Koji Steven Sakai

Koji Steven Sakai has written four feature films that have been produced, Haunted Highway (2006), The People I’ve Slept With (2009), Monster & Me (2012), and #1 Serial Killer (2012). He also served as a producer on The People I’ve Slept With and #1 Serial Killer. His feature length screenplay, Romeo, Juliet & Rosaline, was optioned by Amazon Studios. Koji’s debut novel, Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies, was released by Luthando Coeur, the fantasy imprint of Zharmae Publishing Press in February of 2015.

Updated March 2015

identity en

Koji's Column

When I was a Kid…

When I was a kid, I remember thinking the world was almost perfect. I assumed that by the time I became an adult, we would have solved all the major problems humanity has ever faced – sickness, war, poverty, and racism.

At the time, racism was only a concept to me. I mean, I knew that it happened. I knew that in the past people hated other people because of something totally arbitrary such as race. But not anymore, right?

The first time I realized I was wrong was on a car trip with my family. I was sitting in some ...

Read more

identity en

Koji's Column

Are you a true JA?

Since I’m yonsei (fourth generation) and work at the Japanese American National Museum, I’ve been asked on many occasions to explain what it means to be Japanese American (JA). I’ve always struggled with this. How do you explain an entire culture without boring the questioner to death? How do you define a culture without it sounding trite? How do you talk about anything Asian without making it exotic?

In my quest to find out what it meant to be JA, I began to question whether or not I was a true JA myself. Talk about an identity ...

Read more

identity en

Koji's Column

A Japanese American Writer’s Perspective on Writing

Is it okay for a person who is non-Japanese American to write about the Japanese American (JA) experience? My immediate reaction is no. I’m sick of other people writing my history and stories. I’m sick of having my culture hijacked, even by those who have the best of intentions.

Can a person who is non-Japanese American capture what it is like to be Japanese American in a true and authentic way? My immediate reaction again is no. They can try to put themselves in my shoes but ultimately they could never fully know what it means to be ...

Read more

identity en

Koji's Column

Marrying Japanese

My mother has given me a preference list on which races I should/could marry. First on that illustrious list is Japanese. Since my mother is Japanese, she wants to make sure she has someone to speak to when she’s old and forgets English. Next is Caucasian, because according to her if my wife isn’t Japanese (what a disappointment I would be) the best she can hope for is beautiful grandchildren. Chinese is third. She prefers wealthy girls from Taiwan and Hong Kong to those from the Mainland. After that, it’s a slippery slope she doesn’t ...

Read more

identity en

Koji's Column

Sticks and Stones

For the last year I have been working on a feature length screenplay that deals with Asian American identity. During my research I went online to look for all the racial slurs people use to express their hatred of Asian/Asian Americans. The sheer number of them took me by surprise. Here is a small sampling of what I found:

Ching Chong. Chink. Jap. Nip. Oriental. Gook. Hapa. Yellow. Yigger. Chigger. Mongoloid. Ping-pong. Slop. Slopehead. Slopy. Slopey. Twinkie. Zipperhead. Chinee. Chinky. Beef Patty. Coin Slot. Charlie. Chinaman. Azn. Banana. Jappo. Egg. Asian Fetish. Darkie. FOB. Coolie. Floss. Nuprin. Dental Floss ...

Read more