About Gil Asakawa’s Nikkeiview


My name is Gil Asakawa. I write this stuff.

Nikkeiview” started out as a weekly online column — well, it used to be weekly — about popular culture and politics from my Japanese American perspective. I began writing it in 1998 for a bilingual Japanese community newspaper (now long gone) in Denver, but from the start I posted the columns online. In 2006 the Nikkei View evolved into the blog you’re reading, where I can write long or short pieces, post videos, rant, rave, whatever and take advantage of the blog format and built-in archiving. You can still read my old Nikkei View columns in the column archives.

By the way, although the Nikkei is Japan’s financial index, the word “Nikkei” is also the term for people of Japanese descent outside of Japan.

“Nikkei View” has been reprinted over the years on various Web sites including Denver’s AsiaXpress.com and Hybrid Magazine. I’m a proud partner of Asian-American Village, a terrific Web site of news APA and opinions (and jobs). The column also was published in Denver’s monthly Asian Pacific American American Times and was occasionally reprinted in the “Northwest Nikkei” bilingual newspaper in Seattle. Some of the columns have also appeared in the Northern California JA community newspaper, “NikkeiWest,” and other JA community papers. I also “repurpose” blog posts sometimes as columns in the JACL‘s Pacific Citizen newspaper. I used to be the Editorial Board Chair for the Pacific Citizen, and still am a member of the Editorial Board.

These days I also cross-oist content from Nikkei View on HuffingtonPost Denver.

If any other publication out there would like to publish the “Nikkei View,” or reprint posts from the blog, please contact me!

“Nikkei View” has received recognition: The column was awarded “Site of the Month” from Japan Reference Page, a comprehensive site for links to Web sites for and about Japan. I received an “honorable mention” in the 1998 Online Writing Contest sponsored by TheWell.com for my column about Japanese names. And The Rocky Mountain News chose Nikkeiview as one of Colorado’s Top 100 Web Sites two years in a row. That, and $1.50 will buy me a cup of coffee at Peaberry’s….

As the author of Nikkei View, I’ve been interviewed by the Miami Herald for an article about the flood of Asian popular culture into the American mainstream, and I was asked to record a commentary about the opening of “Pearl Harbor” for Pacific Time, a weekly program on KQED, San Francisco’s National Public Radio station. I’ve also been interviewed foir stories about Asian American issues by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

In 2004, San Francisco-based Stone Bridge Press published my book, “Being Japanese American,” which is about JA culture and history, and I’ve done readings and book signings across the country, including at the Japanese American National Museum and the Japanese American Museum of San Jose. Back in the day, I co-authored “The Toy Book,” a history of Baby Boomer-era toys (Knopf, 1991); it’s out of print though copies are kicking around online, some even autographed.

Although I was born in Japan, I’m a third generation Japanese American, or Sansei — my father was born in Hawaii and my mother is from Japan. I was born in Tokyo as a military brat, and our family moved to the U.S. when I was 8 years old. I have vivid memories of Japan from my childhood, but my consciousness is American. I love the fact that I’m a product of both cultures, and with these columns, I hope to serve as a bridge to make sense of Japanese for Americans, and vice versa for Japanese.

I’ve been active in the Denver Japanese American community, as an executive board member of the Japan-America Society of Colorado and as a board member and former president of the board for the Japanese American Citizens League’s Mile High Chapter. I’m also active in the pan-Asian community, and have been an Operations Committee member of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival since 2001.

For my day job, I’m the Manager of Student Media for the CU Independent, the student-run news website of the University of Colorado’s Journalism and Mass Communication program. I’ve worked for almost 35 years in the media, as a rock critic, reporter, editor and online pioneer. I’m also currently the Japan Expert for Answers.com, and write book reviews for Blue Ink Review.

My LinkedIn profile lists my long and winding road. You can read more about me in online biography.

I hope you enjoy the columns as well as the blog posts, which cover a lot more topics than just Asian and Asian American culture — if you haven’t read them before, please check my archives, and let me know what you think! This is always a work in progress….

— Gil
Email me at gilasakawa(at)gmail(dot)com

You can find me on a bunch of places online, including:

Google Plus

14 Responses to About Gil Asakawa’s Nikkeiview

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  2. Kenji Gallo says:

    Cool Blog. There should be more like this!


  3. Jennifer Caspe says:

    Hello, Gil! 🙂

    I discovered your blog today and saw that you mentioned us for the Ultimate Thailand Explorerst! Thank you very much! 🙂 May I update you on the contest? Because of your support, Michael and I are now in the finals!!! Our team is called L.O.V.E. Samui! L is for the lush rainforests, O for ocean adventures, V for the verdant golf courses and E for extreme sports that can be enjoyed in Samui! 🙂 We want to share with you this mini-write-up that we did to encourage people to vote for the finals. . .Thanks again! 🙂

    Imagine getting a luxurious massage in Thailand, Asia’s spa capital of the world. After the relaxing treatment, you enjoy an ice-cold drink by the infinity pool. Then, your phone rings and you check your brand new HTC Android phone.

    Perfect isn’t it?

    Vote for Pinoys Michael and Jennifer for the Ultimate Thailand Explorers and make this dream a reality for you! Michael and Jenny are the onlyFilipinos and Asians to have made it to the finals of this worldwide competition. They are competing against 3 US and 1 French teams. Your vote will determine if they will be the Ultimate Thailand Explorers!

    By voting for Michael and Jenny EVERYDAY (once a day every 24 hours) from Dec. 1 to Jan. 8, you also increase your chance of winning a $2,500 luxurious Thailand tour package and a high-tech HTC Android phone. These prizes will be given by the Thailand Authority of Tourism to two lucky voters.

