has been raised. The Center currently has four endowed chair professorships and looks forward to adding another to honor Yuji Ichioka and Emma Gee.

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