Gwen Muranaka

Gwen Muranaka, Senior Editor, has been with The Rafu Shimpo since 2001. Prior to that, she worked in Tokyo at the Japan Times where she still contributes the weekly cartoon “Noodles.” She attended UCLA where she received a BA in English literature and also studied one year at Waseda University. Muranaka started in community newspapers as assistant editor at the Pacific Citizen.

Updated March 2021

media en

'Hit' After Hit for Ally Maki

JA actress talks Toy Story, Asian American representation and her newest project, Hit-Monkey.

Ally Maki definitely has a thing for authority figures. She memorably portrays police officers in Toy Story 4, as the bubbly, tiny Officer Giggle McDimples, the first Asian American Toy Story character, and in her newest project portraying Detective Haruka, in the Hulu Marvel series Hit-Monkey. She is also featured in the new Home Alone reboot, Home Sweet Home Alone.

Originally from Seattle, Maki was signed to Columbia Records upon arriving in Los Angeles at the age of 14 and has appeared in …

continue a ler

media en

Fighting Hatred With Song

“Your eyes tell the story of your family.” 

Through its long history, Sesame Street has addressed difficult issues, and the troubling rise in anti-Asian hatred during the COVID-19 pandemic is no different.

In the video, Filipina American Analyn, performed by Claudia Fabella, is sad because a kid at the playground makes fun of her, saying her eyes are ugly and “slanty.” Alan, played by Alan Muraoka, and Wes, a Muppet, comfort Analyn and tell her that her eyes are actually beautiful.

The poignant, gentle song, written by Elizabeth Hara, is part of a Sesame Street initiative to address issues of …

continue a ler

politics en

Obituary: Eunice Sato, 99 — First Female Mayor of Long Beach

LONG BEACH — Eunice N. Sato, the first Asian American woman to serve as mayor of a major American city, passed away of cardio-pulmonary arrest on Feb. 12, 2021. She was 99.

Sato served as mayor of Long Beach for two years in the early 1980s, the first woman to lead the city, guiding it through a period of economic turmoil. She was also a member of the Long Beach City Council, representing the 7th District, from 1975-1986. After leaving office, she continued to be active in the community for many years.

During her tenure, Long Beach went through a …

continue a ler

community en

Love is Little Tokyo: Iconic mural becomes the setting for a special engagement

Auntie Nancy would be proud.

Little Tokyo has been through much in 2020, but last Saturday was a rare moment of celebration and joy in this most difficult year. Under the “Home Is Little Tokyo” Mural Matt Consalvi got down on one knee and asked his girlfriend, Marissa Hernandez, to be his wife.

“I have no words. I’m blown away,” Marissa said, beaming, a diamond ring on her finger.

Family and friends, all wearing masks, were there to surprise the happy couple. In a special way, Nancy Kikuchi, who passed away in 2014 at 52, was there as well.

Kikuchi, …

continue a ler

community en

Kizuna 2020: Nikkei Kindness and Solidarity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Taking Flight After The Tumult

Little Tokyo and yearning for meaning and hope in the power of place.

A bird taking flight.

Little Tokyo is a small neighborhood of artists and activists, of commerce and spirituality, of parades and protests, densely layered by its long history and its proximity to the seats of power.

And so, in early June, Nihonmachi, wounded by a week of turbulence and tumult that has shaken an entire nation, took to the task of rebuilding and reforming a community. Summoning up, once again, those reserves of resiliency that have served the Japanese American community for so many generations.

Individuals, each …

continue a ler