New Biography - Last Boat to Yokohama: The Life and Legacy of BEATE SIROTA GORDON by Nassrine Azimi & Michel Wasserman

Top Quote Last Boat to Yokohama recounts the life and work of Beate Sirota Gordon, an Austrian-born American performing arts presenter and women's rights advocate who part of the team who worked under Douglas MacArthur to write the Constitution of Japan after WWII. The book captures Beate's drive, talent, ambition, and influence. End Quote
  • New York, NY (1888PressRelease) April 07, 2015 - Praise for Beate Sirota Gordon and LAST BOAT TO YOKOHAMA

    "All of us have a lot to learn from Beate Gordon-a woman with the courage to match her convictions." -Yoko Ono

    "A remarkable life. . . . Fascinating." -YoYo Ma

    "Gordon's personal story will enlighten all who question the importance of women's presence in the corridors of power." -Gloria Steinem

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

    Tragedy and brilliance alternate throughout LAST BOAT TO YOKOHAMA: The Life and Legacy of Beate Sirota Gordon (Three Rooms Press Trade Paperback Original; May 12, 2015; $15.95), the fascinating biography of Beate Sirota Gordon, by Nassrine Azimi and Michel Wasserman. Beate secretly helped draft Japan's post-WWII constitution, then devoted the rest of her life to introducing hundreds of brilliant Asian performers and artists to America.

    In 1946, a remarkable woman secretly helped create Japan's new constitution, contributing a revolutionary article, which stated: "All of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin." Few could imagine that these words were the work of a then twenty-two-year-old Vienna-born, naturalized American of Ukrainian-Jewish descent who had grown up in Japan. Her name was Beate Sirota, and she remains an idol for generations of Japanese women to this day. Moreover, her remarkable early-life achievement with the constitution was followed by four decades of trailblazing cultural work, bringing authentic Asian music, dance and theatrical performers to the United States-often for the first time ever-thus bridging East and West through art.

    LAST BOAT TO YOKOHAMA offers an in-depth look at the world from which the singular Beate came, with detailed discussions of her father, the world-renowned classical pianist Leo Sirota, personal diaries from the World War II era by her mother, Augustine, as well as a penetrating review of Beate's early and later life, including never-before-published interviews between the authors and Beate. The book also examines the effect of Beate's work on the constitution, including a timely study of Article 9-the "peace treaty"-as well as Article 24-which grants women's equality. Both are undergoing intense scrutiny by Japan's current government. Additionally, the authors detail Beate's impact on American culture through her dedication to introducing authentic music of the Far East, influencing a broad range of contemporary cultural figures including David Byrne, Peter Sellars, and Robert Wilson.

    Authors Nassrine Azimi and Michel Wasserman were given unprecedented access to Beate's family and their archives. As a result, LAST BOAT TO YOKOHAMA includes a foreword by Beate written before her death in 2012, exclusive interviews with Beate about her contribution to Japan's constitution and her work with the Japan and Asia Society, a postface by her daughter, Nicole Gordon, and a moving elegy by her son, Geoffrey Gordon. Historic Sirota family photos accompany each chapter.

    Nassrine Azimi 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 throughout the world. In 2003, she established the Hiroshima Office for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), serving as its director until 2009. Azimi has written and published extensively on UN peacekeeping, post-conflict reconstruction, and environmental governance. 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.

    The Life and Legacy of Beate Sirota Gordon
    By Nassrine Azimi and Michel Wasserman
    Three Rooms Press
    Trade Paperback Original
    Biography | 168 pp. / $15.95
    978-1-941110-18-8 (trade paper) 978-1-941110-19-5 (ebook)
    Publication date: May 12, 2015

    Contact: Rachel Tarlow Gul
    Over the River Public Relations
    201.503.1321, rachel ( @ ) otrpr dot com

    For further information:
    Please contact Rachel Tarlow Gul at Over the River Public Relations:
    201-503-1321 or Rachel ( @ ) otrpr dot com

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