Beate Sirota file photo [28478]

Beate Sirota

Given NameBeate
Born25 Oct 1923
Died30 Dec 2012
CountryAustria, United States


ww2dbaseBeate Sirota was born in Vienna, Austria in 1923 to Russian pianist Leo Sirota and Augustine Sirota (née Horenstein). In 1929, Leo Sirota became a professor at the Imperial Academy of Music (now Tokyo University of the Arts), moving his family to Tokyo, Japan. Beate Sirota attended the German School in Tokyo from 1929 to 1935, and then transferred to the American School in Tokyo when the German School curriculum was more and more influenced by Nazi philosophy and politics. She attended the American School from 1935 to 1939. She then attended Mills College in Oakland, California, United States, studying modern languages. When the Pacific War began in Dec 1941, she became cut off from her parents who remained in Japan. Upon graduation in 1943, she worked for the Office of War Information in the Foreign Broadcast Information Service of the Federal Communications Commission. In Jan 1945, she became a US citizen. After the conclusion of WW2, in Dec 1945, she became the first female American civilian to travel to post-war Japan, and became reunited with her parents who survived their internment at Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan. In Japan, she worked for the occupation administration with the Political Affairs staff, serving as a translator of Japanese, English, German, French, and Russian texts. In Feb 1946, she assisted in the drafting of the civil rights sections of the new Japanese Constitution, and played a critical role in establishing legal equality between genders in modern Japan. Her passion with this subject stemmed from her observations as an European teenager in Japan, noting that some women were treated no better than property. In 1947, she was accused of being a communist by Major General Charles Willoughby. In 1948, her family relocated to the United States. In the same year, she married Lieutenant Joseph Gordon, who had been her superior and a fellow interpretor in Japan. She was heavily involved in the arts and played an important role with the Japan Society in New York, New York, United States. She was credited with introducing many Japanese artists, along with their art forms, to the American public. In 1960, she joined the Asia Society. She retired from the Asia Society in 1991, although remaining a consultant until Jul 1993. She was honored with many awards for her involvement in art throughout her career, and in 1998 she was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure 4th Class with Gold Rays with Rosette by the government of Japan. She passed away from pancreatic cancer in New York in Dec 2012, four months after her husband.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Mar 2019

Beate Sirota Timeline

25 Oct 1923 Beate Sirota was born in Vienna, Austria.
24 Dec 1945 Beate Sirota arrived in Japan.
30 Dec 2012 Beate Sirota Gordon passed away from pancreatic cancer in New York, New York, United States.


Beate Sirota, 1947

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Beate Sirota, 1947

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