I received my BA in history from Smith College and my MA in history and a Graduate Certificate in Public History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. My BA was in women’s history. My MA fields were US-Japan relations, and race, immigration, and foreign relations in the United States. My Public History Certificate focused on writing history for the public. I also took courses on oral history, history communication and memoir writing.
While at Smith, I studied women’s history, learning about Japanese women from ancient to modern times, modern European women, and Middle Eastern women. My senior seminar paper was on Japanese and Japanese-American women who attended Smith from 1899 through the end of World War II.
I became interested in Japanese-American history while taking an American Studies course called “Narratives of Internment” where we studied literature written by Japanese-Americans who had been incarcerated in concentration camps during World War II. While reading Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston’s Farewell to Manzanar, I discovered that there were interracial couples in the camps. My final project focused on the United States government’s policies toward mixed-race couples and individuals, and their experiences in the camps.
That same semester, I took a course on the history of the Silk Road where I learned about Deaf people employed in the Ottoman court. This was a fascinating addition to the Deaf history and culture I had learned while learning American Sign Language in high school.
My current research projects focus on multi-racial Japanese-American families, and Japanese-Americans with disabilities during World War II.
I am also working to increase accessibility at museums, archives, research institutions, conferences, and other events and locations for historians with disabilities. In 2019, I organized a panel called “Barriers To History: Making History and Historical Research Accessible” for the National Council on Public History (NCPH) annual meeting which took place in March 2020. I facilitated the Twitter conversation which discussed barriers that historians disabilities face, accommodations that worked, how institutions working with or for people with disabilities create accommodations, institutional accessibility guidelines, and how institutions can improve accessibility.