Film and Television

ENTERTAINMENT RE-ORIENTED: #Thiswas2016

“When the house is going up in flames, does what’s on the TV matter?” That’s the question I kept asking myself as I sat down to write this year-end column. In October, Michael Luo, then an editor for The New York Times, was accosted on the street by a woman yelling, “Go back to China!” […]

Film documents the legendary Mifune, ‘The Last Samurai’

There are few actors more deserving of a feature-length documentary than Toshiro Mifune. Yet none existed until filmmaker Steven Okazaki directed “Mifune: The Last Samurai” (80 minutes), which hits Bay Area theaters Friday, Dec. 9. The Academy Award-winning director of documentaries on subjects ranging from the stories of victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima […]

Mifune honored with star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

LOS ANGELES — A ceremony was held Nov. 15 to unveil a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for the late Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune, who appeared in a number of films directed by Akira Kurosawa. “Next year will be 20 years since Mifune passed away and it is great to know that his […]

UNITED BY COMPASSION: Film premiere leads to historic meeting of descendants tied to heroic Japanese diplomat

At the dawn of World War II, Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Lithuania at the time, saved thousands of lives by going against his country’s wishes to issue transit visas to Jewish refugees trying to escape Lithuania. Descendants of three families of those survivors met Madoka Sugihara, the storied diplomat’s granddaughter, and Keisuke Sugihara, […]

Actor makes documentary on Japanese who helped Jews escape Holocaust

TOKYO — A London-based Japanese actor has created a short documentary film that sheds light on individuals who helped Jews escape from Nazi persecution as well as those who have worked to see that this history is passed on. “There was a Japanese diplomat who issued visas in defiance of the Japanese government to allow […]

Director of Japanese-Jewish heritage reflects on Japanese diplomat who saved Jewish refugees

Cellin Gluck is not your typical Japanese American. He was actually born in Wakayama Prefecture to a Jewish American father from New York, Jay Gluck, and a Japanese American mother, Sumi Hiramoto Gluck, who was born and raised in Lodi, Calif. His parents met in New York, years after his Nisei mother was incarcerated in […]

‘Kubo’ delivers an animated love letter to Japanese culture

“If you must blink, do it now,” instructs Kubo, a magical boy storyteller in the stop-motion adventure “Kubo and the Two Strings” to his rapt audience. In stop-motion animations, in the blink of an eye, 24 frames of film are shot. The time and dedication to take those shots for one second of film is […]

‘Star Trek Beyond’ identifies Sulu as gay

The Australian Herald Sun reported July 7 that John Cho, who portrays Hikaru Sulu in the reboot of the “Star Trek” films, revealed that his character is gay, a decision made by “Star Trek Beyond’s” director Justin Lin and writer Simon Pegg. The decision serves as a nod to George Takei, who originally played Sulu, […]

A heartwarming film of cross-cultural discovery rolled into ‘East Side Sushi’

“You have to be open to something different,” says single mom Juana Martinez, played by newcomer Diana Elizabeth Torres, to her young daughter (Kaya Jade Aguirre). And that something is sushi made by a Mexican American woman who dreams of becoming a sushi chef in the award-winning film “East Side Sushi” by director Anthony Lucero. […]

APA Media Coalition condemns Hollywood’s use of whitewashing and yellowface

LOS ANGELES — The Asian Pacific American Media Coalition issued a statement condemning recent decisions to select two white actresses to play the roles of Asian characters in forthcoming films. “Scarlett Johansson will play a Japanese cyborg whose name has been changed from Major Motoko Kusanagi to simply ‘The Major’ in the new DreamWorks film […]

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