Iwataki, Miya

former director, Asian American Women's Center; Japanese American Redress activist; public health advocate





Field Value
ID 113
Title An oral history with Miya Iwataki
Date 2017-07-24
OH ID OH 5978
Citation Miya Iwataki interviewed by Abby Waldrop, July 24, 2017, Los Angeles, California, Oral History # 5978, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
Restricted false
Created At 2018-05-08 19:45:37 UTC
Location Pasadena, CA
Language English
Subjects African American → Electeds / Appointed Officials → Mervyn Dymally
Entertainment and Culture → Japanese American Culture and Identity
Asian American → Japanese American
Asian American
Historic Events → Japanese American Redress and Reparations
Asian American → Asian Women's Movement
Asian American → Asian American Women's Center (Los Angeles)
Gender and Sexuality → Women's Conference
Family → Parents
Gender and Sexuality → Gender Roles
Family → Childhood Experiences
Health, Medicine, and Awareness → Public Health
Women's Health
Health, Medicine, and Awareness → Addiction
Health, Medicine, and Awareness → Access to Health Care
Gender and Sexuality → Women's Conference → United Nations Decade for Women Convention
Historic Periods → 1960s
Historic Periods → 1970s
Ideology → Feminism
Gender and Sexuality → Feminism → Definition of
Leadership → Female versus Male Leadership
Elections → Presidential Elections → Election 2016 (Trump/Clinton)
Health, Medicine, and Awareness → Health Department
Historic Events → International Women's Day


An oral history with Miya Iwataki, an activist for Japanese American Redress and Reparations. The interview was conducted for the Women, Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage Oral History Project for California State University, Fullerton. The purpose of this interview was to gather information regarding Iwataki’s activism within the Asian Women’s Movement. Specifically, this interview details Iwataki’s cultural ancestry and family history; speaks about her mother being interned at Manzanar and her father’s involvement with the 100th 442nd Battalion; reflects on the heavy impact the interment camps had on her parents and community, which include PTSD; how her parents used over-Americanization as a shield against racism; discusses her family’s move from New York to California; reflects on her rebellious nature growing up; talks about gender roles and her parents’ education and work backgrounds; her aspirations and college experiences; her decision to leave California State University, Los Angeles, to get involved with the United Farm Workers; discusses how she longed for an Asian Movement, the desolate conditions in her community—especially among Issei and drug users—and her involvement with the Japanese American Community Services [JACS] office in 1970; talks about the history of JACS, how it was the first Asian Movement center, and the center’s philosophy of “serve the people” through community projects; talks about the triple oppression of women in her community: racism, sexism, and classism; her community’s drug epidemic in the early 70s; her involvement and experiences with the Asian Women’s Movement; living within a political collective; talks about the start of the Asian Women’s Center and the social programs it offered such as health, fostering, and education; incorporating International Women’s Day into the movement; how she was received by her community; attending a women’s health delegation in China and her exposure to Chinese women’s healthcare; her radio program at KPFK Pacifica Radio in the 1980s; her experiences at the UN Decade for Women Convention in Nairobi, Kenya; goes into detail about her involvement and experiences working towards the Japanese American Reparations and Redress, the aftermath, and how it was a life changing experience; discusses the critical sponsorship and support of local Congressman Mervyn Dymally; talks about her parent’s support for her activist work; her health advocacy and work at the Los Angeles Department of Health Services; thoughts on feminism and being a woman fighting for women’s liberation; describes her leadership style; the current state of U.S. politics; closes the interview with differences men and women lead, advice she would give a young individual wanting to get into activism, and what she is most proud of.


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File Name 5978_P03.JPG
Content Type image/jpeg
Size 1059764
Description> Miya Iwataki, 2017.
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Description> Miya Iwataki with the interviewer, 2017.