Mia Nakaji Monnier

Mia Nakaji Monnier is a writer in Los Angeles. Her journalism and essays have appeared in BuzzFeed News, Shondaland, The Washington Post, and more. She started her career in Little Tokyo at Discover Nikkei and The Rafu Shimpo. You can find her on Twitter @miagabb and read more of her work at mianakajimonnier.com.

Updated May 2021

culture en

Japanese American National Museum Store Online

Hapa-ly Ever After: An Interview with Jeff Chiba Stearns

Growing up in the predominantly white city of Kelowna, British Columbia, Jeff Chiba Stearns felt very aware of being different from most of the people around him. Born to a Sansei mother and “Euro-mutt” father (of English, Scottish, German, and Russian descent), he was no stranger to the “What are you?” question. Over the years, Stearns continued to reflect on his cultural identity until eventually he began to illustrate his thoughts (using a process he calls “animation meditation”). The result, in 2005, was “What Are You Anyway?” an animated s…

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From Crenshaw to Deerhorn: An Interview with Nina Revoyr

My first introduction to Nina Revoyr’s writing was through her 2003 novel, Southland, a story of love, family, and hopes interrupted by forces of hysteria and racial hatred. Told from multiple perspectives during 1994, WWII, and the Watts Riots, Southland shows readers a Los Angeles of shifting borders and poignant history. All of Revoyr’s four novels share an incorporation of regional history, atmospheric prose, and complicated layers of race and sexuality that the author never treats with a heavy hand. The most remarkable aspect of Revoyr’s writing, though, is the warm,…

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identity en

Lost and Found: Amy Hill on Adoption and Identity

In the last two and a half decades, Amy Hill has owned a Hawaiian fruit stand, tried in vain to dissuade her elderly father from becoming a Japanese porn star, and provided scientific aid to a teenage secret agent. Oh, and she’s also an actress. In addition to the above roles in Lilo and Stitch, Paul Kikuchi’s Wrinkles, and the Disney Channel’s Kim Possible, Hill has appeared on Glee, Law and Order, Frasier, Seinfeld, and General Hospital. Her voice graces a range of animated films and TV shows, from American Dad to Avatar, from King of the Hill to The Cat in the Hat. She&…

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Japanese American National Museum Store Online

Generation Teas

In the Japanese American National Museum Store lives a five-generation family of teas, dressed in colorful labels, snuggling tin-to-tin on the shelf they call home. This flavorful family is the realization of Maria Kwong’s more-than-a-decade-long dream to bring custom tea to the National Museum. For Maria, the Museum’s Director of Retail & Visitor Services, it had been a dream delayed by the challenge of finding a tea company willing to produce blends in quantities small enough to suit the Museum’s needs. When Los Angeles tea retailer Chado moved into the Museum&rsquo…

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Kizuna: Nikkei Stories from the 2011 Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

Reflections on Alexandra Wallace and the "Remember Pearl Harbor" Gang

In one weekend, a video posted by UCLA student Alexandra Wallace exploded all over YouTube, spurring responses in only a matter of hours, ranging from public service announcement-type videos made by concerned fellow students to lighthearted spoofs and angry retorts—even to videos and comments more ignorant and hateful than Wallace’s original. Wallace initially posted the video on her own YouTube channel then removed it, only for it to be replaced soon after by numerous clones. The video is a rant about the “hordes of Asians that UCLA accepts into [her] school every year&r…

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