Mia Nakaji Monnier

Mia Nakaji Monnier is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor. She was born in California to a Japanese mother and American father, and has lived in eleven different cities and towns, including Kyoto, Japan; small town Vermont; and suburban Texas. To contact her or see more of her work, visit mianakajimonnier.com

Updated July 2015

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Neither One Nor The Other: Why I Love Being Mixed-Race

I love those parts that seem incompatible but that, in a person, come together.

During my first week of college, I met a guy who, like me, had a long, four-part name. When I told him mine, he said, “Mine are better because they all match.”

This guy wasn’t exactly representative of my classmates at this New England liberal arts college. He was pretty obnoxious, and our friendship ended right along with freshman orientation. But he had a point. His name did match. It was a nice, genteel name, the kind you could transplant out of the 21st century ...

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The Rumpus Interview With Yumi Sakugawa - Part 2

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Rumpus: Besides the monsters, it seems like a lot of people in your comics are Asian American or Japanese American based on how they look or what they’re eating, or in Cassie’s case, her last name, but it’s usually something that’s in the background, not being explicitly discussed. Is that anything that you ever did explicitly explore in your art, or is identity something that you like to leave in the background and not necessarily spend a whole comic discussing?

Sakugawa: I guess one Asian American comic I did was about this Japanese ...

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The Rumpus Interview With Yumi Sakugawa - Part 1

In Yumi Sakugawa’s breakout comic, I Think I Am in Friend-Love with You, a one-eyed monster pines for a faceless creature. The pair look something like Cousin It and a soft-bodied Stormtrooper—ageless, genderless, of unrecognizable species—but their story resonated with readers around the world, so much so that the free webcomic was republished in hardcover form.

Since that first book came out in 2013, Sakugawa has contributed comics to sites, including The Rumpus, and self-published several zines, two of which were compiled into a second book, called Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe, in ...

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Nina Revoyr On Writing About Race and the Mountains - Q&A: Mixed-Race Japanese American Writer Discusses Her Latest Novel, "Lost Canyon"

I’ll always have a special love for Nina Revoyr’s writing. Her 2003 novel, Southland, was the first book I ever encountered by a mixed-race Japanese American woman, not to mention one, like me, with a French last name and a face not obviously Asian. Born in Japan, Revoyr spent part of her childhood in Tokyo and Wisconsin, but most of her books take place in Los Angeles, where she has spent most of her life. She writes about the city with compassion and a sharp eye for detail, paying attention to people and neighborhoods often left out of ...

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Nikkei Chronicles #4 — Nikkei Family: Memories, Traditions, and Values

What Meeting My Long-lost Uncle Taught Me About Family

Until I went to Japan, I’d talked to my uncle only twice: once when my Japanese grandmother died, and again when my grandfather did.

Only two people regularly called the house and spoke in Japanese, and I knew both their voices well: the elderly one was my great-aunt; the younger one with a British accent was Mayumi, an old friend of my mom’s, who Anglicized her name herself, as “Muh-you-me.” So when the “moshi-moshi”—that special phone version of “hello”—came across the line in a deep voice that sounded thoroughly Japanese without a hint of California breeziness ...

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