Shig Murao Photo

Shig Murao

Born: Dec 8, 1926

Death: Jan 1, 1999

Birthplace: Seattle

Nationality: United States

Shig Murao

Date of Birth : Dec 8, 1926
Date of Death : Jan 1, 1999
Birth Place : Seattle

Shigeyoshi "Shig" Murao is mainly remembered as the City Lights clerk who was arrested on June 3, 1957, for selling Allen Ginsberg's Howl to an undercover San Francisco police officer. In the trial that followed, Murao was charged with selling the book and Lawrence Ferlinghetti with publishing it. Murao and Ferlinghetti were exonerated and Howl was judged protected under the First Amendment, a decision that paved the way for the publication of Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence, William Burroughs, and many other writers who offended puritanical elements of society. Murao and his twin sister Shizuko were born on December 8, 1926, in Seattle, Washington. In 1942, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Murao and his family were interned at the Minidoka War Relocation Center, Idaho. He joined the Military Intelligence Service in 1944, and worked in post-war Japan as an interpreter. Ferlinghetti and Peter Martin, the co-founder of City Lights, hired Murao as a clerk soon after the store opened in June 1953. Murao worked without pay for the first few weeks, but eventually became the manager of the bookstore, and his genial personality set the tone for the bookstore.

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