Myra Nishizaki

Myra Nishizaki is a fourth generation Japanese American and Los Angeles native. A hapa of Japanese and Caucasian heritage, Myra was not fully exposed to Japanese culture growing up at home. It was through her Nisei grandmother that her interests in Japanese and Japanese American studies developed. Myra holds a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego, where she majored in International Studies with an emphasis in Political Science and Japanese Studies. She also spent a year studying at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan.

Updated January 2012

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Hafu: A documentary film about hafus by hafus

The documentary examines multiracial and multicultural narratives in modern Japan. 

In a country often perceived and proclaimed to be racially and culturally homogeneous, shifting demographics in Japan are challenging what it means to be “Japanese.” International marriages have steadily risen over the years in Japan and 1 in 49 babies are now born to mixed-race parents.

Hafu: the mixed race experience in Japan is a documentary that investigateswhat it means to be multiracial and multicultural in a society where common beliefs link Japanese identity to both cultural and phenotypic characteristics.

Five “hafus”—the Japanese word for people who …

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The Girl with Hair like the Sun: An interview with author, Claire Mix

Claire Mix will never forget the day she first learned of the harsh realities that Japanese Americans faced during World War II and the role that her mother played in that dark period of United States’ history.

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Claire was exposed to this part of history by two people she held in the highest regard—her mother, Ruth Mix and actor, George Takei, best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu on the “Star Trek” series. At thirteen-years old, Claire—a science fiction fanatic and “huge Star Trek fan”—happened to have quite …

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Reading Between the Folds: An Interview with JANM Volunteer Ruthie Kitagawa

The Japanese American National Museum’s current origami instructor and a volunteer since the museum’s opening, Ruthie Kitagawa has been an active member in the community for over two decades. And like so many JANM volunteers, Ruthie’s personal and family histories are what brought her to the museum. Her love for family and all things arts-and-crafts remain prevalent inspirations for Ruthie, and they tell the story of why her work at JANM continues to be an important part of her life today.


Born on August 14, 1937 and raised in the Los Angeles area, Ruthie experienced some of the city’s …

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Mountains That Take Wing: Angela Davis & Yuri Kochiyama—An Insightful Documentary on the Strength & Passion of Two Women

C.A. Griffith and H.T.L. Quan’s inspiring documentary, Mountains That Take Wing—Angela Davis & Yuri Kochiyama (2010), is a rewarding journey through history with Angela Davis, political activist and distinguished scholar, and Yuri Kochiyama, activist, civil and human rights advocate, and 2005 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, as they discuss their memories and political work over their years as advocates of social justice.


The conversations took place in 1996 and 2008 between the two women and dissect a myriad of topics spanning across decades of history. Beginning with an exchange of stories about their childhoods, Davis and Kochiyama reveal the sources …

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