Kristen Hayashi

Kristen Hayashi, Ph.D. is the collections manager at the Japanese American National Museum where she oversees the permanent collection. She is a public historian who has worked on museum exhibitions and historic preservation advocacy. After earning her B.A. in American Studies from Occidental College in Los Angeles and spending a year in Japan with the JET Program, she worked at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. As a result of being part of the content team for the Natural History Museum’s semi-permanent exhibition Becoming Los Angeles, she became highly engaged in research into the region’s rich history through her doctoral work in History at the University of California, Riverside. Although her interest in Los Angeles spans a multitude of subtopics, her dissertation: “Making Home Again: Japanese American Resettlement in Post-WWII Los Angeles, 1945-1955” examines what it took for Japanese Americans to reestablish themselves following the wartime incarceration. In addition to her ongoing work at JANM, Kristen stays connected to the Japanese American community in Los Angeles through her involvement with the Little Tokyo Historical Society and Makoto Taiko.

Updated November 2019

community en ja

The Sakamoto-Sasano Collection: Bringing New Meaning to Family Mementos

As staff of the Collections Management and Access (CMA) department at the Japanese American National Museum, my colleagues and I make little rediscoveries in JANM’s permanent collection regularly. I refer to them as rediscoveries rather than discoveries since we’re certainly not the first to become well versed with the stories anchored to artifacts in the collection. These constant rediscoveries remind us that we arguably have the best job at JANM. It’s also one that comes with great responsibility since we’re tasked with the important job of ensuring the preservation of the collection for posterity.

Given the ...

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Japanese Hospital: Keeping the Community Healthy

Beginning in the late 19th century, boosters of Los Angeles touted the region’s sunshine and mild climate as a place for health-seekers. Yet residents of ethnic enclaves in Los Angeles were often denied access to health care at mainstream hospitals.

Japanese and other recent immigrant groups depended on itinerant midwives for assistance with childbirth and traveling physicians to make house calls to treat serious illnesses. By the 1910s, the increase in birth rate that resulted from the arrival of scores of picture brides from Japan, along with the detrimental effects of the 1918 influenza pandemic, demonstrated the need for ...

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