Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | All Posts
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My family moved from Japan to the Washington DC area in 1966 when I was eight years old, and I fell in love with American ways and U.S. pop culture. I like to joke that I learned every American cuss word and forgot most of my Japanese in three weeks. One of the things I embraced wholeheartedly was American pop music—specifically,...

Racial stereotypes used to be part of the American consumer landscape – everywhere you turned there was a depiction, playful caricature or a ghastly exaggerated image of a person of color on commercials and ads on television or publications, or on packaging on store shelves. But if nothing else, the recent years of anti-racism protests in the wake of the...

Every year on the Saturday before Labor Day Weekend, people converge in southeast Colorado to visit Amache, the camp where 9,000 people of Japanese descent were incarcerated during World War II. This annual pilgrimage started in 1975, organized by Denver activists Marge Taniwaki and Russell Endo. It’s always an inspiring journey, which starts at the site of the concentration camp...

Like most countries including the U.S., Japan is struggling with the spread of the Omnicron variant of covid-19. Aside from its internal battles to vaccinate and provide boosters to Japanese, the country’s pretty hardline solution to help manage the pandemic has been a strict blockade of foreigners entering its borders – even foreigners with resident visas and students. Never mind...

Note: An edited version of this post will run in the Holiday Issue of the national JACL's Pacific Citizen newspaper. Japanese Americans and the wider Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities are seeing more of ourselves reflected in pop culture these days, but the high arts has a ways to go. It’s important to recognize the ongoing challenges of...

(Note: This is a sponsored post.) If you’ve ever dined at a nice Japanese restaurant, you’ve probably had misoshiru (miso soup) out of a lovely, thin bowl with lacquered fish – maybe red or orange inside, and black outside with an intricate Japanese pattern, probably in gold. Or maybe you’ve had sushi served in a round container with several layers and...

It took 15 years, but the US Postal Service (USPS) this past June released a Forever stamp that memorializes the “Go For Broke” 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Nisei soldiers of World War II who served in Europe and became the most highly decorated unit in the history of the US military for their size and length...

NOTE: This is a re-publication of a Nikkei View blog post I wrote back in 2009, which an article in the New York Times linked to this week. The original version was on an older site and the images had been unlinked (and the food festival that inspired the original post has evolved into the Far East Fest, which was...