    Log on, register and vote here: http://tinyurl.com/mikejenkohsamui
    Click the “VOTE FOR THEM” tab on top of the page. Register your details and wait for the confirmation email. Then, click the confirmation link in the email and vote!

    You may also vote at http://www.ultimatethailandexplorers.com

    Make it happen for you!

  4. Gil Asakawa says:

    Hi Jennifer! Thanks for the comment… I’ll try to post something soon. Good luck in the finals!!

  5. Thanks for adding my blog as one of your links. As your typical WASP American from Middle America, my time in Japan really gave me a different perspective on the world and my blog initially was a way for me to put my arms around the culture differences and was a lot cheaper than a shrink as I went through reverse culture shock. I happy that a serious follower of Japanese culture finds my material interesting.

  6. MD says:

    Hi! Great blog, I am a teacher looking for a guest speaker who experienced the Japanese Internment camps to speak with my students. Searching online and came across your blog. Any chance you could point me in the right direction. Our school is in Los Angeles. Thanks!

  7. Gil Asakawa says:

    Thanks, MD. You should be able to find a lot of potential speakers by contacting the LA chapter of the JACL:

    or the Japanese American National Museum:

    Let me know if you have any problems and I’ll see if I can reach out to individuals.

  8. Kevin Huang says:

    Hi Gil!

    My name’s Kevin and I’d like to reach out to you regarding ‘White Rabbit”, a film by Christina Yoon.

    Korean female directors are few and far between, and Christina is the only one in her graduating class at NYU. She plans to go to Korea after graduation to direct her first feature film, and it’d be great if you could help us reach our goal on Kickstarter so she can complete her senior thesis film. You can learn more about her story via our recent Q&A with Korean American Journal:http://iamkoream.com/help-fund-filmmaker-christina-yoons-white-rabbit/

    I know this is all a lot to ask, but any help in spreading the word about our Kickstarter campaign (http://kck.st/WHsnzH) would be really awesome! We only have 5 days left, but we’re confident that we can get there with your help.

    Kevin Huang

  9. Gil Asakawa says:

    Hi Kevin, I’ll take a look and try to write something soon (in time for your Kickstarter deadline).

  10. My media team and I are working on a story that I think you and your audience will find interesting. We’re taking an in-depth look into the Confucius Institute.

    As you may know, the Confucius Institute is a Chinese government-funded program that sends teachers around the world. The Chinese government pays these teachers and gives extra money to the schools that house them. These teachers then instruct their students in the Chinese language and culture.

    Some schools (like Stanford University) have refused to accept Confucius Institutes. They fear that these institutes might be a soft power ploy by the Chinese government. The Confucius Institutes have also been in the news lately because they are suspected of having discriminatory hiring practices for the teachers they send abroad.

    I realize that the Confucius Institute comes out of China, and you are Japanese-American, but we would really like to have your opinions as we build this story. None of us have an Asian background, and we fear that because of that our story might be lacking in some areas. Because your blog focuses on Asia as well as Japan, we were hoping that you would share that expertise with us.

    My team and I would be eternally grateful if you would check out our Facebook site and share your opinion of the materials that we have posted there. It would be great if your readers could contribute as well.

    We want to make sure that we do justice to this story. We would be grateful for your input.?

    Stephanie Bronner?
    Fusion Journalist at Western iMedia

  11. Gil Asakawa says:

    I’ll take a look, but like others, I assume the Confucius Institute is a “soft power” propaganda ploy… which is not to say that China doesn’t have thousands of years of worthwhile culture, values and traditions to teach the world. And certainly, with their positions as the #2 economy in the world, understanding Chinese heritage is as important as it’s ever been….. Maybe it’s a matter of managing expectations and understanding the role these centers play.

  12. Sally Ann says:


    “For the Santa Fe/ NM history collector – a rare opportunity to purchase a small archive of 8 letters written by two Japanese men while incarcerated in U.S. Government Internment camps. Sorry, but the price is non-negotiable – I will never be able to replace these.

    For sale are nine (8) letters including six (6) envelopes written by two Japanese nationals from two different U. S. internment camps during WWII. These men were brothers from Maui, Hawaii. These letters are written in Japanese and should be translated.

    This is a nice little archive — extremely rare find! – essential, authentic, period teaching material for 20th century U. S. Japanese Internment Camp History. Many of the letters written by these brothers from the internment camps are already in a public museum.

    I will provide my many hours of research (a labor of love) into these two men and their story to the buyer including information from the National Archives.
    ” I am loyal to this country always.” –Tetsuji
    The camp at Santa Fe was different than most. It was run by the Justice Department, not the War Relocation Authority and was for men only who were considered “high risk.”

    Unlike the Japanese on the U. S. mainland, there was no mass relocation and incarceration of Hawaiian Japanese during WWII. According to Tetsuden Kashima in the book “Life Behind Barbed Wire”, “the total Hawai’i Nikkei detained in either the Hawai’i or Mainland imprisonment facilities came to about 2,392,” that, out of approximately 158,000 Nikkei living in Hawaii at the time. In contrast, most of the Japanese living on the West Coast (approximately 120,000) were relocated to camps established by the U. S. War Relocation Authority.

    Condition: Slightly bowed, probably from being bound by a rubber band. Expected wear from being handled and pushed around in a desk drawer for 70 years, but no loss of text.”


  13. Gil Asakawa says:

    Hi Sally, thanks for this stuff — I’ve contacted cousins in Hawaii about the Hanzawa family in Maui.

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