SAN FRANCISCO – The National Park Service (NPS) has selected Hanako Wakatsuki to serve as the first superintendent of Honouliuli National Historic Site in Honolulu.
Wakatsuki has been the acting chief of interpretation and education at Pearl Harbor National Memorial since October 2020 and acting site manager at Honouliuli National Historic Site since November 2020.
“Hanako brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to this position,” said Acting NPS Regional Director Linda Walker. “Her work at Japanese American confinement sites managed by the park service, coupled with her experience as a regional advisor for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, make her well suited for this position.”
Honouliuli National Historic Site is a unit within the national park system that interprets the history of incarceration and the experience of prisoners of war in Hawai‘i during World War II. Although the site is not yet open to visitors, the public can learn more on the park’s website: https://www.nps.gov/hono.
“I am honored and excited to continue working in the Japanese American Confinement Sites network, given my family’s connection to the World War II incarceration at Manzanar, Minidoka, and Tule Lake; sites that are now preserved as units of the national park system,” said Wakatsuki. “I look forward to serving the area’s communities and sharing the history of civilians, POWs and Native Hawaiians who are connected to this site.”
Before accepting this position, Wakatsuki served as the chief of interpretation and Education at Minidoka National Historic Site in Idaho, overseeing the interpretation and education, partnerships, and outreach programs and working closely with the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial unit in Washington state and the Japanese American Confinement Sites network. In her five years with the NPS, she has also worked at Tule Lake National Monument.
Wakatsuki has nearly 13 years of experience in the museum and public history field. Prior to working for the NPS, she worked for the Idaho State Historical Society and the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum. She served in a one-year detail with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) as a regional advisor, leading collaborative outreach programs in Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawai‘i. She is currently serving as a WHIAAPI regional lead overseeing Hawai‘i, Guam, Saipan, and American Samoa.
Wakatsuki holds a master’s degree in museum studies from John Hopkins University and a bachelor of arts degree in history and a bachelor of science in political science from Boise State University. She grew up in Idaho and has a passion for public service and bridging the gap between academia and the public.
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
The westernmost region of the National Park Service spans 106 degrees around the globe and includes more than 60 national park sites within the eight states of California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, portions of Arizona and Montana and the territories of Guam, American Samoa, as well as the Northern Mariana Islands.