Who is the Sephardi and who is the Ashkenazi?
This is not just a simple trivia question but rather an interesting story (I should say two very interesting stories) lies therein.
I originally thought that Rabbi Kaplan- scion of an old Sephardic family (see excerpt later) completely assmilated into the Ashkenazic (chiefly Lithuanian Yeshiva) mileu in which he was raised most of his life. Rabbi Yaakov Shaul Elyashar -on the other hand (bottom photo) was of Ashkenazic parentage; his mother remarried a Sephardic Rabbi -after his father died- who had a major influence on the young Yaakov Shaul (then all of 7). He was raised among the Sephardim eventually being appointed Chief Rabbi of the Sephardic community (Rishon Leziyyon). However, it appears that the Elyashars are of Sephardic ancestry, the only apparent Ashkenazic connection is the latter's grandmother (father's mother) who was the daughter of Rabbi Vilna (see more on this in the comments section of this post). So in conclusion, both Rabbis Elyashar and Kaplan are of mixed Sephardi-Ashkenazi parentage (Ashkefardi?).
Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan mentions his Sephardic ancestry in the introduction to his Passover Haggadah:
A number of people have inquired about the parenthesized "Carmona" after my name. This was the original family name of my paternal grandfather, Rabbi Yosef Kaplan (Carmona). The name denotes the place from which out family originated, a city in southern Spain, not far from Seville. Upon arriving in the United States around the turn of the century my grandfather changed his name to the more Ashkenazic sounding Kaplan for business reasons. (Incidentally, "kaplan" means tiger in Turkish.) Although I was educated in Ashkenazic yeshivoth such as Torah Vodaath and Mir, I have maintained a strong link with my Sephardic background. The MaAm Lo'ez project merely brings it full cycle.