Miki Ishikawa - Interview Transcript
Emi Lea Kamemoto: [00:00:00] Mickey, we first met you virtually in, in clubhouse, I believe. But I know that , David watched the terror. I have to admit, I did not only because a full blown wimp, cannot handle any stories with ghosts, but I watched every single trailer read every single synopsis that I could because I can’t handle
Miki Ishikawa: I still appreciate the support. I don’t know, honestly, a lot of the people like my friends and other people too. They’re like, we really want to watch it, but we just can’t, we’re such scaredy cats and I’m like, it’s fine to, or I feel your support. So
Emi Lea Kamemoto: to get over it. I’m going to get over it because we need to do it for the people. And I’ll just do this,
Miki Ishikawa: yeah.
Masami Moriya: My grandma said the same thing.
Miki Ishikawa: No, it’s actually really funny. It was , I guess I told my dad, I swear. I told my dad, okay , it’s a horror, but with this, the Japanese American incarceration. And all I told him he, I had him come to the screening actually with his wife. And , he like SCORM through it, and had no idea that this was the show.
And he was like [00:01:00] the whole time, like pinching his wife and be like, Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. And I, and then he told me afterwards, I was like, pretty sure I told you. And he’s no, you didn’t tell me it was a horror. And he was like, Oh my God. And then bless him. He watched it every week.
And he tuned in, he was like, like this, like his hands over his eyes obviously. And he was just like so hard to get there. And I was like , appreciate you watching.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: That’s love. That’s what we gotta do for great content that drives the conversation. Obviously. We’d love to people’s family stories and their identity. So we’d love to know you identify , any way shape or form.
That is a completely open-ended question. tell us a little bit about what your identity to you and how that relates to your family.
Miki Ishikawa: So I identify myself as American first. And then, Asian-American female it’s interesting because of the type of work that I do, I’m already into boxes. I try not to put myself into a box because yes, of course, like I’m a proud Asian woman, Asian American woman, I also am so much more than that.
[00:02:00] And , at the end of the day, just to say American and it’s interesting, I’ve been having this conversation with some people and a lot of my friends like internationally, right? is one of the only places where you say black American or African American or Mexican American, Asian American.
that already is. titles and boxes that we’ve been having to put ourselves into. And that’s so interesting because if you go to England, like just British, not here. You’re not, of course there’s the other things too, and I’m not saying that for every country, but like for the most part.
Miki Ishikawa: And so America is very unique in that sense
what our identity I identify as, what
we identify as. And yeah, again, like going back to, my my roots, my parents are from Japan , they’re immigrants to the States. They lived here for over 30 years and that was an interesting upbringing as well too, because my, I have two older brothers and my struggle is a little bit different than my older brothers.
They definitely had it , a lot more difficult than I did, but, I have a lot of memories as well, too, but. Especially with my [00:03:00] oldest brother, like he struggled with identifying, like we lived in, we were all born in , Denver, Colorado, and at that time for him, and he’s 10 years older than me, but he called himself a banana and he really struggled with the traditions of my parents.
And , trying to conform to fitting in as like a white, like in what like white community was because he was one of the only Asian kids. And I, mine is a little bit different. Like I, I lived in Denver till I was three, and then I moved to Hawaii and then being like a very obviously multicultural Asian centric.
Area is identity was never really questioned and everyone was just everyone loved each other. And obviously the Hawaiian spirit is also just everyone’s gone on everyone’s family. But I moved to the, to , LA, when it going into fourth grade, And I moved , to her most of each area of Redondo beach area, South Bay.
And it just, I was, I then was made to realize what I was that I was Asian and everyone made me know. And I was well aware of that at that point. So it’s I have all these things [00:04:00] right. Of, of , like everyone else telling me now what I was. And rather than me trying to figure it out, obviously again, like yet we spoke Japanese at home and, it’s just so many different things of everyone’s.
Upbringing is so different how their experience is so different, but, and then going into the industry at a really young age, then again, being told like what I was and that I
off certain boxes. I’ve had, I’ve never struggled with my identity, but I definitely have aware of what other people tried to make me out to be.
