Film and Television

Japanese American directs latest Bond blockbuster

LOS ANGELES (Kyodo) — It’s hard to imagine that the world’s most famous spy with a license to kill would ever answer to a Yank from across the pond. After all, he works for Her Majesty’s Secret Service. But “No Time to Die,” the 25th James Bond film, is the first in the long-running series […]

Veteran actor Clyde Kusatsu brings JA history to Netflix’s hit series ‘Never Have I Ever’

The racial consciousness of the “Me Too” movement and the current era of diversity, equity and inclusion has led to an explosion of movies and television shows that feature Asian Americans. It’s been building for awhile — the fuse was lit in 1994 with Margaret Cho’s one-season sitcom, “All-American Girl.” But the sparks that have […]

Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’ jabs, flips Asian American film cliches

LOS ANGELES — Like a lot of Asian actors, Simu Liu has played the nameless guy who can do martial arts but inevitably loses out to a more skilled white guy. It was one of his very first stunt jobs. “Yeah, I took my paycheck and I went home. I didn’t really complain about it,” […]

Myles Matsuno’s feature debut ‘Christmas in July’ premieres in theaters, streaming

To understand Nikkei filmmaker Myles Matsuno and his debut feature-length film, “Christmas in July,” one needs only to look to Matsuno’s personal motto, passed on to him by his Issei great-grandfather, Ichiro Kataoka. “Honesty and kindness are best in business.” Long before the war, Kataoka ran the Aki Hotel in San Francisco’s Nihonmachi. In order […]

An interview with ‘City of Ghosts’ Yonsei creator Elizabeth Ito

Editor’s Note: The piece was originally published by, a project of the Japanese American National Museum. A maneki neko statue keeps moving mysteriously around a “sort of” Japanese restaurant in Boyle Heights. A music teacher keeps hearing some drumming in Leimert Park, with no visible drummer. A team of kid detectives roams Los Angeles, […]

Jeff Adachi’s last film, ‘Ricochet,’ to premiere at CAAMFEST 2021

The tragic 2015 death of Kate Steinle as she walked with her father on San Francisco’s Pier 14 became national news when it was revealed that the accused shooter was an undocumented immigrant, and then-presidential candidate Donald Trump exploited the case to rail against undocumented immigration and sanctuary cities. If you believed Trump and the […]

Manzanar’s ‘unexpected’ land defenders

Like many Sansei, Ann Kaneko grew up hearing about “camp” from her parents’ dinnertime conversations, but it wasn’t until she was asked to talk about her family’s World War II incarceration in the fourth grade that she realized that what they had experienced was far from a “fun camp where they had been for a […]

Jhené Aiko, Saweetie to perform on AAPI advocacy TV special

NEW YORK  — Platinum-selling performers of part-Asian descent, including R&B singer Jhené Aiko and rapper Saweetie, will perform on a TV special produced by The Asian American Foundation, the newly formed organization launched to improve AAPI advocacy. TAAF announced May 6 that English icon Sting will also perform at “See Us Unite for Change – […]

Documentaries take on Pat Morita and the samurai

Two recent documentaries available over streaming services capture very opposite ends of the spectrum of Japanese and Japanese American culture. The first is “More than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story,” which expands the limited image most people have of the actor. Mention Pat Morita, and almost everyone will say “Mr. Miyagi,” or perhaps, the iconic […]

Animation legend Willie Ito receives industry’s lifetime achievement award

In 1939, 5-year-old Willie Ito sat in a movie theater absolutely mesmerized by Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” He knew right then and there that animation was the life for him. So he started drawing cartoons, and when he wasn’t drawing he dreamed of drawing even as he delivered the Nichi Bei […]

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