The UCLA Asian American Studies Center will celebrate the completion of the Yuji Ichioka and Emma Gee Endowment in Social Justice and Immigration Studies on Saturday, May 17, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Senshin Buddhist Temple, 1311 W. 37th St., Los Angeles.

Emma Gee and Yuji Ichioka
Emma Gee and Yuji Ichioka

The late Professor Yuji Ichioka (1936-2002) 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.” Ichioka is also remembered for his powerful testimony during the Los Angeles hearings of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians in 1981.

Emma Gee, his wife, is 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.

Ichioka and Gee were key founders of the center, and 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 $500,000 endowment will be used to support scholarship and other activities related to social justice and immigration studies.

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.

Speakers at the reception will include Gee, Professor David K. Yoo of UCLA, and representatives from the UCLA Nikkei Student Union. Music will be provided by Scott Nagatani and Keiko Kawashima of the Grateful Crane Ensemble.

Free street parking available. RSVP at or email

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