JANM Appoints Karen Ishizuka Chief Curator

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Karen Ishizuka

Ann Burroughs, president and CEO of the Japanese American National Museum, has announced the appointment of Karen L. Ishizuka to the position of chief curator.

Ishizuka’s charge is to develop and chair a national Scholarly Advisory Council to help shape the museum’s curatorial direction and intellectual agenda.

She was previously on staff at the museum as media producer, curator, and director of the Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center. During that time she curated JANM’s influential “America’s Concentration Camps: Remembering the Japanese American Experience” exhibition, established the museum’s Photographic and Moving Image Archive, and wrote and produced “Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray,” which was an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival.

Together with her husband and partner Robert A. Nakamura, Ishizuka received the inaugural JANM Legacy Award at the museum’s 2016 Gala Dinner for their lasting contributions to the museum’s institutional legacy and helping distinguish the museum as a unique, vital, and valuable community resource.

“Karen is a widely respected and highly accomplished scholar whose history with the Japanese American National Museum positions her perfectly to serve as our new chief curator,” said Burroughs. “As the museum forges its future and deepens its commitment to our mission of promoting understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience, I’m so pleased that Karen will be helping to shape our intellectual agenda and curatorial direction.”

Ishizuka received a master’s degree in social work from San Diego State University and her Ph.D. in anthropology from UCLA. In addition to many articles, she is the author of “Serve the People: Making Asian America in the Long Sixties” and “Lost & Found: Reclaiming the Japanese American Incarceration” and co-editor of “Mining the Home Movie: Excavations into Histories and Memories.” She also serves as president of the Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation.

For more information on the museum, visit www.janm.org.

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