Carol Cheh

Carol Cheh is a writer and editor based in Los Angeles. She is the founder of Another Righteous Transfer!, a blog that explores LA’s performance art scene, and Word is a Virus, an Art21 column exploring the intersection between the visual and literary arts. Her writing has appeared in LA Weekly, KCET Artbound, ArtInfo, Art Ltd, Artillery, and East of Borneo, among other outlets. (Photo courtesy of Allison Stewart.)

Updated March 2018

business en

A Visit to Otomisan, the Last Japanese Restaurant in Boyle Heights

The history of Otomisan Restaurant in Los Angeles’s Boyle Heights neighborhood is well documented in the press. It was first opened in 1956 as Otomi Café, by a couple who are remembered today only as Mr. and Mrs. Seto. At that time, Boyle Heights was a melting pot of diverse, working-class immigrant groups that included Jews, Russians, Armenians, Japanese, and Mexicans. The Japanese had begun spilling over from nearby Little Tokyo in the 1920s, at the same time that a critical mass of Jewish migration turned the neighborhood into the largest Jewish enclave west of Chicago. In its early ...

Read more

culture en

An Interview with Filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña

Renee Tajima-Peña is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker and professor of Asian American Studies at University of California, Los Angeles. Her documentary projects focus on immigrant communities, race, gender, and social justice, and have included Calavera Highway Skate Manzanar, Labor Women, My America…or Honk if You Love Buddha, and the highly influential Who Killed Vincent Chin? Tajima-Peña has been deeply involved in the Asian American independent film community as an activist, writer, and filmmaker. She was the director at Asian Cine-Vision in New York and a founding member of the Center for Asian American Media (formerly the National Asian ...

Read more

community en

An Interview with Holly Yasui

Holly Yasui is the youngest daughter of Minoru Yasui, the legendary Japanese American lawyer and civil rights activist. She is currently at work on a documentary film about the life of her father, titled Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice.

On behalf of the Japanese American National Museum, I conducted an interview with Holly Yasui on the occasion of the Los Angeles premiere of Part One of her documentary, held at the museum on July 29, 2017. Part One covers Minoru Yasui’s life up until the end of World War II; the forthcoming Part Two ...

Read more

identity en

A Young JANM Volunteer Shares Her Impressions of the 2017 Pilgrimage to Manzanar

The Japanese American National Museum recently welcomed Joy Teruko Ormseth to its volunteer ranks. Born in 2000 in Los Angeles and currently a student at Arcadia High School, Joy is, at 16 years old, one of our youngest volunteers.

This past April, museum volunteers and staff organized a bus tour to join the annual pilgrimage to the site of the American concentration camp at Manzanar, where thousands of people of Japanese ancestry were confined during World War II. Joy, who had only briefly visited Manzanar as a child, decided to join the group. She graciously agreed to an interview, in ...

Read more

culture en

Whodunit? Naomi Hirahara Draws Readers Into Japanese American History and Culture

Born and raised in Pasadena, California, Naomi Hirahara is a writer with a love of Japanese American history. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford University, Hirahara worked for many years as a writer and then the editor of The Rafu Shimpo. Among her many achievements as editor was the publication of a highly acclaimed series on inter-ethnic relations following the Rodney King riots.

In 1996, Hirahara left the newspaper to become a Milton Center Fellow in creative writing at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas. When she returned to Southern California in 1997, she began to ...

Read more