JA National Museum to host program on ‘Evolving Role of Nikkei’ press April 2 in L.A.

LOS ANGELES — The Japanese American National Museum is partnering with the Nichi Bei Weekly and three other publications to present “From Newsprint to New Media: The Evolving Role of Nikkei Newspapers,” Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m. in the Tateuchi Democracy Forum, located at 111 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles. The program, which is part of the Museum’s Discover Nikkei series, will celebrate the history, discuss the current state, and ponder the future of Nikkei newspapers in America.

For more than a century, Japanese American community newspapers have helped to provide immigrants with news and information about both their communities and Japan. Later, the role of the community press evolved to serve English-speaking Nisei and Sansei. But in recent years, the media industry has been in an upheaval, and many Japanese American community newspapers have since shut down.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan has highlighted the role Nikkei newspapers play in disseminating information and helping to connect community members.

Prior to moderating the panel discussion, Gil Asakawa will give a presentation on the historic roles of Japanese American community newspapers. Asakawa writes about pop culture and politics from an Asian American and Japanese American perspective on his blog, www.nikkeiview.com.

The panel discussion will feature Kenji G. Taguma, Nichi Bei Weekly editor-in-chief / Nichi Bei Foundation president, Gwen Muranaka, The Rafu Shimpo English section editor, Shigeharu Higashi, publisher and editor of Cultural News, a Southern California-based monthly publication and Website, and George Johnston, publisher of NikkeiNation.net.

A question-and-answer format session will follow the panel discussion. The program will be followed by a light reception.

The program will be videotaped and will be posted online.

A slideshow of images from the Museum’s Rafu Shimpo/Toyo Miyatake collection will be shown, to present a look at the community’s past, 15 minutes prior to the program.

The program is free to Museum members or is the cost of admission for non-members. Reservations are recommended via e-mail to rsvp@janm.org or by calling (213) 625-0414 at least 48 hours prior to the event. Attendees should include the name, date, and time of the program, their name and the number in their party.

Discover Nikkei is a community-based project of the Japanese American National Museum that explores Nikkei identity, history, and community stories.

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