And so that’s been an interesting, like uphill battle to stand my ground and learn. And I’m of course I’m still learning and coming into my own, but yeah, so it’s just all these exterior and how much that placates, what our identity is.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: That’s so inspiring to me. David and I have had different with our own identity, but I also with moving around a lot, found myself being given labels by other people. Whereas at a young age, had the privilege of growing up in a community where I literally [00:05:00] thought everybody’s at least everybody had one Japanese parent and one John non-Japanese parent.
And when I moved to the States, Those labels kept coming, but I actually don’t think I found that strength to really define myself until maybe even just beginning my late twenties and to hear, Oh my gosh, I can’t wait for like other people to hear your story, to realize that they don’t have to wait for other people to label them.
can define themselves. And even there’s sometimes the of a label makes you think Oh, okay. Maybe this is a part of me, but that exploration is truly of your own.
Miki Ishikawa: completely your own journey.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: Yeah. You had mentioned that you joined the entertainment industry at a young age. you share a little bit about how you got into the entertainment industry and why wanted to be a part of it?
Miki Ishikawa: Yeah, my , my, my story, is pretty unique, especially like being from like a traditional Japanese family. My mom was actually not very traditional. Like my mom, my dad’s side of the family is [00:06:00] very traditional. All that academia and, good schools, good grades, like everything like that.
My dad as well. But my dad, he was sent to study abroad here when he was a teenager. So that journey in itself is really interesting for him. So he, not that he is, he doesn’t identify himself as an American, really, even though he is American at this point. My mom, she actually , was, she was pursuing modeling and those kinds of things.
So she was already like, she grew up in , which is like party central. so she had a very different upbringing than my dad. And , yeah, so she, anyway, she moved to the States, they got together and. She was pursuing that. So I grew up watching my mom, like modeling and doing commercials and that kind of stuff.
And , I don’t know, it just seemed cool. So she me into it at a young age. I think my first photo shoot, what was I like two? And she said, I like solved on set. And she’s Oh, this girl’s not cut out for it. And so as I got a little bit older, more, when we moved to Hawaii, then I , started doing, like commercials and like print stuff.
And it was like fun. And , same time it was like doing a whole bunch of other [00:07:00] things. And still obviously studying and all these things, but my dad never really said anything. then we moved to LA and , I really was like, yeah, I wanna do this. It just, it w on top of it being fun, I just was like, really loved doing it.
And The attention of it, and like other things and meaning fun people. Like it was just, so I started, it started, like I signed with my first agent I was 11. like I really started working and then I, 11 to 12, like I booked my first show and then move on from there.
So it’s very interesting upbringing because Again , my parents didn’t really force me to go to college or do all these things. My dad, I think the only thing he ever said was just, yeah, make sure you have good grades. That’s it? My grandparents back in Japan were like, what is she doing?
And then again, like both my brothers, they D they opted out of college. So then it became like this thing of okay, Mickey has to go to college. I was like, I’m not going to go to college. And , cause I was already working so much by then. And I just was like, you know what, this is what I’m pursuing is my career.
I can go back to school if I wanted. And it just wasn’t a [00:08:00] priority for me. So like I graduated in three years, I homeschooled for high school. Like I just wanted to finish , got good grades, all those things. I was fine, but yeah, very unique and very different. So have to remind some of my friends sometimes that I was a child actor and it’s such a weird combo I already feel like I’m 29, I’ll be 30 this year.
But honestly, I feel like I’ve lived so many lifetimes already such a short period of time. Like I forget the things that I’ve already experienced at a very young age and I’m like, Oh yeah, I’ve done that already. And I just, the way I move in the way I experienced or have experienced things is just , it’s just so different.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: Wow. Dang. So cha that journey from you really have created like your own design, life in many ways, it sounds like.
Miki Ishikawa: Yeah.
like I had the opposite experience of a lot of my friends now, cause they all started pursuing industry maybe at a, not a super late age, but like [00:09:00] a later age than I did obviously. And then like when I turned 21, couldn’t
So then all of a sudden, like how to like. Experience real life of getting a real job and I’m still pursuing what I wanted to do, but like living paycheck to paycheck and not knowing like how to survive and all those things. And , don’t regret any experience that I’ve ever had to go through though.
