Grandma’s gift

Shinayo Mori, my grandma, was born in 1899, outside the city of Hiroshima. She arrived in Honolulu as a shy, introverted picture bride at age 17. Her marriage was arranged by her parents and uncle. The groom would later be my grandfather, Shinichi Mori. I was stung by her death in 1990. She had been fighting […]

Ohagi (Botamochi) おはぎ (ぼたもち)

Made with glutinous rice and red bean paste, these Japanese sweet rice balls are offered to one’s ancestors and eaten during the spring and autumn equinoxes in Japan. They are called botamochi in spring and ohagi in autumn. Growing up in Japan, I remember we had a lot of cultural, seasonal and sometimes religious celebrations […]

Unearthing a monumental controversy: Removal of memorial to Topaz shooting victim enrages community

Japanese American community members — including wartime incarceration survivors, their descendants, and allies — are outraged that a monument memorializing an Issei prisoner shot and killed in the wartime Topaz (Central Utah) concentration camp by a United States Army sentry was unearthed this summer from the site of his death near the camp’s security fence […]

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 […]

Third Culture Bakery donates thousands of safety kits to combat anti-Asian hate

In March, after a white gunman shot eight people, including six women of Asian descent in Atlanta, Berkeley, Calif.-based Third Culture Bakery co-owners Wenter Shyu and Sam Butarbutar started an initiative to donate thousands of safety kits to nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York to help combat anti-Asian hate. “We […]

For SFO’s ‘Fidelio’ director, the Beethoven opera is personal

Matthew Ozawa sees a vital beacon of hope for the downtrodden in the opera’s dramatic arc from oppression to liberation Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in San Francisco Classical Voice on Sept. 14, 2021. It is republished by permission. Long before he was born, Matthew Ozawa says there was a vital family connection with […]

Man charged in anti-Asian rant against Olympic athlete

ORANGE, Calif. — Prosecutors filed a hate crime charge against a 26-year-old man Sept. 24 in connection with an anti-Asian rant targeted at a Japanese American Olympic athlete in Southern California earlier this year. The defendant, Michael Orlando Vivona, was previously charged with attacking an elderly Asian couple while they took a walk in the […]

New Asian American bakeries find bicultural sweet spot

OAKLAND, Calif. — For some Asian Americans, the dim sum cookie at Sunday Bakeshop here will taste like childhood. It looks like a typical sugar cookie except with sesame seeds on top. But bite into the creamy, red bean center and it’s reminiscent of the fried, filled sesame balls served at a Chinese dim sum […]

City slows down process to pursue S.F. Japantown hotel for permanent housing

As pressure from San Francisco Japantown community members mounts, the city has emphasized its intent to slow down the proposal to purchase the Kimpton Buchanan Hotel at 1800 Sutter St. introduced mid-August, while the city supervisor whose district includes the ethnic enclave proposed two other hotels to purchase. San Francisco’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive […]

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