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Last Boat to Yokohama

Book Launch

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
6:30 PM–7:15 PM

A reading and Q&A in the galleries to launch the new book Last Boat to Yokohama: The Life and Legacy of Beate Sirota Gordon by Nassrine Azimi and Michel Wasserman. A book signing in the shop will follow the reading.

In 1946, a remarkable woman secretly helped create Japan’s new constitution, writing a clause which mandated equal rights for all women in Japan. Few could imagine that Article 24 was the work of a then twenty-two-year-old European-born American of Ukrainian descent who had grown up in Japan. Her name was Beate Sirota, and she remains an idol for generations of Japanese women. In America, she is responsible for introducing hundreds of previously-unknown Asian performers and artists to the
public for almost four decades. Last Boat to Yokohama includes a foreword by Beate, an in-depth look at her father, world-renowned classical pianist Leo Sirota, personal diaries from the World War II era by her mother, Augustine, a tribute from her dauther, Nicole, as well as a detailed overview of her life, the effect of Article 24 and her impact on American culture through her dedication to introducing authentic music of the Far East to American audiences.

About the Speakers

Author Nassrine Azimi, a former senior official at the United Nations, has worked and written for years on issues related to international peacekeeping and to post-conflict reconstruction. A professor at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Michel Wasserman decided to spend his life in Japan after seeing, at the age of 20, a Noh performance in an American university. Both felt deeply about the story of the Sirota family—a timeless tale of human capacity to take charge of one’s destiny, and to work for the betterment of others. The authors were fortunate in the unconditional support they received from Beate throughout the writing of this fascinating biography. She not only accorded them precious interviews in early 2012 and full access to her personal archives, but also accepted, generously, to write the
foreword to this book—now in some way her final will.

Tickets: $15

Member Price: Free