Explore all of the upcoming programs and events at the Center.

Webinar – Your Family, Your History: Session 8 – Present Your Findings
Aug 5 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Discover and research your Japanese American family history with our webinar series and special workshops!

Your Family, Your History with Genealogist Linda Harms Okazaki and the Center: Online Workshop Series on Researching, Preserving and Sharing Your Japanese American Roots

Generously Supported by The Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation


Dates: Biweekly, May 13, 2020 – August 5, 2020
Program Fees:

5/13/20 Introductory Session – Free Admission
Sessions 2-8:  $30 Members, $50 General Public


Have you wanted to start researching your family history but didn’t know how to begin? Do you want to write up your family story but needed some assistance?

Please join genealogist, Linda Harms Okazaki, as she takes you on a genealogy journey. She will guide you through the research, and help you to write your story. Each session includes a homework assignment and culminates with sharing your final written project.

The series begins May 13, 2020 at 7:00 PM with a free introductory session, after which participants may enroll for subsequent sessions in the series held every other week. Participation in live webinar class sessions are limited to 30 participants. Video of webinar sessions will be recorded for enrolled program participants to access following the session date in case participants are unable to attend the live webinar as scheduled.

Program requirements: A computer is required and all classes will be conducted remotely via the videoconferencing platform, Zoom. Participants should have access to a computer and have basic computer skills.


Bi-Weekly Course Schedule:

1. Introduction to Family History – May 13, 2020, 7:00-8:30 PM (90 minutes)
Free Admission


This initial session covers getting started in genealogy, organization, pedigree charts and family group sheets, interviewing relatives, navigating websites, planning a writing project, and will end with an opportunity to “ask the genealogist.” Homework assignments will be described during the session.

Full Program Sessions
May 28, 2020 – August 5, 2020 (7 session)
Fees: Members $30, General Public $50
Program enrollment includes access to webinar video recordings following live webinar sessions


2. Finding U.S. Records – May 28, 2020, 7:00-8:30 PM (90 minutes)
Basic records, including census, land, naturalization, vital, plus newspapers, city directories, manuscript collections will be covered. Camp records to be covered in next session. Homework to be assigned.

3. Camp Records – June 10, 2020, 7:00-8:00 PM (60 minutes)
Learn how to order camp records from the National Archives. Assembly Centers, WRA camps, and DoJ camps will be covered. Homework to be assigned.

4. (Tentative) Find Your Kamon with Chester Hashizume – Saturday TBD, facilitated by host and Linda Okazaki
Learn about traditional Japanese family crests and designs

5. Records in Japan – June 24, 2020, 7:00-8:00 PM (60 minutes)
Learn about koseki, kakocho, okaka and more. Possibly co-hosted with XX. Homework to be assigned.

6. Writing workshop – July 8, 2020, 7:00-8:00 PM (60 minutes)
Overcoming writer’s block, brick walls, and other challenges. Homework to be assigned.

7. Writing workshop – July 22, 2020, 7:00-8:00 PM (60 minutes)
Proof reading, how to layout and print your project/book. Homework to be assigned.

8. Present Your Findings – August 5, 2020, 7:00-8:30 PM (90 minutes)
Present your completed written family history projects to other program participants. Congratulations! You did it!


Future add-on workshops and webinars:

Potential add-on sessions include:

  • “What’s All the Fuss about DNA?”
  • “Planning a Research Trip.”

About Linda Harms Okazaki:

Linda Harms Okazaki is a fourth-generation Californian, active in the genealogy and Japanese American communities in California and beyond. She is passionate about teaching Nikkei to research, document, and share their personal family histories. Her other areas of research include upstate New York, England, Australia, and the use of DNA in genealogy. Linda has been researching her husband’s ancestry since 2012, documenting his family in the internment camps and in Japan. A charter member of the Nikkei Genealogical Society, and a consultant for’s Progenealogists, she is also a featured columnist for the Nichi Bei Weekly. Her column, Finding Your Nikkei Roots, is published bimonthly. Her guide to Finding Your Japanese Roots was updated in 2020 and is available in hard copy. Ms. Okazaki is the author of numerous articles, including the recent National Genealogical Society magazine article “Paper Sons and Picture Brides,” which was co-authored by Grant Din. She is a member of as the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Genealogical Speaker’s Guild, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Linda currently serves as the past president of the California Genealogical Society, as a board member of the Nichi Bei Foundation, and a family history consultant for Densho.

