Lana Kobayashi

Lana Kobayashi is a rising second-year student at UCLA, majoring in Public Affairs and minoring in Asian American Studies. She is the Nikkei Community Internship (NCI) joint intern for the Japanese American Bar Association (JABA) and the Japanese American National Museum (JANM). As a Shin-Nisei, Lana has always been in touch with her Japanese roots but recently became involved in the JA community. She took her first Asian American studies class at UCLA, fell in love with Asian American history, and felt empowered to bring about social justice. Through her multi-cultural background and fluency in Japanese, Lana hopes to pursue a career in international law to continue positive relations between the United States and Japan and ultimately give back to the JA community.

Updated July 2022

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The JABA Legacy Project: Justice Sabrina McKenna—The First Openly LGBTQ Asian American to Serve on a State Court of Last Resort

As the first openly LGBTQ Asian American to serve on a state court of last resort, Justice Sabrina McKenna has had countless articles written about her. In preparation for our interview, I read most of the stories that feature her. Though the articles were informative, they all failed to capture Justice McKenna as a person: her charm, humor, and charisma. Through my exclusive interview1, I hope to tell the side of Justice McKenna that traditional media does not capture—Sabrina McKenna as a Japanese American, a woman, a mother, and a community leader. Sabrina McKenna was born on Oc...

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The Death that Changed Japan Forever

Shinzo Abe, the former prime minister of Japan, was assassinated on July 8, 2022.  Almost immediately after the news broke, hundreds of global news outlets published articles praising his leadership during his eight-year term—the longest uninterrupted run as a Japanese leader—as I, a Shin-Nisei, sat in shock at the news of his death.  Abe souri (so-uu-ri, meaning prime minister) was the only politician I had ever known to lead Japan. He became the face of Japan when I was nine years old and continued to serve until I was seventeen. When I watched Japanese news with...

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JABA: The Trailblazers of the Japanese American Community

On July 15, 2022, the Japanese American Bar Association (JABA) hosted its 45th Annual Installation & Awards Gala at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. As the JABA intern, I had the privilege of attending the gala and meeting trailblazers from the Japanese American legal community. For over 40 years, JABA has continued to provide a “special forum for members of the legal profession with interests and ties to the Japanese American community to discuss issues, network, and serve the community.”1 JABA continues to be at the forefront of advocacy, becoming the first bar association i...

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