Kaya Sugiyama Memorial Endowment

Sugiyama, Kaya Memorial Endowment

Shortly before she passed in 2010, Kaya Ruth Sugiyama created this special endowment housed in the Cultural Heritage Center at the King Library to expand the Asian-American Studies Center Collection and the Chicano Studies Center Collection in the areas of music and arts, the internment, oral history, and immigration studies. Kaya was an art and music teacher who founded the Younghaven Studio in 1949 in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood. The studio taught a holistic music and arts program with Kaya as its public voice. She led the studio's Younghaven Troubadours and directed many of their performances during the Christmas season and at the annual Japantown Cherry Blossom festival in San Francisco. Students who learned and worked with Kaya affectionately called her "Ms. Kay." The studio closed in 1984 and Kaya began to volunteer her time with the Kimochi Japanese Senior Center and as a docent with the Asian Art Museum. In 2010, she received an honorary baccalaureate from San Francisco State University years after her studies were interrupted by World War II. She also received a teaching degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her passion for life-long learning and teaching continued throughout her life. In 2008, Kaya began working on a history project with Dr. Julia Curry Rodríguez at San José State University to build an archive that commemorates her parents and her life as a Nisei woman. She chose San José State University above other universities in the area because, as she described, San Jose is “manna from heaven” with its welcoming warmth.

Donor(s): The Estate of Kaya R. Sugiyama and Friends