21 Yuri Kochiyama Quotes from American Civil Rights Activist

Yuri Kochiyama, originally Mary Yuriko Nakahara, was an American Civil Rights activist born in 1921.

Her journey into activism began during World War II, when she and her family were interned in Arkansas after President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066.

Her father, a Japanese immigrant, was arrested by the FBI after Pearl Harbor’s bombing.


This experience shaped Yuri’s views on racial injustice, drawing parallels between African American mistreatment in Jim Crow South and Japanese American internment.

In 1946, Yuri married Bill Kochiyama, a 442nd Regiment veteran and moved to New York City.

They had six children who would all become involved in various liberation and anti-war movements.

Related: Fred Korematsu Quotes from American Civil Rights Activist and Claudette Colvin Quotes from Civil Rights Activist

In the 1960s, living in Harlem, the Kochiyamas hosted many civil rights activists in their home.

Yuri’s friendship with Malcolm X significantly influenced her political activism.

She worked tirelessly for political prisoners’ rights worldwide and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Yuri Kochiyama passed away in 2014, leaving a significant legacy in the struggle against racial injustice.

Reference: YURI KOCHIYAMA (1921-2014)

Best Yuri Kochiyama Quotes


The movement is contagious, and the people in it are the ones who pass on the spirit. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.


Our ultimate objective in learning about anything is to try to create and develop a more just society. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.


Don’t become too narrow. Live fully. Meet all kinds of people. You’ll learn something from everyone. Follow what you feel in your heart. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.


I don’t think there will ever be a time when people will stop wanting to bring about change. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.


The most important thing today is to stop US wars. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.

When you’re in a black group, you have to keep in mind you’re not black. You just have to be sensitive. We have to be appreciative that the black nationalist struggle is a nationalist struggle. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.


We are all part of one another. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.

I lived in San Pedro, California, which is, you know, on the west side of California, and it’s where many, many Japanese lived. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.

I tell you, in this country, you don’t get much of an education. Throughout high school, through junior college, which is all I went, I didn’t know anything about the annihilation of all the Indian nations that were here. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.

Famous Yuri Kochiyama Quotes

I thought maybe this was the way we could show love for our country, and we should not make too much fuss or noise, we should abide by what they asked of us. I’m a totally different person now than I was back then. I was naive about so many things. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.

Remembering what happened, not to my happened to my father, but to Japanese as a whole, I see similar things that happened to other ethnics. Years later, I would see that these kind of things happened to others all along, all the time, especially to blacks. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.

People have a right to violence, to rebel, to fight back. And given what the United States Government and Western powers have done to the third world, I feel that these countries should fight back. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.

Political philosophy is not just something you obtain, it’s something that you develop through your lifetime. And of course, as different events happen to you and different people you meet and writings that you read, your philosophy is going to change. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.

Unless we know ourselves and our history, and other people and their history, there is really no way that we can really have positive kind of interaction where there is real understanding. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.

My priority would be to fight against polarization. Because this whole society is so polarized. I think there are so many issues that all people of color should come together on, and there are forces in this country who want this polarization to take place. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.


Remember that consciousness is power. Tomorrow’s world is yours to build. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.

Top Yuri Kochiyama Quotes

Life is not what you alone make it. Life is the input of everyone who touched your life and every experience that entered it. We are all part of one another. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.

I didn’t wake up and decide to become an activist. But you couldn’t help notice the inequities, the injustices. It was all around you. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.

The United States of America is a nation where people are not united because of those three glaring frailties: racism, injustices and inequalities. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.

So, transform yourself first… Because you are young and have dreams and want to do something meaningful, that in itself, makes you our future and our hope. Keep expanding your horizon, decolonize your mind, and cross borders. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.


Projects meant living with blacks and Puerto Ricans, but that’s what we wanted. Living in the projects, we’ve met so many wonderful, wonderful people. ~ Yuri Kochiyama.

So these were the 21 top quotes about Yuri Kochiyama.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Ann Richards quotes and Jason Reynolds quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar