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Samurai are big in Western pop culture these days, what with Tom Cruise's hit "The Last Samurai" and of course, Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" movies.

You'd think in the 21st century, that racial epithets would be so old-fashioned that anyone using them would be laughed out of the country.

But no, that's not the case. At issue today, as it has been for decades, is the use of the word "Jap" to describe a person or thing that's Japanese or Japanese American.

Amazingly, there have been a couple of instances of "Jap" in the media in recent weeks.