I really do believe I’m a huge believer that everything does happen for a reason, whether we understand it or not. And so I’m really grateful for everything that I’ve had to go through in, struggle, because it was like all of a sudden, like to it, not that I had lived a certain lifestyle, like working and being on set and those kinds of things was my life.
And all of a sudden now it’s can’t even get a job can’t, not even being sent out auditions and just so much stuff. And so it was like and I went through that period for six years before I started actually working again. And yeah, it was tough, I never , up and I never.
from what I wanted to do it, wasn’t like, Oh, this is for the birds. I just kept going , is just what I need to go through right now. So I am [00:10:00] really grateful for everything I’ve had to experience. And I think if anything, it just, put the log in my fire of I just need to keep working harder and harder.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: was there a moment your career at, through your experiences in the industry from a young age to now that catalyzed advocacy for Asian-American representation? that a through line throughout.
Miki Ishikawa: it’s still a process. I will say that, but, I think like I can tell you my earliest experience. So when I was , I think I was like 12, I was up for my first TV show, the lead on a TV show. And it was between me and a girl of Hispanic descent and with all the way to, to test for the show and everything like that.
And, you’re so young and you’re so excited and , I was so naive and obviously didn’t know anything, but it was just exciting, to even be in this position now. And I’m so few words, and this is again, such a long time ago, but basically the feeling I was much told was that the reason why I didn’t get it was because Asians don’t have a bigger [00:11:00] demographic than Hispanic or Latino Latin X community does.
And so that’s pretty much the reason. And I was heartbroken because it’s that was the moment I was. I realized, Oh, we are inferior to every other race we are not looked at. And I just, accepted that as sad as that is. And being at that age, like again, like from all my experiences, even before that, like just to take that seat back is hard, they still love me.
They still put me on the show , a smaller role, obviously. And then I went on to do some other stuff, but. That was , a big eye opener for me. And it did again, it just, I was so accepting of that, of like my position as an Asian American actor. then even, just like growing up and the industry of every time we’d go to auditions there’s was like me plus five other of the same girls and we all never spoke to each other.
It was like the coldest thing. We all just felt this competent, like an unspoken competition that there’s only one of us, so we couldn’t be friends. that really is what the industry [00:12:00] has done. Like as far as pitting us against each other that we don’t, there is not enough room for everyone.
And it’s so interesting that like now as an adult and where I’m at exactly in my life, like I have a group of girlfriends right now that are all Asian actresses, Asian-American Asian, Canadian , and we all are around the same age group and we all go for the same things, but we are the most supportive.
Of each other. And it’s we literally cried the other day of just I’m, we’re so grateful for this friendship because we all wish we had it when we were younger because we know how hard it’s been to the field. Like you’re the only person, but we’re, it’s the times change times as has changed.
I think for me, it’s really only been in the last couple years me experiencing , what does it mean? And what does my representation mean in this industry? And how does it affect the community and how does it affect people being seen? And , and I will tell you , even this past, literally this hit me just yesterday.
I , started getting an outpour [00:13:00] of, people, girls, Asian, women, Asian girls reaching out to me, DME and all this stuff. And basically just saying you have no idea how much it means to see you on this big of a show. And , And when I did like I had, when I signed up, I did think about that.
But then to read that was like, it just so profound and it really reminded me of why I’m doing what I’m doing and which is if I can just inspire a one person, that’s all that matters and I’ve done my job, I can move on and in whatever, it’s like, that means, right? Inspiring them with if this is what they want to do, or if they want to have something in a creative field or just be seen.
And it’s just, it’s so crazy that we’re still at this point where it’s like a shock see someone of that looks like us a certain position, rather being like, Oh
cool. She just happens to be Asian. I know I’m jumping ahead in so many things, but yeah, it was just like that happened yesterday.
And I was just like, this is crazy, and I definitely, it was beyond me. So I’m very grateful for everyone that [00:14:00] has reached out for me because of that. And it, it truly does mean a lot to me.
