Film and Television

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 […]

TV’s ‘New Amsterdam’ tackles Asian hate

Over the past year and especially during the last couple of months, videos on various social media platforms have showed Asian people being brutally attacked on a daily basis. Incidents like this have become all too familiar: “When COVID was at its worst, a man stopped me in the street, he grabbed my arm, and […]

A new ‘Kung Fu’ debuts at a crucial time for Asian Americans

NEW YORK — Up-and-coming actors will sometimes claim to know a variety of skills to be considered for roles, but Olivia Liang set a boundary early in her career. “When I started off in the industry, people would ask me why martial arts wasn’t on my resume because it was such a typecast for Asians […]

REVIEW: Once more unto the breach in ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’

“Godzilla vs. Kong” begins, fittingly, with the big guy asleep. There is King Kong, colossus of the big screen, slowing waking on a mountainside. He rouses slowly in the morning sun from slumber before showering in a nearby waterfall. It’s, maybe, a little bit the same for the kind of movies King Kong symbolizes and […]

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