When I first started the Nikkei View as a weekly column in 1998 that ran in a Denver Japanese community newspaper (now gone), I posted the columns on my nikkeiview.com website. I wrote as a way of telling the world how I saw pop culture and politics through my Japanese American experience. In the decade since then, I’ve become involved in the larger Asian American Pacific Islander community, and converted the old website to this here blog.
At the time, I don’t think there were a lot of Asian Americans writing stuff on the web like I was. There may have been, but I didn’t reach out to find them. There were columnists who’d paved the way in traditional media (newspapers), like the late Bill Hosokawa, whose footsteps I followed early on, and Emil Guillermo of AsianWeek. The cool magazine Giant Robot launched back in 1994. The terrific Pacific Citizen newspaper had been publishing for decades, but didn’t have a website until a few years ago.
But there weren’t a lot of columns being posted online back in the day.
Now, the blogosphere allows for many voices from the AAPI community — the long list in my blogroll on the right of this page is always growing as I find new blogs to add — and a couple of them have risen to national prominence.
So Erin and I are planning to participate in a first-ever gathering of Asian American Pacific Islander bloggers called BANANA, Nov. 21 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (it’s a link to a Facebook page). It’s being organized by Lac Su, the author of the terrific memoir “I Love Yous Are for White People,” who ironically is not a blogger. (We’ll be interviewing Lac Su on Nov. 17 for visualizAsian.com.)
BANANA will hopefully establish once and for all that there’s an emerging chorus of voices that’s distinctly Asian American, that’s rooted in many Asian ethnic heritages, but is all tied together by shared experiences and values from living in, being born in and growing up in, these United States of America.
Not all of the bloggers I mention below will be at the BANANA event (see Joz’s comment below), but a couple of these voices have even developed a national audience outside the AAPI population: Continue reading →