Ms. Okazaki holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and a Master of Arts degree in Education. She can be reached at

Author Talk: A Question of Loyalty by Mike Malaghan
Aug 9 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Author Talk: A Question of Loyalty by Mike Malaghan
Sunday, August 9, 2020
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PST
Free Admission, Advance Registration Required
Connect via Zoom; Meeting ID and password to be issued upon registration


Please join us for a special presentation by author Michael Malaghan as he discusses his new book release, A Question of Loyalty, the second book of his Picture Bride trilogy of historical fiction novels. In A Question of Loyalty, Malaghan dramatizes the Nisei struggle to prove their loyalty to a country wary of their presence. The novel features the early heroic days of the 100th/442nd and life in the American concentration camps. In his presentation, Mike will discuss five inflection points in the history of the war and the Nisei soldiers that were pivotal in the outcomes portrayed in the novel, including:

1. How a 17 year old Japanese-American au pair and a Chinese man shaped Hawaii’s successful resistance to FDR’s order “Remove the Japanese from Oahu.”
2. How the response to humiliation of the second generation Nisei’s being kicked out of the Hawaiian Territorial Guard January 1942 gave rise to the 442nd.
3. What ended the Kotonk – Buddhahead Camp Shelby fighting that saved the 442nd “experiment.”
4. How the 100th proved Clark right; IKE wrong.
5. How General Dahlquist’s questionable order to save the “Lost Texas Battalion” made the 442nd famous & respected.

Book description from
Courage Under Fire: A saga of bravery, on the battlefield and on the home front in wartime Hawaii

A Question of Loyalty celebrates the “no retreat” Japanese Americans who fought the war on two fronts from the heroics of the famed 100th Battalion on the battlefields of Italy to the bitter struggle against dishonor and humiliation at home. In this blockbuster sequel to his best-selling novel Picture Bride, Mike Malaghan continues the story of Haru Takayama, the proud Japanese immigrant who makes Hawaii her home and raises her children as loyal Americans. But Haru’s world changes forever when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, her husband is arrested and a son is discharged from his ROTC unit simply for wearing the face of the enemy, and two other children find themselves trapped in Japan.


About Author Mike Malaghan

The lights flickered on at the Hawaii Theater’s premier showing the documentary, “The First Battle,” revealing why most Japanese in Hawaii were not interned in WWII. An Eureka moment.  Only two weeks earlier, I had decided to write an historical novel.  While I spent a lifetime in the corporate world on four continents, in my heart I always thought of myself as a writer.  Married to a Tochigi “new Issei” and living in Hawaii, I knew the story of the Nisei Territorial Guard, who were stripped of their uniforms weeks after Pearl Harbor only to enlist a year later when allowed, was the stuff of a good story.

BUT, these American-Japanese warriors did not just drop out of the sky on December 7th, 1941.  So instead of a single book, a trilogy developed. Picture Bride celebrated the mothers and fathers who left an improvised country to come to America. The sequel, “A Question of Loyalty” begins on the morning of December 7, 1941 and takes you through 100th fighting in Italy in 1943 to the eve of the Battle of Cassino.  Now working on “Proof of Loyalty” following the 100/442/MIS to the war’s end.

Born in Wisconsin in 1943, raised in Florida, I paid my way thought the University of Florida by selling books door-to-door. I finished my business career 41 years later as president of a Walt Disney licensee … marketing English language learning materials in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Korea. During my tenure as president, World Family grew to become Disney’s second largest licensee in Asia … second only to Tokyo Disneyland. McGraw Hill published my legacy business book “Making Millions in Direct Sales” in 2005.

