Kasumi Yamashita is an Instructor for the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE), currently teaching an online course for high school students in Oita Prefecture, Japan, called Stanford e-Oita. Kasumi’s academic interests are in cultural anthropology, international education, and language technologies, and her research focuses on the Japanese diaspora in the United States and Latin America. While conducting fieldwork for her PhD in Anthropology at Harvard University, she spent a year at the University of São Paulo, as a Fulbright Scholar. She explored narrations of memory and migration, and community involvement in the emergence of Japanese diaspora museums throughout Brazil, including the Museu Histórico da Imigração Japonesa no Brasil (Historical Museum of Japanese Immigration to Brazil). Kasumi researched Nikkei Latin American communities in Japan while at Hitotsubashi University on a Japanese government scholarship. She earned an AM in Regional Studies–East Asia from Harvard University.
Kasumi received a BS in Studio Art from New York University. She was a University Scholar and spent her junior year in Spain at the Instituto Internacional in Madrid. After graduating from NYU, she taught English as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) and later worked as a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. As a CIR at Yukuhashi City Hall, Fukuoka Prefecture, she founded a Japan–U.S. student and teacher exchange program between middle schools in Yukuhashi City and the Grace Church School in New York. More than 500 students and teachers from the United States and Japan have participated in the program since she launched it in 1994. That year, she published a book of essays chronicling her experiences as a Japanese American woman in a small Japanese town, Kasumi no Yukuhashi Nikki (Kaichosha Press).
In New York, she served as a member of the local staff of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations under the leadership of Ambassador Hisashi Owada. She also served on the Executive Committee of the Convención Panamericana Nikkei (COPANI XI) in New York and has been involved in past conferences across the Americas, most recently COPANI XX in San Francisco (CA) in 2019.
Kasumi also teaches and develops web-based curricula for the Translation and Interpretation Program at Bellevue College (WA). Kasumi frequently interprets for Japanese delegations in various fields (including education, technology, international relations, film, art, and museums) and serves on the Board of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington (JCCCW).