~Updated May 2017~
On the first floor of the Fullerton College Library is a collection of Japanese dolls donated by Anita Shepardson, a math teacher at Fullerton Union High School and Fullerton College from 1916 to 1945.
Going above and beyond for her students
RIGHT: Shepardson chaired a Fullerton International Relations council meeting in 1935, focused on commercial and cultural exchanges between California and Japan. Students from the Japanese Club that Shepardson initiated at Fullerton College helped host the dinner, wearing traditional Japanese attire and hand-painting place cards. In addition to the Consul General of Japan Tomokazu Hori (who had been feted at a banquet in Huntington Beach in April 1935), and president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce Gongora Nakamura, Seattle-born Kay Sugahara was a featured guest speaker. Sugahara was a 1932 UCLA graduate, organizer of the Nisei Festival in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, had helped establish the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in Orange County, and, in 1935, was president of the JACL in Los Angeles. He and his family were confined at Amache (Colorado) during WWII. He later built Fairfield-Maxwell Ltd., a worldwide ship-owning business. His obituary in 1988 noted he continued to work on international relationships between the U.S. and Asia, something he held in common with Shepardson. (Santa Ana Register, December 4, 1935)
An invitation to tour Japan
Fullerton College Library reports her interest and involvement with Southern California's Japanese Americans led to an invitation by the Japanese Consulate to tour Japan in 1938. Orange County's Japanese American community paid her way.
Her lamp was always lighted
Nishizu recited an excerpt from a Robert Browning poem in memory of Shepardson during his 1982 oral history, "God gives each man one light, like a lamp, then gives that lamp due measure of oil. Lamp lighted--hold high, wave wide its comforts for others to share."
RIGHT: A Japanese lantern and stones in front of Huntington Beach City Hall, a gift from Sister City Anjo, Japan. (Photo, M. Urashima, 2013) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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