A lover and reader of history, I have been fortunate to visit 203 countries and territories starting with the Peace Corps in Africa in 1966.

As a consequence of our passion for travel, Tomoko and I have ridden canoes in tribal Laos, “African Queen” river tugs down the Mekong, and cruise ships meandering along the Danube, the Nile, the Amazon, and the Yangtze.  We have climbed the mountains in Kinto Balu and the Japan Alps.  Our live-on train experiences include South Africa, China, Tibet, India, and the “Stan” Republics in Central Asia.  We bungee jumped over the bridges of Taiwan, white water rafted on the Zambezi, and hot air ballooned over the game reserves of South Africa and Spanish ranches.

Much of our recent travel has centered on book research. We drove to Camp Shelby, Mississippi where the 442nd trained for a year. In near-by Hattiesburg, we interviewed the Mississippi woman who married a Japanese American in 1942. We have visited Manzanar and  the Japanese-American museums in Los Angeles and San Francisco to try to get a feeling for life in the concentration camps. We have trekked the battlefields in Italy and France where the Nisei fought and died to take their place in the American pantheon of heroes.

No moment doing research was more rewarding than our lunch with Sue Isonaga, the 1939 au pair to FBI agent Robert Shivers. Sue’s quiet Americanism created grave doubts about Shivers’ assigned role to prepare the Japanese for internment in Hawaii.  Sue has since passed away.  I trust Picture Bride and A Question of Loyalty will help memorialize her contribution in preventing most Japanese in Hawaii from living in camps during WWII.

For more information on Mike and his books, visit his website at:

Webinar – Helping Family and Friends Cope with the Stress of COVID-19 with Dr. Kayoko Yokoyama
Aug 11 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Webinar: Helping Family and Friends Cope with the Stress of COVID-19
With Dr. Kayoko Yokoyama
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. PST
$3 for Center Members, $5 General Public
Connect via Zoom; Meeting ID and password to be issued upon registration


While stuck at home during shelter in place, we are all facing the impacts of COVID-19 every day. During these uncertain times, we are offering an online webinar series for our community to come together and look at our values and perspectives to both understand the impacts of the pandemic and how to cope with the stress of COVID-19.

Sign up for the last of two workshops featuring Dr. Kayoko Yokoyama and learn how you can help to support your family and friends who are struggling with the stress of the pandemic.

Dr. Yokoyama will provide an interactive discussion and Q & A, drawing on her Japanese and American bicultural experiences and values to consider helpful communication and coping strategies to work with our beloved family and friends who are struggling with the stress of COVID-19.


About Dr. Kayoko Yokoyama

Kayoko Yokoyama, Ph.D. is licensed psychologist in private practice serving a wide spectrum of individuals including women, immigrants, and people of color through a strength and evidence-based approach with consideration of sociopolitical dynamics, systemic oppression, and collective trauma.

She is a former Professor of Clinical Psychology at JFK University and after 16 years in that role, she now serves as Adjunct Faculty at JFK University (Pleasant Hill, CA) and The Wright Institute (Berkeley, CA).  She enjoys mentoring and teaching her students and her areas of interest include feminist therapy, social justice training, and women’s issues including body image and mothering.  She has also served for five years as the Director of SunVision Workshops, a cultural and educational program for elder care professionals from Japan to learn about the psychosocial care of older adults in the U.S.

She is a Fellow of the Minority Fellowship Program of the American Psychological Association.  She completed her Predoctoral training at University of California, Davis and her Postdoctoral training at the University of San Francisco.  She received her Masters degree in Psychological Counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University and her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Arizona State University.

She was born in Tokyo, Japan and brings her bicultural, international, and feminist perspectives to her teaching, mentoring, clinical work, and advocacy.

