Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | media
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hawaii-five-0 We're fans of the CBS series "Hawaii Five-0" for lots of reasons, including the fact that it's a showcase for Asian and Pacific Islander actors such as Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park, and the entertaining "bromance" relationship between Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) and Danny "Danno" Williams (Scott Caan). I always loved the original series that ran from 1968-1980, and think it's great that this reboot uses pretty much the same arrangement for the theme song, and even uses quick-cut images that evoke the look and feel of the intro sequence from the earlier Five-0. And finally, who can't love a show that celebrates the coolest and best-looking of all the United States, with loving b-roll shots of both its glistening city life and its incredibly beautiful natural scenery? This week, we get a whole new reason to appreciate "Hawaii Five-0" and tune in regularly. The producers are focusing on an aspect of American history that still remains under the radar of most mainstream American pop culture: The American imprisonment of people of Japanese ancestry in the wake of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.

Brandon Lee was a handsome actor on the rise in Hollywood, continuing the legacy of his father, Bruce Lee, as an action star. But in 1993, during the filming of the movie "The Crow," he suffered a tragic accident -- a gun that was supposed to be loaded with blanks in a scene shot a live bullet that killed him....

(Note: KTVU attempted to use copyright law to remove this video clip even in instances, like mine, where the clip is essential to the discussion about it, for critical journalistic purposes. The station said it was removing the clips to protect the Asian community: "By now, most people have seen it. At this point, continuing to show the video is also insensitive and offensive, especially to the many in our Asian community who were offended. Consistent with our apology, we are carrying through on our responsibility to minimize the thoughtless repetition of the video by others.” It didn't take long for the attempt to fail.)
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Seriously? San Francisco TV station KTVU aired a monster of a mess, when its anchor read the purported names of the pilots on Asiana flight 214 that crashed at San Francisco Airport. During the noon newscast, anchor Tori Campbell said the pilots were Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow. Really? Seriously? Think about it -- look at the names. Use one or two brain cells. And no, they're not even close to being Korean names. Ugh, this is as bad as it gets. It's not funny, and it's a sad and unfortunate reflection of the state of the news industry. This is a tragic FAIL on a couple of levels: 1. Who would submit such a nasty, racist "news release" to media? Do they think it's funny? 2. How could a news organization -- especially in San Francisco, which is not only where the crash occurred but a city with a very large and diverse Asian population -- accept this kind of claptrap without either confirming it, or just plain LOOKING AT IT? (Here's an AP story that ran, among hundreds of papers, in the SF Examiner from July 8 that lists two of the pilots' names as released bu Asiana.) 3. What's the chain of evidence that sees these names when they're submitted? Producers? Directors? Reporters? Anchors (she obviously didn't catch it)?

nhkhomepage I was amused to see a recent news story about a 71-year-old Japanese man, Hoji Takahashi, who has sued Japan’s public television broadcaster, NHK. His reason for filing suit? He’s suffering “mental distress” because of what he considers NHK’s excessive use of foreign words. He’s no elderly gadfly with a silly gripe. He’s a member of an organization that is dedicated to preserving the Japanese language, so this is an organized effort to try and stop the influx of foreign words. What foreign words, you ask? Here are a few cited by news reports including from the BBC: If you tune into NHK’s news or entertainment shows, you can easily make out words such as "toraburu" for “trouble,” "risuku" for “risk” and "shisutemu" for “system.” I’ve been at my mom’s house when she has NHK satellite programming on and I’ve heard “toppu hoh-ty” for “Top 40” in a story about pop music, and many other words that I can make out as English, albeit somewhat mangled in pronunciation. My mom isn’t a member of any group fighting this trend, but she’s griped to me plenty about the same issue.

bravo-princesses-show Bravo to the Bravo TV network. And Bravo to Michael Yaki, a former City of San Francisco supervisor who is now a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. When Yaki wrote to the network to complain about the use of the term "JAP" to describe a "Jewish American Princess" on a new reality show, "Princesses: Long Island," Bravo agreed immediately to stop using the term, both in its promotions and in the show. Yeah, yeah, bring out the anti-P.C. police, and tell me that I'm being too sensitive, and that if Jewish people wanna use the term "JAP" they have the right. Let it all out. Vent. The thing is, not all Jews are OK with the term -- even in the early '80s when the Jewish American Princess term was widely used as a lighthearted (but still ethnic) slur, there were people who thought the term itself was offensive, never mind the acronym. And pretty much every Japanese American I know cringes at the use of "J-A-P" even if it's used as an abbreviation for Japan, or as an acrobym for Jewish American Princess.

I'm glad Colorlines, via @Katchow, posted this clip of film critic Roger Ebert from 2002. I was going to track it down and post it myself, but they did the work for me. Ebert attended the screening at Sundance that year for "Better Luck Tomorrow," the landmark Asian American film that turbocharged the careers of, among others, director Justin Lin and actors such as John Cho and Sung Kang. The dark film turned the "Model Minority" Asian stereotype on its head, by following a group of Southern California Asian American high school students who are not model citizens.