Board of Directors
Michael Kurima - Co-President
Michael Kurima is a Management Consultant, specializing in helping healthcare companies with commercial strategy and commercial organizational design. He currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for the San Diego Chapter of the JACL. Michael also serves on the Community Advisory Board of the San Diego Union-Tribune and co-chairs the Youth Impact and Education Task Force of the San Diego API Coalition.
Michael is a fourth-generation Japanese American who has lived 10 years in Japan and 6 years in Germany. He has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University in his hometown of Dallas, TX, and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in Durham, North Carolina.
Jon Yokoyama - Co-President
Jonathan Yokoyama came to San Diego when he attended San Diego State University and earned his degree in Business Finance. For the past 10 years he has worked in banking and the financial services industry.
Joining the JACL was influenced by his upbringing in Huntington Beach, CA while actively engaged with various Japanese American organizations. His involvement with the community included contributing to community events with Wintersburg Presbyterian Church, and Yonsei Basketball Association while playing on their basketball and baseball sports teams.
In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his longtime girlfriend, Jenna and their two rescue dogs, Toby, a miniature dachshund and Noodles, a chow-Weimaraner mix.
Cory Mitsui - Secretary
Cory Mitsui is the Electric Distribution Control Center Manager at San Diego Gas and Electric, overseeing daily operations of the San Diego electric distribution system. Cory obtained a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and achieved a M.B.A. in Organizational Leadership from National University. While in his position, he has made contributions and helped organize events for several professional organizations including the Transmission Maintenance Management Association, Distributech, and the IEEE Power Engineering Society chapter in San Luis Obispo.
Originally from the Los Angeles region, Cory is a fourth generation Japanese American. He has actively participated in the "Annual Day of Remembrance" for Japanese Internment during WWII, held in Washington D.C. and the "Japanese Americans in Baseball" exhibit that traveled to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
Taiga Takahashi is an attorney that provides legal counsel regarding administrative law and regulatory compliance issues, in both litigation and transactional matters.
Before law school, Taiga served in the military as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy. During graduate school at U.C. San Diego, Taiga worked as a consultant for San Diego Coastkeeper and the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties. During law school, Taiga clerked at the Environmental Enforcement Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and at the California Regional Office of Earthjustice.
Taiga is a second-generation Japanese American who hails from the Midwest. He has a B.A. from Stanford University, an M.P.I.A., with a specialization in statistical analysis, from the U.C. San Diego's School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (now the School of Global Policy and Strategy), and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, with a specialization in Environmental Law.
Joanne Hayakawa is a multi-media artist and professor of art emeritus from San Diego State University. She was born in Pasadena, California, and has resided in San Diego since 1982. She has taught, lectured and exhibited in galleries, universities, museum, art centers and diverse art venues throughout the country and internationally. After serving as a selection panelist and participating on the Commission for Art and Culture Public Art Master Plan Steering Committee, she was appointed by the mayor to the Commission for eight years where she also served on the City’s Public Art Committee, Education Committee and Executive Committee.
Joanne received her BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her MFA from the University of Washington.
Mits Tomita is a physician who retired from Kaiser Permanente. In addition to being a current Board member of the San Diego JACL, Mits was on the Board of Directors for the Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC). Most notably, he served as the Chair of the (City of San Diego) Mayor’s Asian Pacific Islander Advisory Board.
David Kodama is a former journalist and the Director at Cook + Schmid, a public relations and marketing firm in San Diego. He is also a former board member of the ABA San Diego. He came to San Diego as a youth from the Imperial Valley where he spent many years on a family farm. He graduated from SDSU with a degree in English.
Chiho Fell is a Client Success Manager at Kibo Commerce.
Bob Yonemitsu is a third generation Japanese American, now retired from San Diego State University.
RECENT BOARD OF DIRECTORS ALUMNI
Robert P. Ito, CEO of Ito Girard & Associates, has over 40 years of experience in workforce and community development and real estate development in San Diego. A San Diego native raised in Encanto, received his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from USIU and Masters in Social Work from San Diego State University. He is the former founding CEO of both Occupational Training Services (OTS) and the San Diego Community Housing Corporation. Career highlights includes: 30,000 jobs for low income San Diegans; administered $30 million in Federal, State, and Local funds; developed 1,200 affordable rental units providing housing for 3,650 people and developed and sold 160 homes to low and moderate income first time homebuyers.