The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) has announced the addition of four new members to its Board of Trustees.

“Each of these new board members brings invaluable skills and foresight to the governance and future of JANM,” said Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. “We are grateful for their activism and dedication to the mission of the museum.”

Taiji Terasaki has been named a trustee; Gregory G. Nakahira, Lisa Sugimoto, Ed.D., and Tamlyn Tomita were named governors. 

Taiji Terasaki  

Based in Honolulu, Terasaki has explored avant-garde innovations in his art, working in photography, sculpture, immersive and large-scale installations, and pioneering mediums like mist projections as canvas. 

Terasaki made his public debut in 2017 with “REBIRTH” at Honolulu’s Ward Center, and “Edible Landscapes for the Trillenium” in conjunction with “Contact 3017: Hawai‘i in 1,000 Years” at Honolulu Museum of Art. He has focused on large-scale and civic art projects with shows in Hawaii, throughout the continental U.S., and internationally, most notably at the Curitiba Biennial in 2017. 

JANM displayed his exhibition “Transcendients: Heroes at Borders, 100 Days of COVID-19, and Memorial to Healthcare Workers” in 2020-21.

Terasaki serves on the Board of Directors for the L.A.-based Terasaki Family Foundation. He serves as board president of the Taiji and Naoko Terasaki Family Foundation, as well as the Art Explorium, which he co-founded. He most recently founded Make Visible, a 501c3 non-profit whose mission is to inspire global change through art. He holds a BFA from UC Irvine.

Gregory G. Nakahira

Nakahira is a partner of The Picerne Group, a private Southern California-based real estate investment company with notable expertise in apartment acquisition and development, distressed debt investment and complex land entitlement. Prior to joining The Picerne Group in 1998, he was a senior executive with Goldman Sachs and Heller Financial in their commercial real estate investment groups. 

Nakahira received his undergraduate degree from UC San Diego and currently resides in Torrance with his wife and three children. 

Lisa Sugimoto, Ed.D.

Dr. Sugimoto joined executive services firm PPL, Inc. in 2013 and now serves as co-owner and vice president. PPL focuses on executive transitions and consulting for community colleges, primarily in California. She has participated in numerous searches for new CEOs and has assisted in the placement of interim executive leaders and consultants.

In fall 2009, Sugimoto was appointed to serve as Pasadena City College’s superintendent-president in an interim position. Following this role, she served as PCC’s vice president of college advancement during the final year of the Osher Scholarship Match Initiative in which the college raised 183% of the targeted goal. She also served as vice president of student and learning services at PCC in 2003.

Among many recognitions, Sugimoto received the Community Award by the Pasadena NAACP in 2010 and the Apple Award by the Altadena NAACP. She holds a doctorate in educational leadership from UCLA; an MBA and M.S.Ed. from the University of Southern California; and a B.A. from UC San Diego.

Tamlyn Tomita

Tomita was born in Okinawa, the daughter of Shiro and Asako Tomita. Shiro, a Nisei, was interned at Manzanar with the Tomita family during World War II, and later became an officer in the LAPD, rising to the rank of sergeant and co-founding the Asian Task Force, the first bilingual Asian American police unit in the nation. She graduated from Granada Hills High School in the San Fernando Valley, and attended UCLA, when as a junior, she was named 1984 Nisei Week Japanese Festival Queen.

Tomita is an actor and activist who gained wide recognition for her role as Kumiko in “The Karate Kid Part 2” in 1986, her 1993 role as Waverly in “The Joy Luck Club,” and as Kana in the 1994 Kayo Hatta film “Picture Bride.” She has had numerous other film and television roles over a nearly four-decade-long career and recently reprised Kumiko in the NetFlix hit series “Cobra Kai.”  

Tomita and her husband, Daniel Blinkoff, have been working for the past two years in building Outside In Theatre in Highland Park, developing multi-platform theatrical storytelling for, and by, underrepresented voices.

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