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

The Ai Kuwabara Trio Project brought a delicious taste of Japanese jazz to Denver

We recently were privileged to enjoy a concert of contemporary jazz by a vibrant young group from Japan, the Ai Kuwabara Trio Project. Simply put, the combo rocked the joint at the King Center for the Performing Arts at the Auraria campus. The auditorium was full for the free performance, and I bet everyone there were blown away. [inline:aikuwabaratrioproject_sm.jpg] Pianist Kuwabara is impossibly young for such an astonishingly assured and accomplished musician and composer. She’s a mere 23 years old, but she and her bassist and musical partner Yusuke Morita have already released two…

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Nikkei View

“Hawaii Five-0” airs powerful episode about Pearl Harbor & imprisonment of Japanese Americans during WWII

We’re fans of the CBS series “Hawaii Five-0” for lots of reasons, including the fact that it’s a showcase for Asian and Pacific Islander actors such as Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park, and the entertaining “bromance” relationship between Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danny “Danno” Williams (Scott Caan). I always loved the original series that ran from 1968-1980, and think it’s great that this reboot uses pretty much the same arrangement for the theme song, and even uses quick-cut images that evoke the look and feel of the intr…

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war en

Nikkei View

Japanese Americans deserve some respect on Veterans Day

At our local supermarket the weekend before Veterans Day, veterans were handing out little red poppies to pin on passersby’s lapels as tributes to generations of war dead (it’s a reference to John McCrae’s 1915 WWI poem, “In Flanders Fields”). I thanked the vet for giving me one and was heading in to shop when a scruffy-looking guy came up and growled that I was supposed to pay for the poppies. I stammered as he walked away that I was going to give some change on my way out, but the man who gave me the poppy shook his head and said there was no donation require…

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culture en

Nikkei View

“Voice” star Judith Hill’s cultural mashup combines African American & Japanese upbringing with artistic talent

I was lucky enough to see Judith Hill perform in Los Angeles during the 2010 convention of the Asian American Journalists Association, when she played a set for opening night. Hill had a unique story as a performer: the daughter of an African American father and Japanese mother who are both professional musicians, she earned a degree in music composition. She woodshedded in France in 2007. Hill’s professional breakthrough was supposed to be as Michael Jackson’s duet partner for the “This Is It” tour. Yes, that’s the tour that never happened because of Jackson&rs…

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food en

Nikkei View

Is it racist to want sushi chefs to be Japanese?

Recently a Seattle sushi restaurant, Mashiko, posted an open letter on its website saying that people who criticize the restaurant for having non-Japanese employees sushi are bigots. “Stop being an ignorant racist,” the letter said, after noting that the restaurant is Japanese-owned and there are Japanese as well as non-Japanese staff. The letter also defends one of the restaurant’s most popular chefs, a Caucasian woman, who’s worked there for 12 years and has a loyal and devoted following. “Should you refuse her fare based on her gender or race, you are an abs…

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