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Lily Anne Welty Tamai

Continuing Lecturer

Areas of Interest:



Rolfe Hall 3330


Lily Anne Welty Tamai earned her doctorate in History from the University of California Santa Barbara. She conducted research in Japan and in Okinawa as a Fulbright Graduate Research Fellow and was also a Ford Foundation Fellow. Her forthcoming book titled, Military Industrial Intimacy: Mixed-race American Japanese, Eugenics and Transnational Identities, documents the history of mixed-race American Japanese and American Okinawans born after World War II and raised during the post-war period. Dr. Tamai was formerly the Curator of History at the Japanese American National Museum and currently serves on the U.S. Census Bureau National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations. At UCLA she teaches Asian American Studies 20, 20W, 30W, 115, 170, and 187C (Multiracial and Multiethnic Asian Americans).

Dr. Tamai has done service for the UCLA Mixed Student Union and the UCLA Southeast Asian Admit Program. She also serves on the Japanese American Citizens League Ventura County chapter board, and as a consultant for the Ventura County Maternal Mental Health Coalition. She has previously been a consultant for Wowow Network, NHK, Fuji TV, Yumiuri Shinbun, and Madama Butterfly, by Puccini for the The Norwegian Opera (Den Norske Operaen). She is currently working on articles about the historic preservation of a segregated Japanese cemetery in Ventura County, California and another on race in the Harry Potter series.


Ph.D. and MA UC Santa Barbara
MS, CSU Northridge
BA/BS UC Santa Barbara

Research Interests

Mixed-race studies, transnational Asian Americans, public history, empire, US history, Japanese history


  • Military Industrial Intimacy: Mixed Race American Japanese, Eugenics, and Transnational Identities (University of Nebraska Press)
  • Shape Shifters: Journeys across Terrains of Race and Identity (co-editor) (University of Nebraska Press)
  • Life of a Japanese CemeteryVentura County Star Never30 Podcast (August 2018)
  • “Mixed-Race Mama” in The Beiging of America, (2Leaf Press, 2017)
  • “Mixed-Race Asian American Identity on Display”Amerasia Journal 43:2 (2017): 178-193.
  • “One of Thousands: Sus Ito’s World War II Photographs” Southern California Quarterly (Vol. 98, No. 3, pp. 297320, Fall 2016).
  • “Checking ‘Other’ Twice: Transnational Dual Minorities” in Red and Yellow, Black and Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies. eds. Paul Spickard, Rudy Guevarra and Joanne Rondilla,  (Rutgers University Press, 2017).
  • “From Kyoto to New England – A Multiracial Man’s Journey in the Post-war Period” in Hapa Japan: Constructing Global Mixed Race and Mixed Roots Japanese Identities and Representations, vol. 1. ed., Duncan Williams, (Kaya Press, 2017).
  • “Visible Lives: Post-War Mixed-Race American-Japanese” in Conjecturing Communities: The Ebbs and Flows of Japanese America in Pan-Japan: The International Journal of the Japanese Diaspora Vol. 11,  Nos. 1 & 2, 2015 ed. Lane Ryo Hirabayashi. (2015).
  • “Multiraciality and Migration: Mixed Race American Okinawans 1945-1972” in Global Mixed Race edited by Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain, et al. NYU Press (2014).


  • National Council on Public History New Professionals Award
  • Coordinating Council of Women in History Prelinger Award Finalist
  • California Association of Museums Fellow
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation, Diversity Scholar
  • The National Academies Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship
  • Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association President’s Travel Grant Association for Asian American Studies Anita Affeldt Travel Grant
  • U.S. Institute of International Education Fulbright Scholar, Japan Fellowship

Lily Anne Welty Tamai