Posts Tagged ‘Asian American’

Seattle is home to all sorts of interesting “niche” museums, and while I haven’t had a chance to see them all yet, I wanted to share with you my photos of the permanent exhibitions of the The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. Located in Seattle’s International District, the museum is the only pan-Asian museum in the US, and serves as both a look at the history of Asian immigration to the Pacific Northwest as well as a space to explore contemporary American identity politics.

The permanent exhibitions include biographical information on Wing Luke, who was born in China and immigrated to the US when he was 10. A WWII veteran, he was the first Asian-American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest. He served on the Seattle city council until his death in a plane crash in 1965.

Wing Luke's biography.

Wing Luke’s biography.


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Laura Kina "Gosei" oil on canvas, 30x45 in., 2012 on view in Under My Skin. Via Laura Kina's blog.

Laura Kina “Gosei” oil on canvas, 30×45 in., 2012 on view in Under My Skin. Via Laura Kina’s blog.

As a fellow Japanese-Studies scholar, I feel I ought to comment on Maggie Thorpe’s “You don’t have to be mixed-race to have a mixed identity” in The Seattle Globalist. Although the article begins as a review of the Under My Skin exhibition at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle, Thorpe, a white grad student at University of Washington, uses the themes of the exhibition to discuss her personal identification with Japanese culture:

I became infatuated with Japanese culture when I was 8. Growing up in the southwest, I was like many white American youth, feeling “vanilla” and “boring” because I did not have a culture that was easily definable. So I found something else that appealed to me. These days, my co-worker announces frequently that I am the most Japanese at the Japanese restaurant I work at. The restaurant owned by a Japanese man, and staffed by mostly Japanese-American workers. When a Japanese pop song comes on the radio that I admit I don’t recognize, or there’s a reference to an anime I don’t know, I’m teased for not living up to my Japanese-obsessed reputation.

The article is problematic, to say the least, (more…)

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