Featured Articles

  • JANM Announces Acquisition of Japanese American Incarceration Artifacts

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai

    May 2, 2015


    JANM Announces Acquisition of Japanese American Incarceration Artifacts


    Public auction of the items averted through aligned interests of museum, Japanese American community, auction house, consignor.

    Painting by Estelle Peck Ishigo - Photo by Rago Arts and Auction Center


    The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) tonight announced it has acquired a collection of more than 400 pieces of historical art and artifacts created by Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II.  The announcement was made by JANM president and CEO Greg Kimura, during JANM’s annual Gala, which also honored actor and activist George Takei with the museum’s Distinguished Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement and Public Service.



    LOS ANGELES —The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) announced today that it has acquired a collection of more than 400 pieces of historical art and artifacts created by Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. JANM’s acquisition ensures these artifacts will be properly preserved and honors the interests of Japanese Americans across the country who expressed concern for the future of these items.


    JANM worked through Rago Arts and Auction Center in New Jersey and the consignor to acquire the private collection, which includes artifacts and photographs collected by Allen Hendershott Eaton who wrote a book in 1952 publicizing the injustice of America’s concentration camps for Japanese Americans, where more than 120,000 men, women, and children were kept behind barbed wire by their own country.

    “The mission of the Japanese American National Museum is to share this story,” said JANM President and CEO Greg Kimura. “We honor the sacrifice of our forebears who suffered to prove their loyalty to the U.S. by ensuring that such Constitutional violations never happen again. I’m very pleased that our museum, Rago Arts and Auction Center, and the John Ryan family of Connecticut, which...

  • Protests to Stop Auction of Japanese American Internment Camp Items Slated for April 17, 2015

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai

    April 15, 2015 7:00pm PST


    News received tonight from community protesters say that the Rago auction house has agreed to remove from its April 17 auction approximately 450 art, crafts and artifacts made by Japanese Americans while they were incarcerated in World War II internment camps.

    The auction which was to be conducted by the Rago Arts and Auction Center of New Jersey caused a national public outrage including a grass-roots petition on created by filmmaker and therapist Satsuki Ina of Sacramento, California, a Facebook page "Japanese American History: NOT for Sale," efforts by community organizations to stop the sale, an intent to file a lawsuit by Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation after its cash offer to acquire the collection was rejected, and calls to the auction house by "Star Trek" actor George Takei who with his family spent time in one of the camps.

    Yesterday, The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation issued a news release that its cash offer had been rejected by the seller, however tonight, the foundation issued a statement that the auction house withdrew the auction today within hours after the foundation's legal counsel communicated its intent to file a lawsuit. Most of the items which were scheduled to be sold were made by, or personal effects of Japanese Americans incarcerated at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center.

    The Rago auction house told CNN, "This is an essential discussion to be had about the sale of historical items that are a legacy of man's inhumanity to man. It extends beyond what is legal. It is something auction houses, galleries and dealers are faced with regularly." "We hope this controvery will be the beginning of a discourse on this issue."  

    George Takei has agreed to act as an intermediary between the auction house and Japanese American community institutions. 

    Image: Watercolor by an unknown artist at Tule Lake War Relocation Center - Rago Arts and Auction Center

    For more on this story: 

    CNN: After...

  • Eddie Huang Tweets "I don't watch #FreshOffTheBoat on @ABCNetwork"

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai

    April 8, 2015

    Eddie Huang, whose life and memoir inspired the ABC TV show Fresh Off the Boat went on Twitter last night to say, "For the record I don't watch #FreshOffTheBoat on @ABCNetwork."  In separate messages, he continued to Tweet:

    "I'm happy people of color are able to see a reflection of themselves through on @ABCNetwork but I don't recognize it."

    "My only goal was to represent my Taiwanese-Chinese-American experience & I did that. We also proved viewers want diverse content so make it!

    "I had to say something because I stood by the pilot. After that it got so far from the truth that I don't recognize my own life. I don't think it is helping us to perpetuate an artificial representation of Asian American lives and we should address it."

    Eddie Huang has a point. Maybe this is a good launching point for a discussion - again - on stereotypes of Asian Americans in the media.

    Writer for, E. Alex Jung poses the question, "how do we make it better, more real, more "true"? For his full story go here to



  • Actor Ken Jeong talks about his darkest moment in Ken Burns Films' "Cancer Story Wall"

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai

    Community actor Ken Jeong learned about his wife Tran's diagnosis of Stage 3 breast cancer just as he was close to winning a part in The Hangover. Click here to and view Jeong's deeply personal story which was filmed as part of Ken Burns Films' "Cancer Story Wall" an accompaniment to this month's three-part PBS documentary series Cancer:The Emperor of All Maladies

    Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies is a three-part, six-hour major television event on PBS presented by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, in partnership with WETA, the flagship public broadcasting station in Washington, D.C.

