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.

Kenji’s Kitchen – Chirashizushi Online Cooking Class
Aug 16 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Sign up for our online cooking webinar with chef Kenji Yokoo and learn how to make chirashizushi, a festive Japanese sushi rice dish!
Sunday, August 16, 2020
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Free Admission, Advance Registration Required
Connect via Zoom; Meeting ID and password to be issued upon registration


Chirashizushi, which literally means “scattered sushi,” is a festive and delicious Japanese dish where you can be very creative. In this class Kenji will teach you step-by-step how to make chirashizushi with tips on how to make the sushi rice, how to make common toppings, and decorating/assembling tips. Since you choose the toppings, chirashizuhi is easily adapted for vegetarians and vegans alike. Making chirashizushi is a lot of fun and we hope you can attend. In our cooking class, you’ll be joining Kenji over Zoom, and you can either watch and enjoy, or follow along in your own kitchen with Kenji’s instructions and make your own chirashizushi during the webinar!

Supplies and Ingredients Checklist:

Please gather or prepare the following in advance of the class:

  • Please prepare 3-4 cups of seasoned sushi rice prior to the class (Kenji’s video lesson on how to make sushi rice here: Sushi Rice)
  • Please soak 6-8 dehydrated shiitake mushrooms in 2 cups of water in the refrigerator for one night prior to the class
  • 1 large carrot
  • 12-14 snow peas
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp sake (x 2)
  • 1 tbsp sugar (x2)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt (x2)
  • choose seafood you like: cooked shrimp, sashimi grade tuna or salmon, ikura, etc
  • 1/4 surenkon (optional, lotus root marinated in rice vinegar)
  • 1 piece of kampyo (optional, shaved dried gourd)-Needs to be salt washed and  pre-boiled if you choose to use kampyo
  • 1/2 Japanese or Persian cucumber (optional)
  • nori (optional)
  • vegetable oil to grease pan
  • small sauce pan
  • fry pan with lid (nonstick)
  • knife to cut ingredients
  • serving dish, serving bowl or jubako
  • saibashi (cooking chopsticks) or fork to mix eggs
  • cutting board
  • wet dish towel to cool egg crepes
  • large mixing bowls
  • shamoji (rice paddle for mixing)
  • optional: katanuki (vegetable stencil for carrots)

About Kenji Yokoo

Kenji was born and raised in southern rural Japan and has been passionate about cooking from a very young age. As is common in Japan, he grew up in a home with three generations and spent every minute that he could with his grandmother in the kitchen, who taught him everything he knows about cooking. Kenji learned from her not just cooking techniques and the importance of using seasonal ingredients, but that also that the purpose of cooking is to bring joy to the people that you are cooking for. He has been teaching home cooking part time for over 20 years and recently decided to start his own business following his passion. Kenji hosts two Airbnb Japanese cooking classes with over 195 reviews, all five stars. In December 2019, Kenji was awarded the Bay Area “Quality Champion” award by Airbnb for receiving the highest quality scores on his cooking classes. Kenji has also taught team building with Japanese cooking for many Bay Area companies including Adobe, Airbnb and Facebook. With the current situation, Kenji is not teaching his classes in person and has started YouTube channel “Kenji’s Kitchen” so that people can continue to learn how to cook Japanese meals at home. Click here to view the Kenji’s Kitchen YouTube Channel!


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.


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