Koji Steven Sakai is one of our 8Asians veteran writers. His posts not only get the most visits, it stays on the top of the list for a very, very, very long time. Here’s a chance to get to know this very prolific Asian American writer in just 8Questions:
Describe who you are.
I am a father. I am Asian American. I am a fourth generation Japanese American. I am a screenwriter, a film producer, and a fantasy sports geek!
What are your hobbies and interests?
Hobbies? That’s a good one. Once I had a child, I don’t seem to have any spare time. But I guess I really like audiobooks. I listen to them all the time – when I’m driving, walking my dog, doing chores. If I had more time, I would hike, backpack, and read more. Probably get more sleep too. Definitely get more sleep!
What Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) issues are you most passionate about?
I’m most passionate about Japanese American history, specifically what happened to Japanese Americans during the Second World War. As a filmmaker, I have a vested interest in Asian American films and filmmakers.
What sort of articles do you write for 8Asians and why?
I like to write about things that interest me. Things that I would want to read online. So the topics I usually cover are: stereotypes and how Asian/Asian Americans are seen by others, Japanese American history/culture, and identity issues in raising an APIA child.
What other APIA writing or activities are you actively involved in?
I have written two Asian American films (The People I’ve Slept With and Chink) and am active in the API film community. In addition to my work in film, I have worked at the Japanese American National Museum for more than 10 years. Currently, I am the programs manager, which is a fancy way of saying that I help oversee the exhibitions and public programs.
What is the greatest challenge that the APIA community faces?
The biggest challenge the APIA community faces is just trying to make sure we have a voice at the table. Whether that voice is in politics, entertainment, business, or wherever, it is important that our voice is not only just heard but listened to.
Who’s your APIA hero?
My APIA hero is Frank Emi. He was one of the leaders of the Fair Play Committee in the Heart Mountain concentration camp. He went to jail for 18 months in Leavenworth, Kansas, for “encourag[ing] internees to refuse military service until their full citizenship rights were restored,” this despite the fact that he was exempt from military service himself.
What is your favorite Asian comfort food?
My favorite Asian comfort food is Japanese curry rice. Yummy! On one trip to Japan (when I was a kid), I would only eat curry rice! I was committed to my love!