Nikkei View

This series presents selections from Gil Asakawa’s “Nikkei View: The Asian American Blog,” which presents a Japanese American perspective on pop culture, media, and politics.

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Cross-cultured leader keeps Asahi Foods’ promise of perfect sushi fish

It’s cold outside, but it’s colder in Asahi Foods’ refrigerated cutting room, where stacks of cardboard and styrofoam boxes filled with giant fish await. The fish cutter is in early on a Saturday, wearing a white lab coat and heavy rubber gloves, various razor-sharp knives at the ready.

Charlene Thai, a tiny woman in a similar lab coat, hovers nearby, watching over the daily cutting ritual that begins the flow of fresh-cut fish for sushi and sashimi to 200 restaurants in Colorado and surrounding states.

“If you see our tuna, it’s clean-cut, like a machine,” she says ...

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Building bridges with the Muslim community

Late last year, Erin and I were lucky enough to travel to New York City to see the Broadway musical Allegiance starring George Takei. It’s a story about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and it vividly and powerfully brings to life the emotional toll of the experience on JAs for generations since then. I wrote about the play and interviewed Takei and others for AARP’s AAPI Community.

Two nights after attending the show and while we were still in New York, the Paris attacks happened. The next day, we had scheduled a visit to ...

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George Takei’s Allegiance Is A Timely Historical Musical For Today - Part 2

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After interviewing Takei and thoroughly researching the WWII incarceration, Kuo, Thione, and Marc Acito wrote the book and Kuo composed the music and wrote the lyrics for Allegiance, which debuted in San Diego in 2012. The current Broadway version has evolved since then, with fewer principal roles, different songs, and changes in the script.

“We had to tell the story of not just one camp, but of 10 camps,” said Jay Kuo in an interview. “Not everything that happened in those camps happened at Heart Mountain. But, all the things we portrayed did happen in one of ...

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George Takei’s Allegiance Is a Timely Historical Musical For Today - Part 1

After a November performance at the Longacre Theatre in New York’s fabled Broadway district, AARP members were invited for a “talkback” with George Takei and other cast members answering questions about their powerful musical, Allegiance. (NOTE: This post was originally uploaded to the AARP AAPI Community Facebook page.)

“I remember we started the school day, each day, with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. I could see the barbed wire fence and the sentry tower right outside my school house window as I recited the words, ‘with liberty, and justice for all.’”

Takei recalled his experience as a ...

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RIP George “Joe” Sakato

I was saddened to hear of the passing of George “Joe” Sakato, a Denver resident who was a World War II hero, a veteran of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team/100th Battalion that fought in Europe during World War II. He was 94 years old. Adele Arakawa of 9News broadcast a moving tribute to Joe that’s worth viewing.

“We were fighting prejudice in the States…and fighting the Germans in Europe,” he told Arakawa in 2013.

The last time I saw Joe (he preferred everyone call him Joe) was during the annual Japanese American community’s Nisei Veterans ...

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