Meet the NY/SC

National Youth Chair: Kota Mizutani

Kota Mizutani was first introduced to the Sonoma County Chapter of the JACL as child through a local taiko drumming group.  An active youth member since the age of thirteen, Kota has attended every JACL National Convention since 2009.  Kota is currently an undergraduate political science concentrator at Brown University and hopes to work in Asian American Pacific Islander political advocacy in Washington, D.C.  As a shin-Nikkei, Kota feels especially passionate about the inclusivity of shin-Nikkei and mixed race Japanese Americans into the narrative and constituency of the JACL.

National Youth Representative: Kenji Kuramitsu

headshot-helloKenji Kuramitsu is a writer and Master of Divinity student at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He sits on the board of directors of the Reformation Project, and has contributed writing to a number of publications. Kenji enjoys utilizing online activism, social media, and public speaking to connect with others interested in the intersections of theology and social justice. He is a fifth generation Japanese American with cultural roots in Hawai’i.


Central California District Council (CCDC) Youth Representative: Kelly Aoki

Kelly Aoki is the Communications Specialist at Sierra Pathology Laboratory. There, she identifies and utilizes strengths to build relationships while emphasizing company values. In her spare time, Kelly owns and operates Mizue Photography where she has made it her mission to provide clients with a comfortable environment in which she is able to capture memories to last lifetimes.
Kelly is a recent graduate of California State University, Fresno where she majored in Media, Communications & Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising. Growing up gosei with grandparents incarcerated in World War II, Kelly was always familiar with the Japanese American Citizens League, and in her final semester at Fresno State, she participated in the JACL Kakehashi Project. By the time Kelly left Japan, she returned to the Central Valley with a newfound appreciation for what it meant to be Japanese American and a craving to become more involved in JACL, both locally and nationally. Kelly is especially passionate about Japanese American Internment history and social justice.

Eastern District Council (EDC) Youth Representative: Mieko Kuramoto


Mieko Kuramoto is a first year at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she studies Spanish and Anthropology. A hapa yonsei, Mieko is originally from Los Angeles, but calls Milwaukee her hometown and first became active with the JACL through the Wisconsin chapter. She is passionate about Spanish, social justice, Japanese American Internment history, museums, and softball, and enjoys being involved in the Multi-Ethnic Interracial Smith College organization, the Bridge Community for students of color, and the squash club team.

Intermountain District Council (IDC) Youth Representative: Eric Tokita

Eric Tokita is a second-year student at the University of Utah studying Bioengineering and completing the Pre-medical track. He is a 4th and 5th generation Japanese and has been involved in many of his local JACL events, but this is his first year involved with the National JACL. He is passionate about building a better community for Asian Americans and is excited to get to know members from across the nation. In his free time, Eric enjoys basketball, video games, eating, and is an active member of the Triangle Fraternity.


Midwest District Council (MDC) Youth Representative: Eric Langowski

Eric is a lifelong Hoosier and grew up attending his local chapter’s (Hoosier JACL) events in Indiana since before he could walk. He is currently a junior studying Mathematics at Indiana University and he hopes to apply his analytical skills towards research for the social good and societal equality. Eric is passionate about creating an aware and active citizenry; leading service learning trips to New Orleans over school breaks and running student government elections with a strong emphasis on the inclusion of those previously excluded. His identity derives from his grandmother and, as a fourth generation mixed Japanese American, he is proud to represent the Midwest District and to continue to expand the discussion about identity beyond traditional norms.

Northern California Western Nevada Pacific (NCWNP) District Council Youth Representative: Michelle Huey

Michelle Huey is the Sexual Assault Prevention Specialist at My Sister’s House, an organization that serves AAPI women and children that have been affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. She is a recent graduate of the University of California Davis where she double majored in Political Science – Public Service and Design. As a yonsei and 3rd generation Chinese American woman her activism was sparked by her family’s stories of incarceration camp. In her free time she plays roller derby, obsessively watches gymnastics, and takes power naps.

Pacific Northwest (PNW) District Council Youth Representative: Tammy Le

In my spare time I like to volunteer, try new things, and spend quality time with friends and family. Currently I am studying American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington. After I graduate this June I hope to work in an environment that makes decisions from a place of empathy, offers lots of room for development, and supports my learning experience. I enjoy working with youth and communities of color. Most of my experience has been in coordinating events centered around social justice, organizing within the API community, and tutoring and mentoring youths of color.

Pacific Southwest (PSW) District Council Youth Representative: Juli Yoshinaga

Juli Yoshinaga is a Junior at the California State University, Long Beach majoring in Communication Studies and double minoring in Journalism and Marketing. She is the Intercollegiate Nikkei Council President, which represents Nikkei Student Unions across 12 Southern California universities. Juli is 2nd and 4th generation Japanese American, bilingual in English and Japanese. She feels passionate for the shin-Nikkei and Japanese American community because she found her identity within the community. Juli attended the 2016 JACL/OCA Washington, DC Leadership Summit which has sparked her interest in activism for Japanese Americans and AAPI voices.

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