Webinar – Japanese American Figures in Politics with Dr. Emily Murase
Aug 18 @ 6:30 pm – 7:15 pm
Webinar: Japanese American Figures in Politics
With Dr. Emily Murase
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
6:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. PST
Free Admission, Advance Registration Required
Connect via Zoom; Meeting ID and password to be issued upon registration


As the November elections approach, it is important to recognize how the representation of Japanese Americans as publicly elected officials affects and transforms the political discussion. This workshop will be focused on a notable Japanese American figure in politics with a discussion of how Japanese American values, history, and perspectives tie into being publicly elected official.

Sign up for this webinar featuring former San Francisco Board of Education President, Dr. Emily Murase, who will be speaking on her career as Japanese American politician in San Francisco.

Hosted by the Center, Dr. Murase and webinar guests will engage in an interactive discussion and Q & A which will draw upon Dr. Murase’s Japanese American experience within American politics.


About Dr. Emily Murase

Dr. Emily Murase is a prominent figure and leader within San Francisco and the Japanese American community. As former School Board President, twice elected, she supervised the budget of $890 million in public education for 57,000 students in 136 schools served by 10,000 district employees. Within her work, she drove anti-bullying efforts and championed world languages.

Previously, she led the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women for over 15 years, managing a budget of $10 million, a pioneer in her profession. Dr. Murase has also served in the first Clinton White House as Director for International Economic Affairs (1993-1994), the Federal Communications Commission, and AT&T Japan in Tokyo.

Dr. Murase has served on the Japanese American Citizens League (San Francisco, Tokyo, Washington D.C. Chapters) and is currently on the boards of Democratic Women in Action and the San Francisco-Osaka Sister City Association.

Author Talk: We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
Sep 1 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Author Talk: We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
Co-Hosted by Misa Sugiura, author of This Time Will Be Different
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. PST
Free Admission, Advance Registration Required
Connect via Zoom; Meeting ID and password to be issued upon registration


Please join us for a special discussion with New York Times best-selling author Traci Chee as she discusses her new book, We Are Not Free with fellow Japanese American author Misa Sugiura, author of This Time Will Be Different. This work of historical fiction focuses on the lives of a tight-knit group of fourteen teens who have grown up together in San Francisco’s Japantown during the time of the community’s upheaval and forced removal to American concentration camps during WWII. Traci and Misa will discuss not just the book itself, but how their own families’ experiences in the camps have informed their own voices as writers.


Book description from

“All around me, my friends are talking, joking, laughing. Outside is the camp, the barbed wire, the guard towers, the city, the country that hates us. 

We are not free. 

But we are not alone.”  

Fourteen teens who have grown up together in Japantown, San Francisco.

Fourteen teens who form a community and a family, as interconnected as they are conflicted.

Fourteen teens whose lives are turned upside down when over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry are removed from their homes and forced into desolate incarceration camps.

In a world that seems determined to hate them, these young Nisei must rally together as racism and injustice threaten to pull them apart.


About Author Traci Chee

Traci Chee is an author of YA fiction. An all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts, though she also dabbles at bonsai gardening, egg painting, and hosting potluck game nights for family and friends. She studied literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small town with more cows than people, and now feels most at home in the mountains, scaling switchbacks and happening upon hidden highland lakes. She lives in California with her fast-fast dog.


About Co-Host, Author Misa Sugiura

Misa Sugiura’s ancestors include a poet, a priestess, a samurai, and a stowaway. She is the author of It’s Not Like It’s a Secret, winner of the 2017 Asian Pacific American Librarians’ Association’s Youth Literature Award, and the critically acclaimed This Time Will Be Different. Misa was born in Chicago, majored in English at Princeton University, and taught English as a second language in japan before moving to the Bay Area, where she now lives under a giant oak tree with her husband, two sons, and two cats.

This Time Will Be Different is a young adult contemporary novel about a Japanese-American teen whose family lost their flower shop to a white family in the 1940s, bought it back in the 1970s, and in 2019 is in danger of losing it to the same white family again. Misa’s own family was also in the camps (Minidoka and Tule Lake) during WWII.


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