“When you died in 1971 of a heart attack, at the age of forty seven, you still thought your novel was a failure, and I’m truly sorry about that, and I’m writing this now to tell you that it wasn’t. No-No Boy has the honor of being the first Japanese American novel, and among the first of what has become an entire literary canon of Asian American literature. You broke the ground for us, John Okada, and now, in 2014, we’re celebrating you again. I just wish you were alive to enjoy this moment.”
Ruth Ozeki, addressing John Okada from her new foreword to No-No Boy
“…he began living exclusively in the attic of his head. And his head was a strange place that season, even he had to admit.”
— Porochista Khakpour, The Last Illusion

Words With Friends: #Lit Edition #harukimurakami


This is a list of some of the greatest Chinese American names ever.

(via aaww-nyc)


I can’t recommend watching this documentary about Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli enough. It’s called The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, and you can find it online with English subtitles if you look hard enough, or you can wait til this fall, when it should be getting an actual US release.

There’s a profoundness and simplicity to all of it that welled up tears in my eyes throughout the film. If anything, it’s a look into Miyazaki and how he lives and works and thinks and just the bundles of contradictions and modes of expression that filter through him. And it’s an examination of an animation studio with a near unblemished 29 year, 20 film track record, which should fascinate someone who has never even heard of them.

Plus, Hideaki Anno is featured pretty prominently, which is a nice added bonus! 

(And that’s to say nothing of Ushiko, the super cute cat that lives in the studio)

“I’ve experienced firsthand how the “model minority” narrative– this strange tendency to assume that Asians are simply a quiet, high-achieving community tagging along with our white brethren into a melting pot of joy–effectively de-legitimizes our voices in conversations about promoting racial justice. Leaving our voices and experiences out of the fight for racial justice erases our long, often tragic history in this country and homogenizes all Asians into one, high-achieving blob. Leaving us out means turning a blind eye to the fact that 1 in 6 Filipino-Americans and 1 in 4 Korean-Americans are undocumented, that Southeast Asians have the highest high school dropout rates in the country, that Asian American students are the most bullied ethnic group in classrooms, and that Asian women are consistently hypersexualized, objectified, and orientalized via widespread media representations. If you choose not to include us in discussions on racial justice, you are telling us that our struggles don’t matter.”
“In 2009, an exhaustive study published by sociologists at Princeton Uinversity found that when measured on an all-things-being-equal basis, Asian Americans were required to score at least 140 points higher than whites on standardized tests, in order to qualify for admission into top universities.”

A.O. Scott’s amazing takedown of the new Woody Allen movie calls out it use of yellowface:

One of Wei Ling Soo’s signature tricks is making an elephant disappear, and “Magic in the Moonlight” is sufficiently tedious that, once you’re done admiring the linen suits, cloche hats and tennis sweaters, you may start thinking about other elephants in the room. For example: the curious matter of Stanley’s stage persona, who sports red silk robes, a Fu Manchu mustache and heavy makeup. There’s no doubt that such Orientalism was part of the popular culture of an earlier era, but then again, so was blackface, and it’s unlikely that a present-day filmmaker would so blithely present his main character crooning in dialect with burnt cork on his cheeks.