Mitsuye Yamada

Mitsuye May Yamada, acclaimed poet, essayist, educator, feminist and human rights activist, has released her newest collection of poetry, Full Circle: New and Selected Poems. 

Yamada was born in Kyushu, Japan in 1923. She grew up in Seattle, Washington. In 1942, when she was 17, her family was among 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry who were forcibly removed from their homes and relocated to concentration camps for the duration of the war. She later attended the University of Cincinnati and earned a BA from New York University and an MA from the University of Chicago. She received an Honorary Doctorate from Simmons College in Boston.

Yamada was one of the first and most vocal of Asian American women writers who wrote about the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans. She authored poetry collections, Camp Notes and Other Poems (1976) and Desert Run: Poems and Stories (1988). Now, at the age of 96, she has released her latest work, Full Circle: New and Selected Poems (2019).

With a lifelong commitment to fighting for human rights, Yamada began working with a local chapter of Amnesty International and was eventually elected to serve on the Amnesty International USA National Board of Directors where she served two terms. 

Yamada was featured in the 1981 documentary Mitsuye and Nellie: Two Asian American Woman Poets by the academy award-winning filmmakers Light-Saraf Films. She was the recipient of a MELUS award, a Vesta Award from the Los Angeles Woman’s Building, and a Jesse Bernard Wise Women Award from the Center for Women’s Policy Studies, Washington DC. She was a Women’s Day USA Honoree and has been designated a KCET Local Hero. 

UCSB Department of Asian American Studies

The Department of Asian American Studies at UCSB was the very first academic department dedicated to the study of Asian Americans at a major research university, and the first department in the United States to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian American Studies. 

The Department offers undergraduate majors the opportunity to study and understand the experiences of Asian Americans, particularly their histories, communities, and cultures. Students learn to evaluate the existing literature in Asian American Studies, to analyze a variety of data on Asian Americans, to conduct original research, and to participate in internships and social justice issues.

A minor degree, Honors program, and community studies courses are also available to students. The Department provides a well-rounded, interdisciplinary curriculum which engages approaches from traditional disciplines, including history, sociology, anthropology, and literature, as well as from interdisciplinary scholarship in women’s studies, law and society, public policy, global studies, social movements, cultural studies, and film and media studies.