Isao Fujimoto

Isao Fujimoto

Position Title
Senior Lecturer Emeritus of Asian American Studies

Please click here to learn about Dr. Isao Fujimoto's life through his obituary from the ASA Department

Research Interests

Strategies for community empowerment, rural revitalization, celebrations and symbols for building community solidarity, sustainable agriculture and appropriate technology, Japanese American history and communities, the San Joaquin Valley, Third World, Pacific Rim, Japan, and Micronesia.


Dr. Isao Fujimoto was a faculty member in Community Development and Asian American Studies. He helped started both programs as well. He was involved with community based organizations in California's Central Valley with the Central Valley Partnership for Citizenship. He helped rural, minority communities throughout the country with the Rural Development Leadership Network and with the Asian Rural Institute in Japan, training village leaders from throughout the southern hemisphere in sustainable community development. He has served on the boards of Global Exchange, Food First, The Data Center, American Friends Service Committee, California Institute for Rural Studies and Rural America. Isao also taught the "Community and Everyday Life in Japan" class for the University of Calif., Davis Summer Abroad Program in Kyoto where students meet with community activists in the Kyoto-Osaka area. Prior to joining the faculty at University of Calif., Davis, he was a United States Army correspondent in Korea and taught chemistry and English at San Jose High School in San Jose, California. He helped start up the National Center for Appropriate Technology in Butte, Montana, serving as its Associate Director. His international involvements included chairing a University of Calif., Berkeley delegation making contact with the student movement in Indonesia, leading a Cornell student team on a literacy project in Honduras, conducting field research on village development in the Philippines and advising Micronesian Occupational College in Palau, Micronesia. lsao grew up on the Yakima Indian reservation in Wapato, Washington and was an inmate of the Heart Mountain, Wyoming and Tule Lake, California concentration camps during World War II. lsao was the eldest of 13 siblings in a family that formerly farmed strawberries in the Santa Clara county communities of Madrone, Coyote and Morgan Hill. He was a graduate of University of California Berkeley, Stanford and Cornell. At the age of 89, Dr. Isao Fujimoto passed away on February 25th, 2022.