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

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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war en

Nikkei View

The Legacy of the Sansei from a “Ni-hansei” perspective

When I was a kid, I used to tell people who asked what generation I was, that I was “Ni-hansei,” or second-and-a-half. That’s because although my father was a Nisei born in Hawaii (technically a Kibei because his family moved to Japan in 1940 and he was stuck there during the war, but that’s another essay), I was born in Japan.

My dad was in the US Army during the Korean war, and met my Issei mom in Hokkaido when he was stationed there. My two brothers and I were all born in Tokyo; I’m a prime ...

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media en

Nikkei View

NHK is Your Direct Line to Japanese News

The recent 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima went by quietly on American news (in part because there’s just so much news to cover exploding out of our own White House). So on August 6, I turned to the one place I knew would give the commemoration of the bombing its due coverage: NHK World, Japan’s English-language public television network.

NHK World didn’t disappoint. The network aired live the annual solemn ceremony at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park that included dignitaries Kazumi Matsui, the Mayor of Hiroshima, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The speeches were ...

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media en

Nikkei View

George Takei is the Energizer Bunny of the JA community

Like many people, and especially many Japanese Americans, I’m a big fan of George Takei. I’ve followed his career since I first saw him in the role of Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu in the original 1960s television Star Trek series and as he reprised the character in subsequent Star Trek movies in the 1970s and 1980s. Instead of fading into pop culture history after the Star Trek movies, he’s reinvented himself in both politics and pop culture, and today he’s hands-down the best-known and influential Asian American and an activist for human rights.

The Japanese American National ...

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migration en

Nikkei View

Read Who, How and Why Japanese Settled in Colorado

Most books about Japanese Americans focus on the West Coast because that’s where Japanese first arrived and settled on the US mainland.

So few well-known books tell the stories of Japanese as they crossed the country and decided to live in the mountains, or the midwest, or the northeast or the south. Yet I know of communities of JAs in New York (not surprising), Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Utah. I have JA family in Atlanta who speak with a sweet Southern drawl. I recently interviewed a JA woman in Nashville, Tennessee (who admitted the Japanese community there ...

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