Masami Moriya: No, that’s amazing. It’s really important for people to see , see yourself do that and see others achieve such a status. No, if anyone hasn’t already heard on a podcast or somewhere else you’re on the Falcon and the winter soldier, I think that’s a huge deal. That’s Disney pause. That’s Marvel.
It’s a huge leap for ’em. Just to see representation, but not only for us as a community, for yourself as an actress as well. I’m sure. And, you’ve already expressed it and how you feel, but what does that why are we singing your favorite moments or what made you feel that way that made you feel like , this was really special.
Miki Ishikawa: So even when I signed on, to be honest, it was a whirlwind. I was like, I don’t even know if I have recollection to be honest of a lot. It was just like, okay, boom, you got it. Okay. Boom. You’re going, I didn’t know who I was. They did. Marvel is super secretive. I still care. It’s just so much stuff.
I literally didn’t know who I was playing until I was like flying there. Which was also like, can you be on a flight in four hours? So it’s it’s insane. It’s intense. It’s like a lot of things. I had no time to think about what does this [00:15:00] role mean or anything it’s just Marvel is super fricking cool.
And , Am I allowed to cuss on this, by the way, if I drop some bombs, it’s because I have a potty mouth,
I just censor myself by saying frickin. So there you go. But , had no time to end, like literally just being on set. Like no time. I just literally was like, okay, I’m here. Let me do my job.
Let me do a good job. No thought process of let me like represent like nothing just was like, cool. We’re here. And that for me was, so it’s only now literally as it’s released that, I’ve now been able to acknowledge all of this stuff because for me at the time, like definitely did think about it even afterwards.
Didn’t think about it because again, for me sometimes, and I think a lot of other people can relate. Sometimes it’s just job for us. And we’re just still trying to get a job. And , course, like there is all these things of what does this mean and what could potentially happen and that.
But I think we already have so much pressure on ourselves to just even get a job and do the job well that I think by adding on a layer of representing the community, [00:16:00] it’s that’s a lot of pressure and, we already pressure ourselves as enough as artists. And I think least for me, I try to avoid that because I don’t want to feel like I have the burden, not, I wouldn’t say burden is a hard word.
Just have this, the pressure carrying the community you’re representing the community in whatever light so there’s that, but as, as far as moments, I’m like trying to remember it was just so crazy. It just, it’s exciting, but like Sebastian sands is wonderful and he was to work with.
And I didn’t know what to expect, obviously going on and say, you have no idea when you enter something of this, of a big of a machine. And I had a great experience. It was great, overall. And , it was just so interesting. Cause couldn’t talk about it with anyone could say it was just like this secret that I was holding for so long.
It was it. Yeah. And then, yeah, like obviously I didn’t, I saw it with all of everyone when it released. I had no idea. Like I saw tiny clip when I had to go record. But that’s pretty much it like no idea. I was terrified that they cut me out. I don’t know, like that’s just also part of the actor’s life.
It’s we don’t feel safe until literally it’s out. And then we [00:17:00] see and we’re like, okay, cool. This is also, you have no idea. Especially that of being a person of color, it’s we already feel again, like inferior in that sense of like we don’t know how much of our storyline contributes to another storyline that, that isn’t VOC.
Masami Moriya: Yeah, like what , what viewpoint or coming from, how’s it being seen and , how’s it being recorded, everything like that as even written
Miki Ishikawa: and it just to add , I think they did a wonderful job of not fantasizing, not making it a thing that I was Asian and just, we happen to be Asian. So I will say like kudos to, to, Marvel and everyone over there for making this as , like a thing about Asians. It just happened to be a place that he went to happened to be the friend that he made happen to be the girl that he go on days like that they’re Asian.
That I think is , Alrighty, like such a huge advance.
Masami Moriya: Yeah. And we’re recording this the week after the first premiere. So I haven’t seen no one that I’ve seen the second, any further episodes, but we’re launching this in may or when it should be already on our launched. But , even from the first [00:18:00] episode and putting your previous, some of your previous Shoals, how’s it make you feel that you’re being played , that you get to play a Japanese role , instead of just in general Asian role or playing another ethnicity and how in the catatonic you feel.
