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

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APA Spotlight

Frank Abe of Conscience and the Constitution

The generally accepted Japanese American narrative goes something like this: We came to this country. There was discrimination. Then Pearl Harbor happened. We went peacefully to the concentration camps and then while there we remained docile and peaceful. Some fought bravely in Europe and helped win the respect of the country which 50 years later resulted in reparations and an official apology.

While a lot of that is true, there was also a group of people in the 1940s that decided to fight for not only their rights but for all Americans. They questioned the constitutionality of what was going ...

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APA Spotlight

Mari Watanabe, Executive Director, Oregon Nikkei Endowment

Mari Watanabe is the Executive Director of the Oregon Nikkei Endowment (ONE), a non-profit that preserves the history and culture of the Japanese Americans in Oregon. Prior to joining ONE, Ms. Watanabe worked for 25 years in the apparel field with major brand labels where her work took her primarily to Asia, Europe and Central America. Since transitioning to work in the non-profit field and ONE in July 2008, she has she has expanded the educational focus to a more diverse audience which includes educating Japanese students about the World War II internment experience.

Appointed by Oregon State Governor Kitzhaber ...

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Koji's Column

The Top Non-Asian Civil Rights Heroes For Japanese Americans

After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, there was only one national organization that was willing to stand up for the rights of Japanese Americans (JAs). They were the Quakers. Not only did they speak out against the unconstitutional incarceration of JAs they helped many of the Nisei (second generation) kids go to college.

Even though the Quakers were the only national group, there were some brave individuals who spoke out for the rights of Japanese Americans. These individuals were willing to put their professional and personal reputations and sometimes their safety on the line for their fellow Americans, even when the ...

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APA Spotlight

Filmmaker Derek Shimoda, June Bride: Redemption of a Yakuza

One of my favorite Asian American documentaries is The Killing of the Chinese Fortune Cookie, so when I heard the filmmaker, Derek Shimoda, was making another doc, I wanted to find out more. I had an opportunity to sit down with Derek and ask him 8Questions.

Derek Shimoda is a Los Angeles native. He produced the feature film In My Life as well as the acclaimed documentary Secret Asian Man, an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival. He wrote, produced, and directed the film Autonomous Soul, which won the Visionary Award at the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF). Over ...

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APA Spotlight

Claire Mix, Producer/Writer/Director of Gila River and Mama: The Ruth Mix Story

The first national organization to speak out against the illegal incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II was the Quakers. The Quakers have a long standing commitment to progressive causes. Many don’t know this but they were one of the first groups to fight to abolish slavery and have advocated for women’s rights and later civil rights as well. (To see some of the causes they are currently fighting for, click here.)

Although the Quakers were the only national group to come out against the Japanese American concentration camps, that’s not to say that all the ...

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