Duane T. Ebata, the artistic director of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles, has died.
Ebata, who had been on medical leave from the center for the last nine months, died Thursday of cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 49.
Born in Hawaii but raised in Southern California, Ebata graduated from Cal State Long Beach in 1975 and taught in the equal opportunity program there from 1979 to 1984.
He joined the Japanese American center in 1984 as operations manager of the Japan America Theatre, for which he served as general manager from 1986 to 1989. He became managing director of the center in 1989, a post he held until 1998.
For the past two years, he had been responsible for Japanese American and Asian Pacific Islander programming, as well as partnerships with other cultural institutions.
Ebata was also instrumental in bringing Japanese taiko--or drum ensembles--to the stage, and he helped bring the 1997 and 1999 North American Taiko Conference to the cultural center.
A frequent lecturer on Japanese American performing arts, he served on panels for groups such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. He was also a board member of the Assn. of Performing Arts Presenters and the Western Alliance of Arts Administrators.
Ebata is survived by his wife, Donna, and daughters Lindsay and Lauren. The funeral will be Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Senshin Buddhist Temple, 1311 West 37th St., Los Angeles.