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

What are words worth: Hapa, Hafu, or Mixed-Race?

I’ve recently finished writing revisions for a new edition of my book, Being Japanese American: A JA Sourcebook for Nikkei, Hapa…& Their Friends, which will be published this June by Stone Bridge Press. I mention this not just to pimp the book to you all (speaking of which, you can pre-order the book now), but because I wrote in the new foreword how I have decided not to use the word “hapa,” at least for now. Instead, I wrote that I’ll use “mixed race” instead. Hapa is a word originally used in Hawaii to describe mixed-race people, like half-A…

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media en

Nikkei View

“Fresh Off the Boat” could be the tipping point on TV for Asian Americans

There’s a new ABC sitcom being aired starting in February that I can hardly wait to see. I’m hoping Fresh Off the Boat will finally be a show where I can see people like me acting the way my family acts, with funny American situations but filtered through an Asian cultural perspective. I expect it’ll be a moment of critical mass for Asians on the U.S. pop consciousness. It’s about time. As a baby boomer, I grew up with very few Asian Americans on television. Few enough that everyone stood out. Even until recent years, my wife and I would point to the TV everytime we …

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education en

Nikkei View

The Students Protesting For Their High School History Curriculum Are Fighting For JAs, Too

I grew up as part of a generation that found our collective voice in protest, for African American civil rights, against the war in Vietnam, and to advocate for women’s and LGBT rights and Asian American studies. College students have been at the forefront of many of these social movements. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee was a cornerstone of the civil rights movement. College students led the free speech movement at the University of California at Berkeley, and the left-wing Students for a Democratic Society was formed at the University of Michigan. Students led protest…

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identity en

Nikkei View

If You Have These Things You Must Be JA

All the Japanese Americans I know have all sorts of ways to show their cultural roots. It may not be evident when you meet them, but the signs are there, in their homes. When I was a kid living in Japan, it never occurred to me that the stuff in our house was…well, Japanese. And when we moved to the U.S., we took a lot of our stuff with us—folding screens, small artworks, dolls, dishware, pottery, chopsticks, and cooking utensils, and a lot more. Once we moved into a suburban Northern Virginia home in the mid-1960s, we set about fitting in to our all-American Wonder Years lif…

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food en

Nikkei View

Growing Up with Stinky, Slimy, Altogether Wonderful Japanese Food

I’m a foodie. Everyone knows this. I write about food, I take photos of food everywhere I dine, I love to cook, and I love food from everywhere. One of my personal rules has always been if someone, somewhere in the world eats it, I’m willing to try it…at least once. So I’ve had chocolate covered ants. Fried grubs. The meat of some strange animals that you wouldn’t think humans ought to eat, like rattlesnake brats. [inline:natto.jpg] In a way, I was prepared for this gastronomic open-mindedness (open-stomachness?) by growing up Japanese. I was raised in Japan …

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