John Esaki is the Director of Programs at the Japanese American National Museum, and was previously head of the Museum’s Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center, an innovative digital video production facility. He received his B.A. in English and his teaching credential from UC Berkeley, and after five years teaching middle school, earned his MFA in film at UCLA. His documentary about a Chicano taiko drummer, MACEO: DEMON DRUMMER FROM EAST L.A., was selected for broadcast on LA PlAZA, a Latino series for WGBH-Boston. He was a staff member of Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacific American media arts center for more than fifteen years before joining the staff of the National Museum, where his work as a cinematographer, director and editor has included: HARSH CANVAS: THE ART AND LIFE OF HENRY SUGIMOTO; TOP OF THEIR GAME; THE BRACELET; WORDS, WEAVINGS & SONGS; and EYEWITNESS: STAN HONDA. A Post Doctoral Fellow at the UCLA Asian American Studies Center in 1996, he has taught courses in community documentation for the Center for Ethnocommunications. In 2004 he was writer/director of STAND UP FOR JUSTICE, a short drama produced by Visual Communications and NCRR about Ralph Lazo, who voluntarily lived in the Manzanar concentration camp during WWII.
Films by John Esaki
YUKI SHIMODA: ASIAN AMERICAN ACTOR celebrates the thirty-year acting career of the late Yuki Shimoda, reflecting his achievements and career disappointments typical of the minority actor.