    Based on the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee, the series is the most comprehensive documentary on a single disease ever made.

    This “biography” of cancer covers its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the 20th century to cure, control and conquer it, to a radical new understanding of its essence.

    The series also features the current status of cancer knowledge and treatment —the dawn of an era in which cancer may become a chronic or curable illness rather than its historic death sentence in some forms.


  • CAAMFest 2015 Kicks off its 33rd Year March 12-22

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai



    March 19, 2015

    There are so many great films, music and food events to attend at CAAMFest 2015!  First, check CAAMFest's guide here. Don't miss out. There are only a few more days of this fantastic festival!

    I attended three film premieres last weekend in San Francisco and they are a must see. 

    March 20, 2015 at 7:10pm - On Stage Conversation with Filmmaker Arthur Dong with film critic and author B. Ruby Rich takes place at the New People Cinema, 1746 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94115. CAAM is honoring Arthur Dong this year as its Spotlight feature for his more than four decades of inspirational filmmaking. His latest documentary debuted last Sunday March 15 at CAAMFest, The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, and a digitally remastered version of his 1989 FORBIDDEN CITY, U.S.A. debuted on March 14.

    March 21, 2015 at 5:00pm - (Rush Only) Director Felicia Lowe's CHINESE COUPLETS made its world premiere last Saturday March 12, and is screening one more time at the New Parkway Theater, 474 - 24th Street, Oakland, CA 94612.



    CAAMFest March 12-22, 2015

    The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) opened CAAMFest 2015 tonight and will continue through March 22 in San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland.

    Rebranded in 2013, CAAMFest is an 11-day celebration of film, music, food and digital media from the world’s most innovative Asian and Asian American artists.

    CAAMFest showcases the work of new Asian and Asian American artists and pays tribute to the pioneers who have paved the way for Asian Americans in media and entertainment from film visionary Arthur Dong, to hip-hop enthusiast Awkwafina.

    There are so many great events and screenings. Its best to check out the official website first.Here are some festival highlights.


    CAAM is pleased to recognize Oscar®-nominated and...

  • Civil Rights Activist Todd Endo Remembers Selma

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai

    January 19, 2015


    Journalist Emil Guillermo features 1965 Selma voting rights protest march eyewitness Todd Endo, 74, on NBC News/Asian America today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

    Click here to read and view Emil's feature on Todd Endo.


    2015 marks the 50th anniversary year of the three voting rights protest marches, from March 7 - 26, 1965 to walk the 54-mile highway from Selma to Montgomery, the capital of Alabama. 

    Todd Endo's memories of the 1965 voting rights marches still haunt him to this day. A 24 year old graduate student at Harvard and a community church organizer, he learned on March 9, 1965 that his acquaintance Jim Reeb, a white Unitarian minister had traveled from the Boston area to Selma and was killed by white segregationists. Endlo decided to join a group from the Boston area and head to Selma.

    Endo has spent his life working to reform education, desegregate schools, teach disadvantaged students, and help as an organizer in immigrant communities. He spent the first three years of his life with his family in a World War II Japanese American internment camp in Arkansas. 




  • Still Few Leading Roles for Asian Actors in Hollywood Movies - But the Star is Rising for Randall Park and Miyavi

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai

    December 30, 2014


    Asian American actors are still largely missing from the big screen in major roles. A year-end wrap up shows small gains for major movie roles for Asian American actors in Hollywood.

    Even for Asian actors who are not American, major roles in a current Hollywood movie are scarce.

    First time actor Takamasa Ishihara from Japan made the most of his opportunity.

    Ishihara, a 33 year old singer, songwriter, guitarist and record producer known to his fans as Miyavi gave a chilling break-out performance as the brutal sergeant in Angelina Jolie's film "Unbroken."

    Ishihara's role as Sergeant Matsuhiro Watanabe was so intense, he told Vanity Fair's Natalie Finn "It's a story that is still painful for my country," ... "But she (Director Angelina Jolie) told me she wanted to make a bridge between all countries that had conflict. She was very persuasive." And after filming some of the more violent scenes, "I couldn't stop crying," he admitted.

    Ishihara has two daughters with American-born wife, Melody Ishihara, a fashion designer, who was a former TV show host and J-Pop singer known as Melody Miyuki Ishikawa.

