Gil Asakawa

Gil Asakawa writes about pop culture and politics from a Asian American and Japanese American perspective on his blog, www.nikkeiview.com. He and his partner also co-founded www.visualizAsian.com, where they conduct live interviews with notable Asian American Pacific Islanders. He is the author of Being Japanese American (Stone Bridge Press, 2004) and served as the Pacific Citizen's editorial board chair for seven years as a JACL national board member.

Updated November 2009

community en

Nikkei View

When Family Caregiving Isn’t Enough for Your Parent

My brother Glenn and I moved my mom from her house in Lafayette, Colorado, last month to live in a memory care facility nearby. She’s had dementia for a long time, and it’s gotten noticeably worse for the past couple of years. I’m still sorting through how it felt to take her out of her house, and how it feels now.

Junko Asakawa was born and raised in Nemuro, a small fishing town in the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. She grew up in the pre-war years, and was even crowned “Miss Nemuro” when she was a ...

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food en

Nikkei View

Rock and Roll and Ramen: Lessons in Appropriation vs Appreciation

My friends (and anyone who follows my social media “food porn” photos) know that I’m a snob about Japanese food. I have strong opinions on the best tonkatsu fried pork cutlets, real vs. fake sushi and Japanese restaurants staffed by non-Japanese who can’t pronounce menu items correctly. And, because I love ramen, I hate bad ramen—and in Denver bad ramen is much more common than the good stuff.

That doesn’t mean I won’t pick up a tray of sushi at a supermarket, or dine at Japanese restaurants that aren’t owned or run by Japanese ...

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war en

Nikkei View

A Salute to Our JA Veterans

When the word “veterans” comes up in conversations within the Japanese American community, I suspect most of the time the image the word conjures is a picture of Nisei soldiers of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team fighting during World War II.

More and more people might think of the Military Intelligence Service, the lesser-known group of Nisei who served bravely during WWII in the Pacific, island-hopping with General Douglas MacArthur and then helped as interpreters in the US Occupation of Japan. So many of the MIS kept mum about their experience because the government demanded secrecy about their ...

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Nikkei View

On writing about the JA community

I started my writing career as a music critic and became a journalist with jobs at various mainstream media newspapers and later, websites, and wasn’t much concerned with covering the Japanese, Japanese American, or Asian American Pacific Islander communities or issues.

I became curious about my roots when my father was diagnosed with lung cancer in the early ‘90s, but it wasn’t until a few years later before I started writing about being Japanese American. I met my wife, who is Sansei, in the late ‘90s and one of the first things she said to me was that ...

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culture en

Nikkei View

The Little Exile is a terrific addition to the JA reading list

The historical story of the Japanese American incarceration during World War II is still not well-known in mainstream American culture and literature. When it comes to books, there are only a handful of books that are based on Japanese Americans’ wartime experience. After the groundbreaking, angry No-No Boy by John Okada in 1957, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston’s Farewell to Manazanar was the first well-known memoir in 1973 (and made better-known because of its 1976 TV movie adaptation). The 1994 novel Snow Falling on Cedars is the most famailiar to non-JA audiences (again, because of the 1999 Oscar-nominated Hollywood film version ...

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