Joseph Duong - - 213-830-5690


LOS ANGELES - The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) has announced four new members to its Board of Trustees.

“Each of these new board members brings invaluable skills and foresight to the governance and future of JANM,” said Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. “We are grateful for their activism and dedication to the mission of the Museum.”

Taiji Terasaki has been named a Trustee; and Gregory G. Nakahira, Lisa Sugimoto, Ed.D., and Tamlyn Tomita were named Governors. 


Taiji Terasaki

Based in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, Mr. Taiji Terasaki has exploried avant-garde innovations in his art, working in photography, sculpture, immersive and large-scale installations, and pioneering mediums like mist projections as canvas.

Mr. Terasaki made his public debut in 2017 with REBIRTH at Honolulu’s Ward Center, and “Edible Landscapes for the Trillenium” in conjunction with Contact 3017: Hawai‘i in 1,000 Years at Honolulu Museum of Art. He has focused on large-scale and civic art projects with shows in Hawai‘i, throughout the continental US, and internationally—most notably at the Curitiba Biennial in 2017. JANM displayed his exhibition, “Transcendients: Heroes  at Borders, 100 Days of COVID-19, and Memorial to Healthcare Workers” in 2020-21.

Mr. Terasaki serves on the board of directors for the LA-based Terasaki Family Foundation. He serves as Board President of the Taiji and Naoko Terasaki Family Foundation, as well as the Art Explorium which he co-founded. He most recently founded Make Visible, a 501c3 non-profit whose mission is to inspire global change through art. He holds a BFA from UC Irvine.


Gregory G. Nakahira

Gregory G. Nakahira is a partner of The Picerne Group, a private Southern California based real estate investment company with notable expertise in apartment acquisition and development, distressed debt investment and complex land entitlement.  Prior to joining The Picerne Group in 1998 he was a senior executive with Goldman Sachs and Heller Financial in their commercial real estate investment groups. Mr. Nakahira received his undergraduate degree from University of California, San Diego and currently resides in Torrance, California with his wife and three children.


Lisa Sugimoto, Ed.D.

Dr. Lisa Sugimoto joined executive services firm PPL, Inc. in 2013 and now serves as co-owner and Vice President. PPL focuses on executive transitions and consulting for community colleges, primarily in California. She has participated in numerous searches for new CEOs and has assisted in the placement of interim executive leaders and consultants.

In fall 2009, Dr. Sugimoto was appointed to serve as Pasadena City College’s Superintendent-President in an interim position. Following this role, she served as PCC’s Vice President of College Advancement during the final year of the Osher Scholarship Match Initiative in which the college raised 183% of the targeted goal. She also served as Vice President of Student and Learning Services at PCC in 2003.

Among many recognitions, Dr. Sugimoto received the Community Award by the Pasadena NAACP in 2010 and the Apple Award by the Altadena NAACP. She holds a doctorate in educational leadership from UCLA; an MBA and M.S.Ed. from the University of Southern California; and a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego.


Tamlyn Tomita

Ms. Tamlyn Tomita was born in Okinawa, the daughter of Shiro and Asako Tomita. Shiro, a second generation Japanese American, or Nisei, was interned at Manzanar with the Tomita family during World War II, and later became an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department, rising to the rank of Sergeant and helped co-found the Asian Task Force, the first bilingual Asian American police unit in the nation. She graduated from Granada Hills High School in the San Fernando Valley, and attended UCLA, when as a junior, she was named 1984 Nisei Week Japanese Festival Queen.

Ms. Tomita is an actor and activist who gained wide recognition for her role as Kumiko in The Karate Kid Part 2 in 1986, her 1993 role as Waverly in The Joy Luck Club, and as Kana in the 1994 Kayo Hatta film Picture Bride. She has had numerous other film and television roles over a nearly 4 decades long career and also reprised Kumiko in the 2021 NetFlix hit series Cobra Kai.

Ms. Tomita and her husband, Daniel Blinkoff, have been working for the past two years in building Outside In Theatre in Highland Park, Calif. developing multi-platform theatrical storytelling for, and by, underrepresented voices.



Established in 1985, JANM promotes understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. Located in the historic Little Tokyo district of downtown Los Angeles, JANM is a hybrid institution that straddles traditional museum categories and strives to provide a voice for Japanese Americans as well as a forum that enables all people to explore their own heritage and culture. Since opening to the public in 1992, JANM has presented over 70 exhibitions onsite while traveling 17 exhibits to venues such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Ellis Island Museum in the United States, and to several leading cultural museums in Japan and South America. For more information, visit or follow us on social media @jamuseum.