    One notable win to be celebrated for an Asian American actor in a Hollywood movie is Randall Park's role in "The Interview." 

    While the hacking scandal at Sony has grabbed international headlines for the comedy "The Interview" and its stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, some writers in the Asian American blogosphere have been abuzz about American actor Randall Park, praising his performance in the movie as Kim Jong-un, North Korea's leader.  

    Park, 40, said there was very little footage of Kim Jong-un available to research his role. He reviewed video of Kim Jong-un from HBO's show "Vice" about basketball star Dennis Rodman's visit to North Korea. 

    Prior to "The Interview" Park was previously best known for his role on the HBO comedy series "Veep," as Minnesota Govenor Danny Chung, and has made a number of guest appearances on...

  • Kala Kaawa wears his Malo to accept his diploma from the University of Hawaii

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai

    December 20, 2014

    Honolulu, Hawaii

    23 year-old native Hawaiian Kala Kaawa graduated from the University of Hawaii and was receiving his diploma during the winter commencement ceremony. He earned two bachelor's degrees from the School of Hawaiian Studies. He texted his Mom that he was contemplating taking his robe off to his malo when he received his diploma. Photo Credit: Lei Mahi

      Click here for the full story from Huffington Post writer Carla Herreria. 

    Kaawa told the Huffington Post's Carla Herreia he wanted to use the traditional Hawaiian malo garment to remind people "not to be ashamed of your culture, whether you are Hawaiian, Maori, Samoan, Tongan, etc." and to "know your roots, represent and perpetuate!

    Not just for yourself, but for your family, your ancestors and the future generations of your culture.

    "I was so touched by the reaction of the crowd that I stood there in complete awe for a while ... soaking in the feeling of accomplishment and pride for my culture," he told The Huffington Post.

    "It felt really good to be received that way by such an enormous crowd."


  • Top Chef Shirley Chung launches her exciting restaurant today in Irvine, California!

    Posted by: Suzanne Kai

    December 10, 2014

    Chef Shirley Chung's

    TWENTY EIGHT Modern Chinese Cuisine

    Lounge and Restaurant


    Congratulations to Top Chef Shirley Chung! Today marks the launch of new, exciting cuisine in Orange County, California with the grand opening of her highly anticipated restaurant TWENTY EIGHT: Modern Chinese Cuisine.

    Trained in classic French and Italian cuisine and born and raised in Beijing, China, Chef Shirley Chung's extraordinary style of cooking "without borders" can now be showcased at her very own restaurant located in Irvine, California.

    The beautiful restaurant occupies the ground floor of a complex adjacent to Orange County's Google headquarters, and is nearby to the University of California Irvine and Newport Beach.

    Chef Chung has been featured on BravoTV's TOP CHEF show and has worked and opened restaurants for Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy and Mario Batali, and was also the Executive Chef for China Poblano by Jose Andres which was nominated for the Best New Restaurant Award by James Beard in 2011. 



    Official website TWENTY EIGHT Restaurant:

    Top Chef Shirley Chung on Bravo Network





  • Chol Soo Lee Sparked Early Pan-Asian American Movement (1952-2014)

    Posted by: AC Team

    CHOL SOO LEE 1952-2014

    Korean American immigrant's struggle for justice sparked an early pan-Asian American Movement

    Koream Journal, News Report, by Julie Ha Posted: Dec 04, 2014


    Distributed by New America Media


    By Julie Ha, Koream Journal

    Chol Soo Lee, a Korean American whose wrongful conviction in a 1973 San Francisco murder case galvanized a historic pan-Asian American movement to win his freedom, died Tuesday at age 62.

     He passed away after complications related to surgery, according to friends. (Photo LtoR: Chol Soo Lee with journalist K.W. Lee, at press conference date unknown) Lee, an immigrant from South Korea who came to the U.S. around middle-school age, was arrested by San Francisco police in June 1973 for the murder of Yip Yee Tak, a local Chinatown gang leader, who was shot dead in broad daylight.

     Though Lee was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison a year later, he maintained his innocence. Thanks to a group of Asian American supporters, who rallied to his side, a Korean American journalist by the name of K.W. Lee (no relation to Chol Soo Lee) began investigating the case. Lee, then a staff writer for the Sacramento Union, would write more than 100 articles that raised questions about Chol Soo Lee’s conviction. Chol Soo was much shorter than eyewitness descriptions of the gunman and had a mustache that not a single witness mentioned to police. Notably, Lee was often identified as Chinese during his trial.


    For more on the this story by Julie Ha, Koream Journal:


Featured Media

You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video.

In the news