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APA Spotlight

Mari Watanabe, Executive Director, Oregon Nikkei Endowment

Koji Steven Sakai

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 ...

Koji's Column

Top Five Japanese American Women Civil Rights Pioneers You Should Know

Koji Steven Sakai

In California, January 30 was officially Fred Korematsu Day. It is important to honor and remember Korematsu but I believe it is also a time to look back at some of the other Japanese Americans (JAs) who also fought for the rights of not just JAs but all Americans.

Koji's Column

The Top Non-Asian Civil Rights Heroes For Japanese Americans

Koji Steven Sakai

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 ...

Koji's Column

70th Anniversary of the Signing of Executive Order 9066

Koji Steven Sakai

2012 marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066. For those of you who don’t know, 9066 was the order that eventually led to the unconstitutional incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. It was signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on February 19, 1942 ...

APA Spotlight

Filmmaker Derek Shimoda, June Bride: Redemption of a Yakuza

Koji Steven Sakai

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.

APA Spotlight

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

Koji Steven Sakai

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 ...

Top 5 Favorite Things About Japanese New Years

Koji Steven Sakai

Besides Groundhog Day, my favorite holiday is New Years. I look forward to it every year. I always forget though that most people (in America) just think it’s a day to watch football and the Rose Parade. For those who don’t know, New Years or oshogatsu in Japan ...

A Response To New York Times’ “The How of an Internment, but Not All the Whys”

Koji Steven Sakai

Author’s note: Although I am employed by the Japanese American National Museum, this article should not be construed as coming from the National Museum. Instead, this article is my personal opinion and should be taken as such.On December 9, 2011 the New York Times published an article titled ...

The United States Vs. Takaichi Sakai

Part 5 of 5: Postscript

Koji Steven Sakai

Read Part 4 >>Even though my grandparents and their children were allowed to stay in the United States, it wasn’t until 1958 did they get their citizenship back.

The United States Vs. Takaichi Sakai

Part 4 of 5: Decision

Koji Steven Sakai

Read Part 3 >> When the war ended, my grandparents requested that they not be sent to Japan, despite the fact that they had renounced their citizenship. However, once a person willingly gives up their citizenship, it’s not easy to get it back. The following is the end of a ...

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Koji Steven Sakai has written two feature films that have been produced; Haunted Highway and The People I’ve Slept With.

Koji is a graduate from the University of Southern California’s Masters of Professional Writing program. He has held several fellowships, starting with the most recent, which include: The Writers Boot Camp Fellowship (2009), The Producers Guild: Power of Diversity Workshop (2009), Film Independent’s Project: Involve (2007), Visual Communication’s Armed With a Camera (2006), and Screenwriting Expo 4: New Visions Fellowship award (2005).

In addition to his work in film, Koji is a regular contributor to Discover Nikkei ( and 8Asians ( He also contributed a story (Meet Joe) to Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology, the first graphic novel anthology written/drawn/and about Asian Americans. Secret Identities was released by New Press in April of 2009.

Koji is the manager of public programs at the Japanese American National Museum ( He is in charge of the concerts, lectures, workshops, family days, screenings, and other public events.

Intereses Nikkei

  • historias de comunidades
  • historias familias
  • festivales/matsuri
  • japonesa/comida nikkei
  • Japantowns

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