- December 8, 1978
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open to the public.
Biographical / Historical
Beate Sirota Gordon, (October 25,1923 – December 30, 2012) was born in Vienna, Austria and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She moved to Japan when her father, a famous pianist was offered a job as a professor. She went to German and American School in Tokyo until she moved to the United States to attend Mills College in 1939. The war separated her and her parents, who were still in Japan, so after the war she returned to Japan to reconnect with her parents. Gordon was the first civilian woman in occupied Japan and worked with the Political Affairs office under MacArthur as a translator. She was later recruited to assist with the drafting of the new Japanese Constitution, and is largely responsible for, with the help of others, the sections of the Constitution relating to women’s rights and equality (Articles 14 and 24). When she returned to the United States in 1948, she married Joseph Gordon who had also worked in Japan during the occupation. She went on to continue her passion with the performing arts at various institutions. Gordon passed away in New York in 2012, but remains a popular figure in Japan for her work for equal rights.