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

media en

Nikkei View

Godzilla, the world’s most famous Japanese American

Although Hollywood has been making monster movies since the original 1933 King Kong, the monster with the most staying power and screen incarnations didn’t come out of California, but from Tokyo. Godzilla is back with another cinematic reboot produced by Hollywood featuring the usual array of mega-special effects, including a digitized monster instead of a man in a monster suit. Whether costumed or computer-generated, Godzilla is the most famous Japanese American in the world. He’s starred in 28 movies, stomping his way through cities on both sides of the Pacific. [inline:godzi…

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identity en

Nikkei View

Why Asian Americans hate hearing “Where are you from?”

This has been a good week for sometimes contentious but bracing conversations on Facebook. The latest one started when I posted a link to an excellent Forbes article by Ruchika Tulshyan titled “‘Where Are You From?’ And Other Big Networking Racial Faux Pas” [inline:gil_gary_iwakuni_1965.jpg] The article raises the oft-aired complaint by Asian Americans that asking “Where are you from?” (sometimes linked to the even more irritating “You speak English so well…”) is a social, racial no-no. I certainly can’t argue with that. I’…

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Nikkei View

When JAs say “camp” they’re not talking about summer camp

It’s a rite of greeting among older Japanese Americans. I’ve seen it happen over and over—one JA is introduced to another, and if they’re old enough, the first question they ask of each other is, “what camp were you at?” [inline:amachemuseum.jpg] We all know that “camp” in the context of Japanese Americans has nothing to do with summer camp. These people are not being nostalgic about singing “Kumbaya” around the campfire, hopping along in potato sack races (maybe it would be rice sack races?), and learning how to “rough it&rd…

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culture en

Nikkei View

Seeing “Snow Falling on Cedars” on Pearl Harbor Day underscored its message

Many Japanese Americans who’ve grown up since World War II—myself included—dreaded December 7 every year. As kids (and sometimes as adults) we’ve been taunted with hateful calls to “Go home, Jap!,” “Go back where you came from!,” and the classic, “Remember Pearl Harbor!” As if we could forget. The war happened decades ago, and as Japanese Americans we had nothing to do with the attack on the U.S. military on Hawaii that sparked America’s entry into WWII. Hell, today, most people in Japan had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor. Y…

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business en

Nikkei View

Nagomi Visit introduces Japanese culture to visitors through home-cooked meals

There’s no getting around it: one of the most reliable ways to generate international friendship and cultural understanding is through the stomach. Diversity in dining is a reflection of an evolving society. Just think of a typical American culinary palette of the 1950s: Pot roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, spinach boiled to drab green mush, creamed corn. Your plate was all white and tan, with maybe a green highlight or two (it helped if you had an iceberg lettuce salad on the side). The one bright spot, color-wise, might have been a jiggling red blob of Jell-O for dessert. [inline:nago…

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