Gil Asakawa

Gil Asakawa escribe sobre la cultura pop y la política en su blog desde una perspectiva asiático-americana y japonés-americana, Él y su pareja también cofundaron, en donde realizan entrevistas en vivo con asiático-americanos e isleños del Pacífico notables. Es el autor de Being Japanese American (Stone Bridge Press, 2004) y fue presidente de la junta editorial del Pacific Citizen por siete años como miembro de la junta nacional JACL.

Última actualización en noviembre de 2009

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Happy New Year, Japanese-style

Unlike other Asian cultures, the Japanese don’t celebrate Lunar New Year. Instead, they celebrate the Western calendar New Year, January 1, and some of the special holiday traditions have been handed down to Japanese Americans over the past century.

Japanese New Year’s traditions are different from Western (or at least, American) ones: First of all, New Year’s Eve isn’t the big holiday, and the focus isn’t on partying and waiting until midnight on Dec. 31 to watch the Times Square ball slide down, or to see fireworks or make hearty toasts. A lot of us do, because we go to …

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Memorial for Colo. Gov. Ralph Carr dedicated

Ralph Carr, the man who served as governor of Colorado at the start of World War II, had been largely forgotten for decades. But thanks to an effort by the Asian Pacific Bar Association (APABA) and a biography by journalist Adam Schrager, Carr’s making a comeback in Colorado, and his legacy is finally getting its due, with a fine biography, a stretch of Highway 285 named in his honor, and now, a memorial to Carr’s legacy at Kenosha Pass.


On December 12, representatives of Denver’s Japanese American community, APABA, and CDOT assembled at a scenic overlook just a …

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History in the Northwest

11:00 a.m.

Here I sit in my rental car, mere yards from the water. I’m waiting for the Bainbridge Island Ferry in Seattle—I missed the last one by just seconds and the next one leaves in an hour.


Bainbridge Island is the place captured poetically in the book and movie, “Snow Falling on Cedars” (which means, come to think of it, that it snows in Seattle, at least sometimes).

A generation of Japanese Americans settled there in the early part of the 20th century. And, those Japanese Americans and their families were rounded up and railroaded to Manzanar, one …

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Reiko Rizzuto’s “Hiroshima in the Morning” is a powerful memoir - Part 2

>> Part 1

I emailed Rizzuto, who’s now a teacher at Goddard College in Vermont, where she teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing program, to see if I could ask several questions about her and the book. Here are excerpts from her responses:


1. Are you going by Reiko now instead of Rahna? (I noticed that in some places she’s called “Reiko” where in the past she’d gone by “Rahna”)

The name change, though it suits me and I am happy with it, was kind of an accident. When I came back from Japan, I was in total …

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Reiko Rizzuto’s “Hiroshima in the Morning” is a powerful memoir - Part 1

The media are reporting on how Muslim Americans are braced for attacks this weekend, because of the 9/11 anniversary. I know what that’s like, unfortunately, though not on the scale of violence and hatred Muslims are facing today.

It’s a sad commentary on the state of American “patriotism” that Japanese Americans still get nervous every December 7 because we grew up with racial slurs of “go home, Japs” and “Remember Pearl Harbor!”

Such are the deep emotional scars that form after a national trauma, and ethnicity and religion add layers of fear and complexity. It’s understandable in a way, but …

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