Wednesday 17th January 2018,

Bad Ass Asians

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Google Doodle Remembers the Life of Civil Rights Pioneer Yuri Kochiyama

posted by Randall
Google honors Yuri Kochiyama with a Google Doodle

Google honors Yuri Kochiyama with a Google Doodle

By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent

I woke up this morning to discover the late Asian American civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama was the top trending topic on AsAmNews.

Turns out Kochiyama is being honored with a Google Doodle to mark what would have been her 95th birthday. Anyone who conducts a search on Google today will see her image across the top of the page.

It’s great to see such a simple gesture can generate interest about a late pioneer who has gotten very little ink in our history books.

Kochiyama’s life was greatly influenced by her experience in the World War II incarceration camps. Her father was arrested as a threat to national security the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Already in poor health, he was denied medical care while in prison and died January 21, 1942, the day after his release from prison.

Kochiyama was incarcerated in Jerome, Arkansas. It was there she met her future husband, Bill Kochiyama, who fought for the United States during World War II.

The couple would eventually move to Harlem where they would join the Harlem Parents Committee and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

She would eventually meet Malcolm X and form a close bond with him.


The Unlikely Friendship between Malcolm X and a Japanese American Woman

It is Yochiyama who is seen in a Life Magazine photo holding the bloody head of Malcolm X the day he was assassinated in 1965.

Malcolm X and Yuri Kochiyama

The two struck a friendship when they met in a Brooklyn courthouse. The two met when Malcolm X attended a hearing for hundreds of mostly African American protestors arrested. Kochiyama was among those arrested. When she saw Malcolm, she requested to shake his hand and the rest is history.

Kochiyama was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

She died in 2014 at the age of 93.


Civil Rights Activist Yuri Kochiyama Dead at 93

Kochiyama reminds me of Vincent Chin, another iconic figure in Asian American history who lost his life in 1982 when two unemployed auto workers mistook him for Japanese and bashed him to death with a baseball bat. Chin is Chinese American. Despite two trials, the men responsible for his death were sentenced to just three years probation. The case became a rallying cry for Asian Americans and helped to mobilize the Asian American movement.

The movie Vincent Who, produced in 2009, revealed that most young Asian Americans today know very little about Chin.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the same could be said about Kochiyama. Hopefully today’s Google Doodle plays a role in changing that.
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One Comment

  1. James Chen says:

    RE: Google Doodle Remembers the life of civil rights pioneer Yuri Kochiyama: Yuri Kochiyama supported Mao Zedong, after the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, supported various terrorist groups including Shining Path (Peruvian terrorist group) and declared her open admiration for Osama Bin Laden. She is a sick and twisted person whose only motif seems to be blinding support of anything “anti-US”–this to the point of hoisting several mass murderers on pedestals. I’m sure if she were still alive she’d be touting ISIS.

    Its sickening that you can call yourself a writer for AsAmNews and leave this sort of information out. By glossing over this incredibly controversial, and moreover, incredibly easy to find (literally just Wiki her), information, as well as putting her in the same category of Vincent Chin, you are portraying a not-subtle image of Asian American support for a Maoist and terrorist supporter. What will someone think when they read this article and then find out for themselves what a terrible person Yuri Kochiyama actually is?

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