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No other magazine like Giant Robot

Giant Robot was something completely different in terms of content, no one ever did anything like our magazine, and I think it’s been said among distributors, because I’ve spoken with distributors in like Tennessee for example, like huge distributors and they’re just saying, you know, Giant Robot, something like this has never existed, no one really understands what it is, but as we keep going and releasing more issues, they slowly picked it up, and if they don’t understand it, they at least respect it, because the numbers show, you know, because we make the sales. So, I think that’s kind of the whole key, is that over time it’s worked, so even the back wood hic in North Carolina or something, would still, they’d understand the publication a little bit, they just know that it sells, so I think that’s the whole key.

Giant Robot publications

Date: November 27, 2005

Location: California, US

Interviewer: John Esaki and Janice Tanaka

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Eric Nakamura is co-founder and publisher of Giant Robot magazine. He is a Sansei (third generation Japanese American) from Los Angeles, California who grew up in a typical Japanese American household. He attended Japanese school on Saturdays where he learned the basic traditions of Japanese culture. It also played a large role in his identification as Japanese American.

After graduating from University of California at Los Angeles in East Asian Studies, Nakamura worked at Larry Flynt Publications. While working there, he had an idea for publishing a magazine focused on Asian pop culture in the U.S. In 1994, Nakamura and co-founder Martin Wong photocopied and stapled the first edition of Giant Robot. What began as a zine with a distribution of 240 copies has grown into a full-fledged magazine with an increasingly international fan base.

Nakamura has built on the success of Giant Robot with stores in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco selling imported art goods from Japan. The stores exhibit artwork from local up-and-coming artists. There’s also a restaurant called gr/eats.

In addition to his work with Giant Robot, Nakamura also made a film called Sunsets and is involved in other projects. For his creative cultural contributions in the United States, he was honored the Award of Excellence by the Japanese American National Museum in 2006. (October 26, 2006)

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