Ethnic Studies Department

Ethnic Studies Faculty

Ethnic Studies > Faculty

Jonathan Okamura, PhD, Anthropology, University of London, 1983
Office Location: George Hall 340
Phone Number: 956-4632
Fax Number: 956-9494
Personal Webpage:


I was born and raised in Kahului, Maui and am a yonsei (fourth generation) Japanese American on my father's side. After my family moved to California in 1964, I attended high school and college there and then did graduate work in anthropology at the University of London, completing my PhD degree in 1983. My dissertation was concerned with post-1965 Filipino immigrant ethnicity in the Kalihi area of Honolulu and led me to teach and conduct research in the Philippines. I taught anthropology and sociology at a Catholic university in Manila from 1984 to 1987 and did research on various topics, including a primary health care project with the Hanunuo Mangyan cultural minority on Mindoro island. I began working at UH Manoa in 1989 as a visiting professor at the School of Public Health and was hired in the Department of Ethnic Studies in 2000.


I teach courses on Japanese in Hawai‘i, Filipinos in Hawai‘i, Asian Americans, ethnic identity, and race and ethnicity in Hawai'i. I also am an affiliate graduate faculty member of the Department of Anthropology at UH Manoa.

Course Syllabi:


My primary research interests include race and ethnicity, racialization of Asian Americans, ethnic inequality in Hawai'i, minority access to higher education, and the global Filipino diaspora. In December 2012 I completed a book manuscript with the tentative title of Race and Ethnicity: Interpreting Japanese American Experiences in Hawai'i that will be published by the University of Hawai'i Press.

My next book project will be on the execution of Myles Yutaka Fukunaga for the killing of a Haole boy in 1928.


Title: Ethnicity and Inequality in Hawai'i (2008)
ISBN: 978-159213756
Publication Information: Philadelphia: Temple University Press

Title: Imagining the Filipino American Diaspora: Transnational Relations, Identities and Communities (1998)
ISBN: 0-8153-3183-5
Publication Information: New York: Garland Publishing

Title: The Japanese American Contemporary Experience in Hawai'i (2002)
ISBN: 0-8248-2687-6
Publication Information: Social Process in Hawai'i, vol. 41

Title: Filipino American History, Identity and (2006)
Publication Information:

Title: Filipino American Access to Public Higher Education in California and Hawaii (PDF) (2013)
Publication Information:


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