Last Boat to Yokohama: The Life and Legacy of Beate Sirota Gordon

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9781941110188: Last Boat to Yokohama: The Life and Legacy of Beate Sirota Gordon
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Last Boat to Yokohama tells a story of both tragedy and grandeur in the 20th century. It recounts the life and work of Beate Sirota Gordon: the influence of her father, Leo Sirota, one of the greatest pianists of his generation; her secret work ensuring women’s equality while helping to develop the post-WWII Japanese constitution at the age of 22; her broad influence on hundreds of Western artists such as Robert Wilson, David Byrne and Peter Sellars who were introduced to leading contemporary Asian music, dance, theater and visual artists through her extraordinary cross-cultural efforts. The book relives Beate's drive, talent, ambition, and influence, with intimate diary excerpts from her mother, an introduction by Beate herself, and an afterword from her daughter, Nicole.

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About the Author:

Nassrine Azimi has co-founded and now coordinates the Green Legacy Hiroshima (GLH) Initiative, a global campaign to plant seeds and saplings of trees that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima worldwide. She established the Hiroshima Office for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), in 2003. Azimi has written and published extensively on training, UN peacekeeping, post-conflict reconstruction, and environmental governance. Her op-ed pieces have appeared regularly in the international press. She lives in Hiroshima, Japan.

Michel Wasserman is the former director of the Kyoto French Cultural Institute and of a French artist in residence” program in Kyoto, the Villa Kujoyama. He is currently professor at the College of International Relations, Ritsumeikan ­University. A Paris III doctor in oriental studies, Michel Wasserman has worked and written extensively on Japanese traditional theatre, especially Kabuki, and has also published various books on the reception of western music in Japan. He lives in Kyoto, Japan.

Review:

“All of us have a lot to learn from Beate Gordon. A woman with the courage to match her convictions.” ―Yoko Ono

"The story of the life of Beate Sirota is an inspiring one, and one that continues to inspire long after she has left the room. She set an example for all individuals, regardless of gender or nationality, that one person however modest, however unprepared for history can make a difference." The Japan Times

"With a prismatic approach that includes remarks from Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, an interview with Gordon, journal entries by Gordon’s mother, and other sources, Last Boat to Yokohama: The Life and Legacy of Beate Sirota Gordon gathers respectful reflections that shed light on a specific moment in history and on one woman’s remarkable career." Foreword Reviews

"Inherently fascinating and exceptionally well written from beginning to end, "Last Boat to Yokohama: The Life and Legacy of Beate Sirota Gordon" is an impressive and highly recommended addition to community and academic library 20th Century Biography collections." Midwest Book Review

"Women’s rights activist Beate Sirota Gordon’s passion for bridging cultures is clearly evoked through this fascinating tribute to her work. . . . Nassrine Azimi and Michel Wasserman pay tribute to Beate Sirota Gordon, champion of the arts and part of the American team who developed Japan’s postwar constitution under General MacArthur. Gordon’s story highlights her sustaining belief in making human connections. Last Boat to Yokohama gathers respectful reflections that shed light on a specific moment in history and on one woman’s remarkable career.” --Foreword Reviews

A fascinating book about an extraordinary woman.” BookPleasures

"A necessary addition to myriad of books written about World War II. It is complementary to Beate Sirota Gordon’s memoir The Only Woman in the Room and deserves a place in any school, public or personal library." Anne Lee, Shojo Power

A splendid book. You must get a copy of LAST BOAT TO YOKOHAMA for yourself. I will not lend mine." Dick Cavett, talk show host, actor, writer

An important book. Every woman on both sides of the Pacific should know about Beate Sirota Gordon and what she did for the women of Japan.” Martha Burk, Ms. Magazine

An inspiring book about an inspiring woman.” Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore; and Chairperson, Water Leaders Summit

What [Beate] did as a woman in helping to create Japan’s new constitution is historic. Few women of the 20th century have had her courage and vision. Robert Wilson, experimental theater director and playwright

[Beate Gordon’s] contribution in drafting language about women's rights for the new constitution was instrumental in effecting significant cultural change.  Later, she would pursue a career in the performing arts in New York, where through her work at the Japan Society she brought the very essence of what was precious in Japanese culture and art to America. Read Last Boat to Yokohama” and be inspired by her remarkable life." Yo-Yo Ma, cellist

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