Sean Hamamoto

As the 2013 Nikkei Community Intern, I will be working for the Japanese American Bar Association (JABA) and the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) this summer. My work at JANM consists primarily of contributing articles, events, and albums to the Discover Nikkei website; my work with JABA involves the JABA Legacy project which serves to preserve and promote the fabled legends of prominent Nikkei jurists.

Updated July 2013 

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The Present: A Gift from the Past to the Future*

When all is said and done, and as dust begins to settle over the past eight weeks of a profound educational journey, I realize how beneficial this Nikkei Community Internship has been. To be brief, this has been an amazing learning experience. But to be brief would be to do injustice to all that was absorbed by my mind and heart through this program. And so it begins.

Prior to this internship, like many people, I absolutely dreaded Mondays. However, for the past eight weeks, I actually looked forward to the weekend passing so I would be able to go …

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The JABA Legacy Project: Legal Legends in the Nikkei Community

Janice Fukai: Justice for All

As her title suggests, Los Angeles County Alternate Public Defender Janice Y. Fukai defends members of the public in court who have been accused of criminal acts. As the Alternate Public Defender, Ms. Fukai heads a county office comprised of 300 employees, including over 200 attorneys who represent criminal defendants that the county’s Public Defender is unable to defend due to conflicts of interest or other reasons.


But what is truly respectable and remarkable about her position is that she and her staff help those who need legal assistance but who are unable to afford an attorney. The reason for …

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The JABA Legacy Project: Legal Legends in the Nikkei Community

Rose Ochi: On Selfless Service

“You need to, as an organization or as an individual, find ways to support individuals in the community.”


This was one of the final remarks made by Rose Ochi, a distinguished attorney and prominent civil rights activist, in this year’s first JABA Legacy Project interview. This profound message was marked with a sense of finality after all that was said before. But to fully understand the meaning of this advice, it is important to learn more about her personal history and career accomplishments.

Ms. Ochi’s early life includes memories of the sorrowful internment experience during World War II. As …

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Nikkei Chronicles #2—Nikkei+: Stories of Mixed Language, Traditions, Generations & Race

4-Sei What? That’s Mixed Up

At home, I speak Japanese. At school, I speak English. And at times, I speak both. The two languages are thrown in a verbal potpourri few can understand. I am a bilingual, fourth generation Japanese-American. But English is my favorite subject. As you can probably tell, my English and Japanese are often まざってる.1 いつも、 same sentenceで I use both languages.2 Upon typing the previous two sentences, I realized how confusing this concoction can be. It’s easy to hear, but definitely hard to read. Therefore, やるのを I’ll stop.3


By now, most are probably wondering how I am …

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JABA Legal Clinic: Cures and Connections

As the Nikkei Community Intern for the Japanese American Bar Association (JABA) and the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), I was given the opportunity to volunteer at JABA’s free legal clinic on Saturday, June 29, 2013.

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Throughout the year, JABA periodically hosts legal clinics throughout the Los Angeles area; the particular event I went to was fortuitously held at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) in the Crenshaw District. I had long marveled at this society of Japanese American attorneys and judges and was excited at the opportunity to volunteer at this event.

On the …

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