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.