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Look back at Japanese social clubs: A place for girls exploring American identity




Several members of Just Us Girls try to meet every couple months for dinner and poker night at the Pasadena home of fellow member Sumi Hughes.
Several members of Just Us Girls try to meet every couple months for dinner and poker night at the Pasadena home of fellow member Sumi Hughes.
Josie Huang/KPCC

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In the 1930s, thousands of second generation Japanese-American girls banded together through social clubs under their church or YWCAs.  

It was a way to explore their American identity, but also play sports, do community service and, unofficially, meet boys.

"I’m sure parents thought it was one way to keep an eye on their daughters and know who their friends were," said UCLA historian Valerie Matsumoto, who wrote about these clubs in her book City Girls: The Nisei Social World in Los Angeles.

These social clubs saw their peak in the late 1930s, when they numbered anywhere up to 600, Matsumoto said. But the stories of these clubs are quickly fading as members age and die, reports KPCC's Josie Huang.

Read the full story: Growing up Nisei: The social clubs of Japanese-American girls

 



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