Ben Kobashigawa

Ben Kobashigawa PhD

Ben Kobashigawa, PhD

Professor Ben Kobashigawa retired after 30 years of service to the department of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University.  

Emeritus Faculty Biography

  • PhD University of Edinburgh, Scotland, Sociology
  • MA University of Michigan, Economics
  • BA University of California at Los Angeles, Linguistics

Japanese American history, critical social theory, race and class, Okinawan diaspora

  • 210 History of Asians in the United States
  • 211 Contemporary Asian Americans
  • 330 Nikkei in the United States
  • 333 Japanese American Identities
  • 510 Asian Americans in California
  • 681 Asian American Community Changes and Development
  • 697 Proseminar in Asian American Studies
  • 710 Critical Approaches to Asian American Studies
  • 800 Theory and History in Asian American Studies
  • 810 Seminar: Asian American Immigration
  • 880 Selected Topics Seminar: Asian Thought in the West
  • ETHS 700: History of US People of Color
  • ETHS 710: Theories and Concepts in Ethnic Studies

1992-1996 Minkan taishi (“Goodwill Ambassador”), Okinawa Prefecture, Japan

  • Balagtasan Collective, organizer (promote social change through art)
  • Bayan-USA, Northern California Regional Coordinator  (international alliance of multi-sectoral National Democratic progressive Pilipino organizations)
  • 8th wonder, Cultural Worker, poet (Pilipino performance poetry collective)
  • Filipinos for Global Justice Not War Coalition, media liaison (anti-war coalition)
  • Gabriela Network, advocate (against sex trafficking of women and children)
  • International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS)-Northern California, Youth and Student Representative
  • Katipunan-USA organizer (humanitarian and philanthropic work with the Philippines)
  • Radical Women Bay Area, advocate (international socialist feminist organization)
  • Sisterz of the Underground member (hip hop women collective)
  • Japanese American National Library, Board of Directors and President
  • Japantown Economic Development and Social Heritage, Organizing Committee
  • San Francisco Okinawan Kenjinkai (formerly, Northern California)
  • Previous Community Involvement: International Society for Ryukyu Studies, San Francisco Japantown Task Force, Okinawa Club of America, History Committee
  • Edison Uno Institute for Nikkei and Uchinanchu Studies (EUINUS), Co-director
  • Acting Chair, American Indian Studies Department (Fall 2013)
  • Former AAS MA Program Coordinator (2006-09, Spring 2011)
  • Acting Director, Race and Resistance Studies Program (AY 2007-08, Fall 2008)


Genealogy of the Shô Lineage: The Nakayama Family Line.  Translation and notes by Ben Kobashigawa and Yoko Fukumura.  San Francisco: Kay Matsuda (private publication).


  • “Hideo, the Artist’s Life and Work.” Hideo Kobashigawa, A Retrospective: A Kibei Nisei Artist’s Life and Dream. Exhibit catalog. Okinawa.
  • Supplement to the Karl G. Yoneda Papers [catalog]. Japanese American Research Project Collection, Special Collections, University Research Library, University of California at Los Angeles. 2000 July 31.


“Demographic Analysis of the San Francisco Bay Area Nikkei Population Part I and II.”  San Francisco Japantown Planning, Preservation and Development Task Force.  May 28 (Part I) and July 12 (Part II), August 1999.


"The Case for Class: Introduction to Political Economy of Asian American Communities in the San Francisco Bay Area." Teaching Asian America:  Diversity and the Problem of Community. Ed. Lane Ryo Hirabayashi. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.


"Okinawan Issei Identity: Pride and Shame among the Early Immigrants." Reflections on the Okinawan Experience: Essays Commemorating 100 Years of Okinawan Immigration. Ed. Ronald Y. Nakasone. Fremont, CA:  Dharma Cloud Publishers.


Genealogy of the Surname “So” Family (From Kengi the Founder): The Okushima Family Line, an annotated text by Yabu Kenjirô.  Trans. with supplementary notes by Ben Kobashigawa and Yoko Fukumura. San Francisco: Miyuki Yasui (private publication).


"The Okinawan Immigrant Left in the United States Before World War Two." Contacts between Cultures, Eastern Asia: History and Social Sciences.  Vol. 4.  Queenston, Ontario:  Edwin Mellen Press.


  • History of the Okinawans in North America, by The Okinawa Club of America. Trans. with an Introduction by Ben Kobashigawa. Los Angeles: Asian American Studies Center, UCLA and The Okinawa Club of North America.
  • Karl. G. Yoneda Papers [annotated catalog]. Japanese American Research Project Collection, Special Collections, University Research Library, University of California at Los Angeles.


"On the 'History of Okinawans in America.'" Amerasia 12.2 (1985-86): 29-42.


Imin no Aiwa [Sad Tale of an Immigrant], by Kochi Shinsei. Trans. with an Introduction by Ben Kobashigawa. Los Angeles: The Okinawan Community.


with S.E. Berki. “Alternative Regression Approaches to the Analysis of Medical Care Survey Data.” Medical Care 15:5 (May 1977).


with S.E. Berki. “Socioeconomic and Need Determinants of Ambulatory Care Use: Path Analysis of the 1970 Health Interview Survey Data.” Medical Care 14:5 (May 1976).



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