Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | Gil Asakawa
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We are in a moment. An important moment for Asian American Pacific Islander and Desi representation in American pop culture. The film “Everything Everywhere All at Once” received 11 Academy Award nominations, in categories including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, TWO Best Supporting Actresses, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. The Internet, and especially the YouTube universe, is awash...

It’s been a long, sometimes lonely three years since COVID-19 arrived in the world and changed all our lives. For many of us, this holiday season may be the first since the pandemic shutdowns when we’ll be traveling to visit family once again, and dining with them. (Of course, we didn't know a historic deep freeze would disrupt nationwide travel...

I haven't really posted a lot of stuff about cooking (or even my #foodporn photos) on the blog, but I thought I'd share this video I uploaded to YouTube. I'm an "ambassador" for Syosaku-Japan, a company that sells handmade Japanese knives. I ordered my first knife, a Santoku chef's knife, back in 2019 and fell in love with their...

Pop culture can be a mirror that reflects the issues and values of its time—for good and bad. For instance, Hollywood initially embraced Asians, and two of the early film era’s biggest stars were Los Angeles-born Chinese American Anna May Wong and Japanese-born Sessue Hayakawa. Anna May Wong is now featured on a quarter; Sessue Hayakawa is probably best remembered...

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...