The Japanese American Museum of Oregon (JAMO) is excited to announce that after a prolonged, extensive search, Hanako Wakatsuki-Chong will be joining the organization as its new Executive Director.
The museum’s Board and Search Committee unanimously chose Wakatsuki-Chong to succeed her predecessor, Lynn Fuchigami Parks, who retired from the position at the end of 2021. Lynn has remained as a consultant to the museum and member of the leadership’s Executive Transition Team that will welcome Hanako when she arrives in June.
“I couldn’t be more excited to have Hanako stepping into this role,” expressed Fuchigami Parks. “I can’t wait to see where her experience, leadership, and vision will take JAMO.”
Professionally trained as a public historian, political scientist, and museologist, Hanako has the perfect combined skill set for the position. She holds a BA in History and BS in Political Science from Boise State University, as well as an MA in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University, where she serves as an adjunct faculty member for their Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Museum Studies and Cultural Heritage Management Programs.
Hanako will be relocating from Honolulu, Hawaii, where she was the first Superintendent of the Honouliuli National Historic Site of the National Park Service. Prior to her superintendency, she served on special detail as the Acting Chief of Interpretation for the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.
In 2022, she was selected to work on a 6-month detail in the Office of the Chief of Staff at the White House, serving as the AANHPI Policy Advisor to the Deputy Assistant to the President on issues and initiatives affecting the AANHPI community.
Hanako has devoted the last 16 years of her personal and professional life preserving the history of the Japanese American incarceration experience during World War II, stating, “This topic is very personal to me, as my family was deeply affected by this trauma, which still reverberates down to me as a Yonsei/Gosei (fourth- and fifth-generation Japanese American). I am excited to return to the Pacific Northwest and have the opportunity to honor my ancestors who settled in Oregon. It is a great privilege and honor to have this opportunity to lead the efforts set forth by my predecessor, Lynn Fuchigami Parks, and to take JAMO into the next step in its evolution.”