APA Spotlight

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"APA Spotlight" is a regular interview series on 8asians.com by Koji Steven Sakai interviewing Asian American community leaders from around the country.
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Articles in this series

APA Spotlight

Kendee Yamaguchi, Executive Director, Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs

Koji Steven Sakai

Kendee Yamaguchi is the Executive Director of the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. She was a director in the Office of Management and Administration at the White House. Prior to her appointment to the Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, she worked in the Office of Public ...

APA Spotlight

Marilyn Tokuda, Co-Chair, Asian Pacific American Media Coalition

Koji Steven Sakai

Marilyn Tokuda has been working for East West Players (EWP) since 2002 and is the organizations first Arts Education Director. She was one of the founding members of COLD TOFU, the first Asian American comedy group and served as its Artistic Director for six years. Marilyn also works with Oku ...

APA Spotlight

Lucy Walker, Director of The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Koji Steven Sakai

Being that my mother is from Japan, I feel a connection to that country that many Japanese Americans do not. So when the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster hit in March, I felt it in my gut. I was worried not only about my relatives but also friends and strangers alike ...

APA Spotlight

Frank Abe of Conscience and the Constitution

Koji Steven Sakai

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

APA Spotlight

Sonia Sakamoto-Jog, Executive Director, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival

Koji Steven Sakai

Sonia Sakamoto-Jog (pictured on the left) joined Reel Asian as Executive Director in May of 2009 after graduating from the MBA program at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.Prior to being hired at Reel Asian, she worked at Maximum Films International (now a division of ...

APA Spotlight

Helen H. Ota, Artistic Director, Cold Tofu

Koji Steven Sakai

Helen H. Ota is the Artistic Director of COLD TOFU, the nation’s premier Asian American comedy improvisation group. A member since 1993, she has performed in and produced numerous COLD TOFU improv and sketch shows.

APA Spotlight

SHOKORA's Junichi Hernandez Yoshikai

Koji Steven Sakai

Last year I was lucky enough to be invited to Japan and meet with other Nikkei (Japanese migrants and their descendants) from around the world. As an Asian American, I admit I sometimes forget that there are people of Asian ancestry who live in Mexico. In fact, there are strong ...

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