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: www.nikkeiview.com

Updated January 2022

identity en

Nikkei View

Pop culture including J-pop builds bridges between Japan and the US

I’m a fan of anime and manga, although I don’t actually follow the zillions of comics or animated series and movies, because they’re instrumental in building bridges between Japan and the United States. I’ve spoken with eager young Caucasian anime fans in full cosplay (dressed in costumes playing the part of their favorite anime characters) who said they’re taking Japanese classes, and are planning on Japanese Studies in college, because they love anime so much.

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That’s some powerful tug on the hearts and minds of our country’s future leaders.

And anime and manga are just the most …

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food en

Nikkei View

Japanese Americans, Chinese food and our sense of community

Mmmmm. Chinese food. Just thinking about Lao Wang Noodle House in Denver, which I swear serves the best dumplings in the universe (it’s where the photo below was taken) gets my mouth watering. It’s a tiny hole-in-the-wall tucked into a tiny strip mall along the South Federal Asian strip of mostly Vietnamese eateries. It’s run by an elderly couple who can be cranky (“We’re closed,” we were told gruffly on one visit even though they were supposed to be open another hour) but who hand-make dumplings that are to die for. The food is authentic, and no-frills, like the service. …

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community en

Nikkei View

2012 was a good year for Denver’s Japanese and Japanese American community

This was a good year for Japanese and Japanese Americans in Colorado. A lot of the credit goes to Ikuhiko Ono, the Consul General who came to Denver late last year, and has made a concerted effort to reach out to the local JA community.

Previous Consul Generals have invited local JA leaders to the official residence for private dinners and to special receptions and events, including an annual reception at a downtown Denver hotel to mark the birthday of Emperor Akihito, celebrated December 23 as a national holiday in Japan on his actual birthday.

The birthday reception is a …

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community en

Nikkei View

Why are there no Asian Santa Clauses?

I just had an interesting phone conversation with Leo Duran, a producer at KPCC public radio in Los Angeles, about a burning issue the media must address: Why are there no Asian Santa Clauses?

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Granted, the image that immediately springs to mind when you say “Santa” is a big fat white man with rosy cheeks, a bushy white beard and a twinkle in his eye, who guffaws “Ho! Ho! Ho!” at the drop of a pointy red hat with a puffy white snowball at the end. But I’ve seen black Santas, and Hispanic Santas. I’ve even seen women in …

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food en

Nikkei View

Rice and tea have been and always will be mainstays of Asian culture

I’m not much of a churchgoer, but I’ve attended and volunteered at events at both the Denver Buddhist Temple, and the Simpson Methodist Church, which are both focal points of the local Japanese and Japanese American communities. A couple of weeks ago, I was part of the Mile High JACL‘s Fall Festival team, and spent a long day cooking (and cleaning) at Simpson Methodist Church.

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Both churches hold lots of cultural events, and like any church or temple probably throughout the world, both have fully-equipped kitchens. As we prepped for the food orders to come in, I realized …

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