Ramona Bajema earned her doctorate (PhD) degree in Modern Japanese History from Columbia University in 2012. Her dissertation topic was on Japanese artists like Kuniyoshi Yasuo, Ishigaki Eitaro, and others, who were active in the United States before World War II. Her research included exploring the limits of cosmopolitanism, national aesthetics, and artists’ engagement with leftist political movements. She is currently rewriting this dissertation to prepare for publication. Bajema also received a Master of Arts in International Relations and Japan Studies from the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in 2004.
Bajema’s next project will address Okamoto Taro’s artwork, writings, and design. She will also conduct a research project on the interaction between Mexican and Japanese artists in the 20th century.
In April 2011, Ramona Bajema joined the AmeriCares emergency response team to oversee a recovery program for Tohoku disaster support following the triple disaster. The program oversaw the disbursement of $8.8 million for the rehabilitation of medical services, building facilities for people with disabilities, funding psychosocial programs, and other support projects in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures. Bajema developed projects with over 100 different Japanese international non-governmental organizations and locally based non-profit groups.
In addition to her Japan studies, Bajema has also written for California-based publications about environmental and labor conditions in agriculture.