Gil Asakawa

Gil Asakawa writes about pop culture and politics from a Asian American and Japanese American perspective on his blog, www.nikkeiview.com. He and his partner also co-founded www.visualizAsian.com, where they conduct live interviews with notable Asian American Pacific Islanders. He is the author of Being Japanese American (Stone Bridge Press, 2004) and served as the Pacific Citizen's editorial board chair for seven years as a JACL national board member.

Updated November 2009

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Kizuna: Nikkei Stories from the 2011 Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

Five Years after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

I can still remember March 11, 2011, the night of the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which devastated a huge swath of northeast Japan, as if it were last week.

It was just before midnight in Denver when I got an alert on my phone. An earthquake had been reported off the eastern coast of Japan. I turned on CNN and watched in horror for the next couple of hours as the footage came in. I saw the tsunami rolling over farmlands and crash into cities, carrying with it buildings and cars and ships. I saw footage of …

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Nikkei View

Building bridges with the Muslim community

Late last year, Erin and I were lucky enough to travel to New York City to see the Broadway musical Allegiance starring George Takei. It’s a story about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and it vividly and powerfully brings to life the emotional toll of the experience on JAs for generations since then. I wrote about the play and interviewed Takei and others for AARP’s AAPI Community.

Two nights after attending the show and while we were still in New York, the Paris attacks happened. The next day, we had scheduled a visit to the 9/11 …

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George Takei’s Allegiance Is A Timely Historical Musical For Today - Part 2

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After interviewing Takei and thoroughly researching the WWII incarceration, Kuo, Thione, and Marc Acito wrote the book and Kuo composed the music and wrote the lyrics for Allegiance, which debuted in San Diego in 2012. The current Broadway version has evolved since then, with fewer principal roles, different songs, and changes in the script.

“We had to tell the story of not just one camp, but of 10 camps,” said Jay Kuo in an interview. “Not everything that happened in those camps happened at Heart Mountain. But, all the things we portrayed did happen in …

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George Takei’s Allegiance Is a Timely Historical Musical For Today - Part 1

After a November performance at the Longacre Theatre in New York’s fabled Broadway district, AARP members were invited for a “talkback” with George Takei and other cast members answering questions about their powerful musical, Allegiance. (NOTE: This post was originally uploaded to the AARP AAPI Community Facebook page.)

“I remember we started the school day, each day, with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. I could see the barbed wire fence and the sentry tower right outside my school house window as I recited the words, ‘with liberty, and justice for all.’”

Takei recalled his experience as …

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RIP George “Joe” Sakato

I was saddened to hear of the passing of George “Joe” Sakato, a Denver resident who was a World War II hero, a veteran of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team/100th Battalion that fought in Europe during World War II. He was 94 years old. Adele Arakawa of 9News broadcast a moving tribute to Joe that’s worth viewing.

“We were fighting prejudice in the States…and fighting the Germans in Europe,” he told Arakawa in 2013.

The last time I saw Joe (he preferred everyone call him Joe) was during the annual Japanese American community’s Nisei Veterans’ Memorial Day Service at …

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