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:

Updated January 2022

community en

This Year’s Pilgrimage to Amache Will Be Very, Very Special

Every year on the Saturday before Labor Day Weekend, people converge in southeast Colorado to visit Amache, the camp where 9,000 people of Japanese descent were incarcerated during World War II. This annual pilgrimage started in 1975, organized by Denver activists Marge Taniwaki and Russell Endo. It’s always an inspiring journey, which starts at the site of the concentration camp and ends at nearby Granada School, where community leaders and the amazing students of the Amache Preservation Society at the school welcome and feed the visitors and give presentations. There’s a ceremo…

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Asian representation: It’s getting better, but still has ages-old challenges

Japanese Americans and the wider Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities are seeing more of ourselves reflected in pop culture these days, but the high arts has a ways to go. It’s important to recognize the ongoing challenges of representation, because they affect our view of ourselves and our community. The past year-and-a-half has seen a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes across the United States, thanks to fanning of the racism sparked the covid-19 pandemic. And yet, Asians have become more and more a part of the American cultural fabric. Through arts and enter…

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Finally, a salute to WWII Nisei soldiers

It took 15 years, but the US Postal Service (USPS) this past June released a Forever stamp that memorializes the “Go For Broke” 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Nisei soldiers of World War II who served in Europe and became the most highly decorated unit in the history of the US military for their size and length of service. The Pacific Citizen newspaper reported last year on the approval for the stamp, which was the result of a decade-and-a-half of work by a volunteer trio of women who founded the Stamp Our Story Campaign in 2005, as well as&n…

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Nikkei View

Tokyo’s Second Olympics Will Be Forever Remembered for Its Unique Circumstances

As I write this, the “2020” Tokyo Olympic Games are just two weeks away. It’s the second time the summer games have been held in Japan. I was a kid living in Japan when Tokyo hosted its first Olympics, from October 10-24, 1964. It was a big deal for all Japanese, and for me and my family—a Hawaii-born Nisei dad working for the US Army, my Issei mom from Hokkaido and my older brother and me (a younger brother would be born Oct. 29, less than a week after the games’ closing). I was six years old, and aware that the Olympics were really important for Japan. World W…

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

Dreaming of travel to Japan

During the last week of October, there was a lot on my mind, including Covid-19 and the ongoing pandemic, and of course the November U.S. elections. But I also found myself at a moment in time, looking back one year that week to a 2019 family trip to Japan, and looking forward to next year with the hopes that we’ll be able to return. Longtime readers know I was born in Japan and moved to the U.S. when I was a kid. You also know that I always advocate for Americans – and especially Japanese Americans – to travel to Japan. I’m pretty familiar with the country, and I&rsq…

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