Kayla Tanaka

Kayla Tanaka is the 2019 Nikkei Community Internship intern at the Japanese American Bar Association (JABA) and the Japanese American National Museum (JANM). Over the summer she has primarily been interviewing and researching people who have made impacts in the Japanese American community. She is currently attending the University of California, Riverside and is going into her fourth and final year.

Growing up in Torrance, CA always gave her a place to blend with the JA community, but it was not until this internship opportunity that she got a chance to dive deeper into her family and cultural background. She has a sincere appreciation for the opportunities and knowledge that LA’s JA community (and leaders) have provided for her. In the future, Kayla hopes to pursue a career in law where she hopes to have a positive impact on different minority communities.

 Updated July 2019

community en

Nikkei Chronicles #8—Nikkei Heroes: Trailblazers, Role Models, and Inspirations

A Full Immersion in Today’s LA (Area) Japanese American Community

Being of only Japanese ancestry and growing up in the South Bay (Torrance) I have never questioned whether or not I belonged to the Japanese American community. My generational identity is that I am Yonsei (fraternal) and Shin-Nisei (maternal), which put me in situations where I am more “Japanese” than my Yonsei friends, but not “Japanese” enough to really be a Nisei. The social outlets that I found myself participating in within the JA community was playing basketball, doing Girl Scouts, and dancing hula. Although I do not practice Buddhism, a family summer tradition…

Read more

community en

The JABA Legacy Project: Judge Holly J. Fujie—An Inspirational Woman Who Was Herself Inspired by Japanese American History and Community

Ambition, motivation, dedication, and determination are just a few words that describe a trailblazing woman like Judge Holly J. Fujie. Growing up in West Oakland did not allow Judge Fujie to have much interaction with the Japanese American community; however her early exposure to a predominantly Black neighborhood gave her the opportunity to appreciate diversity starting from a young age. During her childhood, Judge Fujie’s interaction with the Japanese American community was limited primarily to church and family; however, she never questioned her identity as a Sansei Japanese Ameri…

Read more


Tad Nakamura, His Life and FSN 1972

Los Angeles’s Japanese American community has always been ‘home’ to filmmaker, Tad Nakamura. Growing up in West LA and playing basketball with other Japanese American children is where Tad felt that he truly had a sense of belonging. Being involved with the Japanese American community from a young age, all of Tad’s major life decisions were in part influenced by his upbringing in the Japanese American community, his education background, and his parents, Robert Nakamura and Karen Ishizuka. Tad claims that the Japanese American community, “... provides me with an…

Read more