Gil Asakawa

Gil Asakawa is a journalist, editor, author, and blogger who covers Japan, Japanese American and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) culture and social justice issues in blogs, articles, and social media. He is a nationally-known speaker, panelist, and expert on Japanese American and Asian American history and identity. He’s the author of Being Japanese American (Stone Bridge Press) and his next book, Tabemasho! Let’s Eat! (Stone Bridge Press), a history of Japanese food in America which will be published in 2022. His blog: nikkeiview.com

Updated January 2022

media en

Nikkei View

Learning about Asian Americans through Pop Culture

Pop culture can be a mirror that reflects the issues and values of its time—for good and bad. For instance, Hollywood initially embraced Asians, and two of the early film era’s biggest stars were Los Angeles-born Chinese American Anna May Wong and Japanese-born Sessue Hayakawa. Anna May Wong is now featured on a quarter; Sessue Hayakawa is probably best remembered today for The Bridge over the River Kwai. But as the 20th century progressed, Hollywood began casting white actors with eyes taped back and “yellowface” makeup on their faces to play Asian r…

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food en

Sake to me, baby

Nancy Matsumoto readily admits she’s a lightweight when drinking alcohol. “It’s ironic, that I wrote this,” she says. Matsumoto co-wrote Exploring the World of Japanese Craft Sake: Rice, Water, Earth with Michael Tremblay (Tuttle). It’s the latest in a number of book collaborations, including Displaced: Manzanar 1942–1945—The Incarceration of Japanese Americans and an upcoming book, By the Shore of Lake Michigan, in which she served as editor for a translation of a collection of her grandparents’ Japanese tanka poetry. Matsumoto is a pro…

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community en

Nikkei View

I’m so disappointed to see stereotyped snack packaging in my supermarket

Racial stereotypes used to be part of the American consumer landscape – everywhere you turned there was a depiction, playful caricature or a ghastly exaggerated image of a person of color on commercials and ads on television or publications, or on packaging on store shelves. But if nothing else, the recent years of anti-racism protests in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and the many Black men and women before him and since, has awakened mainstream Americans and the media and institutions that serve them and let them know in no uncertain terms that racial images are no longer acc…

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community en

This Year’s Pilgrimage to Amache Will Be Very, Very Special

Every year on the Saturday before Labor Day Weekend, people converge in southeast Colorado to visit Amache, the camp where 9,000 people of Japanese descent were incarcerated during World War II. This annual pilgrimage started in 1975, organized by Denver activists Marge Taniwaki and Russell Endo. It’s always an inspiring journey, which starts at the site of the concentration camp and ends at nearby Granada School, where community leaders and the amazing students of the Amache Preservation Society at the school welcome and feed the visitors and give presentations. There’s a ceremo…

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community en

Asian representation: It’s getting better, but still has ages-old challenges

Japanese Americans and the wider Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities are seeing more of ourselves reflected in pop culture these days, but the high arts has a ways to go. It’s important to recognize the ongoing challenges of representation, because they affect our view of ourselves and our community. The past year-and-a-half has seen a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes across the United States, thanks to fanning of the racism sparked the covid-19 pandemic. And yet, Asians have become more and more a part of the American cultural fabric. Through arts and enter…

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