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AIS 102: Introduction to Asian American Studies: Library Guides

Supplementary resource guide for Special Collections and Archives assignment for AIS 102.

AIS 102

Information on your assignment

Your assignment is to locate Asian American entertainment in Las Vegas by conducting research in UNLV's Special Collections and Archives to understand how Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have been a vital part of Las Vegas' entertainment scene historically and in the contemporary moment. This guide includes links to specific collections and resources that include AAPI entertainers.

Your final paper will provide a space for you to reflect upon your research in Special Collections and Archives, locate Asian America beyond dominant understandings, and discuss in relation to issues and topics covered in AIS 102. 

Primary source collections

Here is a list of some of the shows and entertainers you may do research on in Special Collections and Archives.

Flower Drum Song

Holiday in Japan

Geisha Rella

China Doll Revue

Kim Sisters

Gia Mo

MS-00328 Dunes Hotel and Casino Records (Box 9, Folder 9)


MS-00328 Dunes Hotel and Casino Records (Box 8, Folder 12)

Secondary sources

Fabulous Las Vegas Magazine, 1955

Follow Me to Las Vegas Magazine, 1966-1967

Tomiyasu family

Tomiyasu Family

The Tomiyasu farming and ranching business began in 1914 after Yonema “Bill” Tomiyasu bought forty acres of land in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tomiyasu migrated from Japan to California in 1898 and promptly began farming. He relocated to Las Vegas because of a California law that restricted immigrants from owning land for agricultural purposes. Tomiyasu originally grew  alfalfa due to how well it grows in dry climates. Within a few years, Tomiyasu became proficient in  farming the dry soil, becoming the lead supplier of melons, peppers, brussel sprouts, lettuce, cabbage, onions, carrots, radishes, and beets for Las Vegas stores and restaurants.

Tomiyasu married his wife, Toyono, in the late 1910s and they had two boys, Nanyu and Kiyo, and two girls, Uwamie and Mamie, “Mimi.” Throughout the 1920s the Tomiyasu business expanded, and became the largest produce supplier for Hoover Dam workers.  During those years, the Six Companies Inc. operated a store near the Hoover Dam project in Boulder City, Nevada, which the Tomiyasu farm regularly supplied with fruits and vegetables. Tomiyasu eventually purchased an additional 120 acres for farming and ranching in the 1930s. In addition to farming, the Tomiyasu family raised chickens and turkeys. By 1940, Tomiyasu supplied produce not only to the residents of Las Vegas and Boulder City, but also to Beatty, Jean, Goodsprings, and Sloan, Nevada. 

Although Tomiyasu taught his children the farming business, they all attended college in pursuit of different careers. While Tomiyasu remained in horticulture the rest of his life, but following World War II, he primarily grew landscaping plants. Tomiyasu later lost his land due to a misunderstanding in a loan contract. Despite the loss of land, Tomiyasu continued to manage a plant nursery until his death in 1969. The city of Las Vegas commemorated Tomiyasu in the late 1980s by naming an elementary school and a street after him. 

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