GARDENA — The Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute (GVJCI) and the Bridge: JCI Heritage Center will host Professor Valerie Matsumoto as she presents her new book “City Girls: the Nisei Social World in Los Angeles 1920-1950.”
This book reception and signing will take place in the GVJCI Nisei Veterans Hall on Saturday, Sept. 13, from 2 to 4 p.m. Matsumoto is a professor in the Department of History and Department of Asian American Studies at UCLA.
During the 1920s and 1930s, organizations for young Nisei women flourished in Los Angeles, then home to the largest Japanese American population. In clubs with names such as the Junior Misses and Tartanettes, young women gained leadership training, took part in community service, found jobs, and enjoyed beach outings and parties.
As cultural mediators and ethnic representatives, these urban teenagers bridged the cultures of the Japanese American community and mainstream society, whether introducing new foods, holidays, and rituals into the home or dancing in kimono at civic events. Women’s organizing skills and work would prove critical to the support of their families during World War II incarceration and community rebuilding in the difficult years of resettlement.
By bringing to life a dynamic and long-lasting world of friendship circles and clubs, “City Girls” highlights the ways in which urban Nisei daughters claimed modern femininity, an American identity, and public space from the Jazz Age through the postwar era.
This program is free and open to the public. The GVJCI is located at 1964 W. 162nd St. in Gardena. For more information, call (310) 3