This Man Gave Up His Japanese Citizenship to Become a Park Ranger at Muir Woods

Paul Myers / Parks Conservancy

It’s not everyday someone gives up their citizenship to pursue a career, but that’s exactly how Todd Hisaichi ended up a park ranger at the Muir Woods National Monument.

Originally from Osaka, Japan, Hisaichi came to America to attend college and has been an interpretive ranger coordinating volunteer activities at Muir Woods since 2014. Since Japan doesn’t allow dual citizenship for most people, he had to become a full American citizen to work at Muir Woods, a requirement for becoming a ranger in the National Park Service.

While it was a difficult decision for Hisaichi, it was the only way he could realize his dream.

“I thought, I live only once, and there might be a gift I can give to the world through this work,” he said to the Park Conservancy. “So I took a plunge.”

Although he’s no longer a Japanese citizen, being a part of the National Park Service has allowed him to learn about his ancestry. He’s had the resources to learn about the history of his grandparents in rural Japan and he met top Japanese ministers as part of a cross-Pacific park exchange program.

Forest in Muir Woods. Photo: NPS

Now, Hisaichi helps others on their path to “self discovery.”

He was able to participate in a program that connected Hopi high schoolers to their Native American history, including the elders who were imprisoned on Alcatraz in 1895. Through the Native Conservation Corps., the Hopi youth learn about the park resources at their disposal and become park ambassadors back in Arizona.

“Since I was able to live my national park dream, I’m helping people to realize their national park dreams,” said Hisaichi.

Today, Hisaichi remains a Park Ranger at Muir Woods, teaching people about the great redwoods of Northern California, as a proud American citizen.

“It has been a great honor to serve my adopted country,” he said. “I feel like I can represent Asians and other minority members in the park service. It’s been a great journey.”

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