SF State receives landmark gift to establish Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Distinguished Endowed Chair in Nikkei Studies

Left to right: SF State Asian American Studies Chair Wesley Ueunten, donor Masako Takahashi and SF State Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Amy Sueyoshi—all of whom have Japanese ancestry—sign the gift agreement.

SF State establishes Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Distinguished Endowed Chair in Nikkei Studies with landmark gift

San Francisco State University has received a $4.2 million gift from the Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation, of which $4M is an endowed gift to establish the Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Distinguished Chair in Nikkei Studies. This faculty position is the first endowed chair in the University’s College of Ethnic Studies. It is also the first in the Asian American Studies department, which is the oldest and largest in the country, and is at the forefront of curriculum development used by schools and universities nationwide.

Nikkei Studies centers the history, culture and experiences of the global Japanese diaspora and its intersectional communities. The new distinguished endowed chair will focus on increasing awareness, understanding and appreciation of the historical and contemporary experiences of Japanese Americans and the worldwide Nikkei diaspora.

“With this new role, San Francisco State can play a critical part in promoting and advancing the field of Nikkei Studies,” SF State College of Ethnic Studies Dean Grace Yoo said. “We are deeply grateful for the Foundation’s generosity and for trusting San Francisco State to establish this important position for the University and broader community.”

The Takahashi Distinguished Endowed Chair in Nikkei Studies will join the SF State faculty in 2025 and will:

  • Collaborate and exchange ideas with national and international scholars in Nikkei Studies
  • Lead the development of curricula and resources for teaching Nikkei Studies at the University and K-12 school levels nationwide
  • Further frameworks of social justice and self-determination in advancing Nikkei Studies
  • Promote Nikkei Studies on campus and engage with the Nikkei community in the Bay Area and beyond

“One major aspect of this position is focusing on strengthening the relationship between the University and community,” SF State Professor and Chair of Asian American Studies Wesley Ueunten said. “We want to ensure people within and outside our campus community have opportunities to engage with and learn about Nikkei Studies.”

Masako Takahashi, a San Franciso-based artist born in Utah’s Topaz Concentration Camp during World War II, is the president of the Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation. The Foundation, established in 1986 by her parents Henri and Tomoye Takahashi and Tomoye’s sister, Martha Masako Suzuki, is a philanthropic leader in the Japanese American community and in fostering friendly relations with Japan through cultural and educational projects.

“When I attended the University’s last Alumni Hall of Fame celebration and heard the honorees speak, it was clear to me that SF State and its graduates show a deep commitment to supporting minorities and the marginalized,” Masako Takahashi said. “It made me feel our funding could support a good place, a place for good.”

For more information about donating to the College of Ethnic Studies, contact:

Alex Sánchez ( He/Him/His )
Executive Director of Development
College of Ethnic Studies
(415) 338-1032