George Toshio Johnston

George Toshio Johnston is the former director of business development at The Rafu Shimpo, where he also has written a column on media, “Into the Next Stage,” since 1992. He began his print journalism career at Pacific Citizen the newspaper published by the JACL. His résumé also includes working for the Wave Newspapers, Daily Journal Corp, the Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Orange County RegisterHollywood Reporter, and Investor’s Business Daily. He also served a stint as editor of Yolk Magazine. In years past Johnston has been active in JACL, AAJA, and MANAA, which he conceived of and co-founded. He is a founding member of the Writers Guild of America’s Asian American Writers Committee, is a graduate of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television’s Professional Program in Screenwriting and he also produced, wrote, directed and edited “Going for Honor, Going for Broke: The 442 Story,” an award-winning short-form documentary on the 100th Battalion/442 Regimental Combat Team. Johnston is married to Sachi Johnston and is the father of two children, Akari and Jameson. He resides in Culver City.

Updated October 2017

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The Man Behind The ‘Nikkei Trilogy’

Earlier in the year, I had a bit part in Cal State University Dominguez Hills’ program “And Then They Came for Us … ,” held in February. It was in held conjunction with the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066. While the main event was on Thursday, Feb. 9, my part was related to arranging the screenings of three movies: Farewell to Manzanar on Monday, Feb. 6; and on Tuesday, Feb. 7, Going for Honor, Going for Broke: The 442 Story, and MIS: Human Secret Weapon.

The latter film was directed by Junichi Suzuki, a Japanese national who …

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YouTube Star Ryan Higa’s Latest Conquest: Books

In early 2005, when Facebook was fighting for dominance against a rival called MySpace — and before “social media” became part of our daily routine, another website that would become a huge part of the quotidian lives of young people was launched by tech alums Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim.

Their video sharing site was called YouTube.

YouTube allowed anyone with the basic tools of the digital age to upload and share videos, be it a laughing baby, a curious cat or clips of copyrighted materials, which of course alarmed traditional media companies that barbarians — i.e., their …

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Coram Nobis Fighter Min Yasui in the Spotlight

In 1985, filmmaker Steven Okazaki was Oscar nominated for the documentary feature Unfinished Business, which he directed, produced (with the help of Associate Producer/Production Manager Jane Kaihatsu), co-wrote (with Laura Ide, Kei Yokomizo, and the aforementioned Kaihatsu), edited, and photographed. The multitalented Okazaki left the narration to Amy Hill.

It told the story, up to that point, of the coram nobis trio: Gordon Hirabayashi, Fred Korematsu, and Minoru Yasui. I call them the “coram nobis trio” because they were the three Japanese Americans whose individual challenges to the effects of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 all reached the Supreme Court, with all three losing. …

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Comic Book Artist Jamie Noguchi Drawn to Takei Exhibition

“New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei” opened on Sunday, March 12, at the Japanese American National Museum. (Read J.K. Yamamoto’s coverage and view Mario Reyes’ photos here.)

Even if you are not a “trekkie,” it’s still worthwhile to view before it closes in August this exhibition of Takei’s memorabilia acquired over his lifetime. While some may take him for granted because of his ubiquity and career longevity, few living Japanese American or Asian American entertainers have achieved as much in so many areas as this actor who originally gained fame with the 1960s “Star Trek” TV series. …

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Into the Next Stage: MIS Stories Spotlighted in Bill Kubota's Next Documentary

If you remember PBS’ 2007 Most Honorable Son—a documentary about Nebraska Nisei farmboy turned B-24 and B-29 turret gunner Ben Kuroki—then you’re familiar with the work of Bill Kubota.

The Detroit-based documentarian, a partner at KDN Films, is now working on finishing The Registry, a new feature more than seven years in the making on another aspect of the experience of Japanese Americans who served in the United States military during World War II. In this case, the focus is on the Military Intelligence Service.

There were more than 7,000 Nisei and Kibei Nisei Japanese Americans …

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