Famous Japanese Americans

This post actually started off as an update to my previous post because I had forgotten to mention one of my newest finds.
Guy Kawasaki has started a blog: Let the Good Times Roll
He’s kind of an idol for business-minded Japanese Americans, along with Robert Kiyosaki. Politically-minded JA’s are probably more into Senator Inouye or Congressmen Matsui/Honda (or in Hawaii, George Ariyoshi, the first JA governor of a US state. Also, in Los Angeles this might be Paul Tanaka, the current Mayor of Gardena and assistant Sheriff). Academics? Francis Fukuyama or Michio Kaku. Musicians? Hands down, Hiro Yamamoto (original Soundgarden bassist), Seiji Ozawa (Boston Symphony Orchestra), or, more recently, Rachel Yamagata (Utada Hikaru is disqualified for using the word “Japanesey” in her lyrics).
Who is the most famous JA of all time? The arts/entertainment industry is represented by Pat Morita and George Takei most recently, but there’s also Mako, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Tamlyn Tomita, James Iha, Mike Shinoda, Devon Aoki, Tak Fujimoto, etc., etc., and let us not forget, USAGI YOJIMBO FOREVER!
For those not impressed with Hollywood, let me offer some real-life heroes: Fred Korematsu (Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient), Ellison Onizuka (one of the Challenger seven), Kristi Yamaguchi (come on, you don’t live under a rock, do you?).
I know it’s out of vogue to talk about the war in this day and age, but I grew up hearing about internment stories and what it means to be persecuted by fellow Americans, and then go fight a war for them anyway. It is very important to me. I grew up with a chest of my grandfather’s things in my closet. In it was a military dress hat; the name embroidered on the side was of my grandfather’s closest friend. SADAO MUNEMORI.
So yeah, all those guys are heroes to me. They lived their life under a common motto: GO FOR BROKE
It is something to remember.

3 thoughts on “Famous Japanese Americans”

  1. i grew up absolutely adoring kristi yamaguchi and tamlyn tomita and i’m a current fan of rachel yamagata! fred korematsu is also a figure i’ve grown to admire after recently learning about his case.

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