The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) will honor 30 Changemakers under 30 years old at JANM’s 30th Anniversary Benefit on April 30.
Established in 1985, JANM promotes the understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. JANM opened to the public in the Historic Building, the former Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, in 1992.
As JANM looks to the future, it celebrates the connection between its past honorees, whose achievements have strengthened the community, and the next generation. The Changemakers were selected for their extraordinary contributions to advance JANM’s mission through the arts, business, culture, education, politics, sports, and technology.
Emma Anderson is a radio DJ, podcaster, and software engineer focused on uplifting Okinawan stories and traditions.
Erin Aoyama is the co-director of the Japanese American Memoryscape Project, whose work explores the possibilities of justice-informed historical storytelling, and a JANM curatorial researcher.
Kaitlyn Chu is an entrepreneurial product designer and creative storyteller who impacts lives and takes action on current issues through various mediums and community organizations.
Kraig Fujii is an immersive technology designer specializing in virtual and augmented reality. He has worked with clients such as Sony, The Los Angeles Times, and JANM.
Dina Alyce Fusaye Furumoto educates the public on the tangible experience of Japanese Americans and creates inclusive environments.
Keila Sachi Gaballo is an artist and philanthropic entrepreneur with a passion for mental health education, diverse representation, and embodied social justice.
Jonathan van Harmelen is a Ph.D. student at UC Santa Cruz specializing in the history of Japanese American incarceration.
Sara Hutter, the 2015 Nisei Week queen, is the community relations coordinator at The J. Morey Company, Inc. Insurance Agents & Brokers, where she nurtures relationships with communities that the company serves.
Bryce Ikemura, a partnership manager at TDW+Co, a multicultural marketing agency with a focus on Asian audiences, is the board chair of Kizuna and a board member at large for the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute.
Brandon Ishikata is an artist and university instructor at the University of Illinois Chicago who has held leadership positions with the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL).
Nolan Minoru Jimbo is the Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, where he organizes exhibitions and performances with contemporary artists.
Justin Kawaguchi is the current co-chair of Okaeri: A Nikkei LGBTQ+ Community. He also serves on the National Board of the JACL.
Cole Yujiro Kawana is the founder and president of Japanese American Stories, a nonprofit that develops artificial intelligence avatars to help preserve and share the oral histories of Japanese Americans who lived through World War II.
Aidan Kosaka is the acting director of NHoops, a league designed to bring college-age students to Little Tokyo and support small businesses in the area. He was selected to be a logo creator for the 2028 Olympic Games.
Emiko Otera Kranz is earning her MA in Asian American studies and MPH in community health sciences from UCLA with research centered on racial health equity and community-centered health practices.
Kenji Kuramitsu is a psychotherapist and writer who draws from experiences in anti-racism organizing and theological education to provide attuned mental health and spiritual care in clinical, retreat, and movement settings.
Kristi Mieko Lin is an artist and principal landscape architect at Falling Waters Landscape in San Diego.
Devon Matsumoto is a youth advocate at an organization dedicated to ending the school-to-prison pipeline and a community organizer for San Jose Nikkei Resisters and the Young Buddhist Editorial.
Kota Mizutani is the press secretary for Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor.
Nina Nakao is the virtual learning coordinator at JANM, where she develops and sustains nationwide programming for students grades 1–12, college, and adult groups.
Alec Nakashima is the founder and creative director of AKASHI-KAMA, a fashion and lifestyle brand that showcases the point of view of Asian Americans, and multiple cultures creating something new over time.
Megan Tomiko Ono is a corporate social responsibility project lead at American Honda Motor Co., Inc.,an advocate for youth, and current board member for Kizuna who is committed to empowering the next generation of global citizens.
Mariko Rooks is pursuing a master’s at Yale University. She serves as the JACL’s National Student/Youth Council’s Eastern District representative.
Miya Sommers is the assistant director of Asian Pacific American Student Development at UC Berkeley and is earning a master’s in Asian American studies from San Francisco State University.
Miye Ella Sugino is a Japanese-Korean American artist whose work distills inexpressible topics — like memory, displacement, and loss — into an image.
Vinicius Taguchi is a Japanese-Brazilian American serving as the president of the JACL Twin Cities Chapter and the first vice-governor of the JACL Midwest District.
Kai Vanderlip, a junior at Tesla STEM high school in Washington, founded a literature project that added six picture books about the incarceration to elementary school libraries in his school district and reached 14,000 students.
Matthew Weisbly is the current education and communications coordinator for the National JACL in Los Angeles.
Joy Emi Yamaguchi is a Yonsei community organizer, abolitionist, and the public programs supervisor at JANM curating and overseeing the calendar of events highlighting the museum’s mission and exhibitions.
Derek T. Yamashita is the creative director of The Hidden Japan, which promotes the deeper sides of Japan beyond the big cities by working with local communities and the government to address a wide range issues holding these regions back.
JANM thanks the 30 Under 30 Changemakers Selection Committee for their commitment and dedication and for reviewing the slate of nominees. They are JANM Trustee Kari Nakama, JANM Governor Richard M. Watanabe, Jennifer Hirano, Amy Watanabe, Stephanie Nitahara, Kristin Fukushima, Nancy Okubo (MUFG Union Bank) and Sebastian Ontiveros (Toyota Motor North America).
The 30th Anniversary Benefit will also highlight the relevance and universality of JANM’s mission and look ahead to the its next 30 years as it continues to apply history’s hard-won lessons and innovative strategies to reimagine the museum experience, inspire the next generation, and continue the struggle for inclusion and social justice.
The benefit will be emceed by Frank Buckley, co-anchor of KTLA 5 Morning News in Los Angeles, and Erin Aoyama, co-director of the Japanese American Memoryscape Project.
Visit http://janm.org/30th-benefit to find out how to participate in the Online Auction, make a Bid for Education, and enter the 2022 Lexus Opportunity Drawing. The 30th Anniversary Benefit virtual program will be livestreaming on JANM’s YouTube channel, @janmdotorg, from 5 to 7 p.m.
JANM’s Online Auction opens on April 23 and celebrates the community by highlighting goods and services of local businesses, corporate partners, and the works of talented artists.
JANM’s Bid For Education program makes field trips to JANM possible for more than 12,000 primary and secondary school students and teachers every year. Contributions to this program help JANM welcome students back to the museum and grow JANM’s new virtual visit program that successfully launched last year. Contributions can be made online, by mail, or by phone. Funds raised from the 2022 Lexus Opportunity Drawing will support educational programming and outreach at JANM.