Miki Ishikawa: this is a really interesting topic. I wouldn’t say I’m struggling with it, like obviously I think for, even for Falcon, winter soldier, I will say like wasn’t, I’m trying to think, Oh, it was a description in Japanese. Sorry, we’ll say that. But as far as the industry goes, This is a really touchy subject.
Just because again, way that everything’s headed, I was like being so specific of how castings are of like be of Japanese descent or must be of whatever it’s hard because there aren’t enough roles to begin with. And so even my stance on this honestly, has changed a lot. I used to very much be like, no person of this descent must only be able to play this type of character if that character calls for it.
But now, just seeing and having conversations with [00:19:00] so many people and stepping back, it’s no , I, for me, I do believe like we need to really open this up of not at the end of the day, an actor is just an actor of getting a job and we can’t fault them for the decisions of casting that is being made.
And, I even posted a Twitter that tweet about this. And I remember so many people, I just wanted to know what people thought, and , I think this conversation is continuously needs to happen. And I think this conversation has happened with casting directors and studios as well of because as Asians were quote unquote, like the monolith, right?
So we’re all just one group. then all of a sudden now, because they’re trying to be PC, now it’s Oh, must be of Chinese descent and all this other stuff. And it’s okay, that eliminates any other potential Asian actor who could potentially read for this. And at the end of the day, I think there’s so many parameters.
the character speak that language? Does a character Is it a huge part of the storyline? Is it an American storyline? So there’s just so many things. And I think now we’re being going into the hard left direction of just it [00:20:00] must be this and this, but it’s really hard for all the other groups who now feel like they’re being pushed away.
that they might not have as many opportunities to be in like Southeast Asians, South Asians, like they already struggled to begin with. And so now we’re just completely, not even allowing opportunity because at the end of the day, like as actors, you want the best actors for these roles.
if the best actor for this role just doesn’t happen to be of whatever the character is, descent is it sucks what if you’re missing out on potentially having the best actor for that role who can maybe learn to speak that language? Who can look like this part? I’ll say this like white people don’t have to go through this.
They don’t. There’s so many examples of films, right? Like even Chernobyl, I think is one of the biggest ones where that is such a specific, unique story. one question that any of those actors. We’re not from that place and didn’t speak the language. It didn’t even matter. They all had different accents even.
[00:21:00] And so for us, it’s like we’re held to such a different standard and, especially at the end of the day, it’s an American story. It’s just, it’s so difficult because we’re now all arguing within our own community and tearing each other apart because of this. And that’s not good. We need to move forward collectively.
And I think we are we’re totally are. And the fact that we’re even able to have these dialogues show the signs of progress, there’s still so much work to be done in that sense. And I know totally just went on a rant, but I have so much to say about this topic.
Masami Moriya: It’s the perfect place for this. And I that’s the kind of questions we want to hold up a little more and I know it wasn’t an outline. I just came to my head. I was like, Oh yeah , that’s a really good , point to make. Cause I think that’s the conversation to be had even with accents and doing places like that.
And we’ve talked about casting before and clubhouse it’s like, how does that really , affect the roles? And the system that way that it’s being played. I think there’s room for both of this question in both sides that we need more proper representation, but it can be opened up. And I think it comes down for me.
It comes [00:22:00] down to the writers and the producers of understanding the differences. Can I just have white writers just writing specifically Chinese roles and then like after catch cast Chinese, but that role never had to be specifically Chinese.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: only because the writers knew about Chinese people or culture versus c’mon or allow, or, OpenAI, the, I do see that as being a big blocker. You really put it so well, Mickey for me to understand that. Yeah. Like when are you going to read a script? That’s we want allow mean like lead in this and we want them to , or combine, or it’s going to be somebody from Vietnam from this time, came to America, et cetera.
level of specificity maybe is starting to come up. But it there’s so many identities that are going to be erased in that specificity, which is super challenging.
Miki Ishikawa: Yeah. And I think, in regards to if it’s just an Asian American narrative at the end of the day just looking for [00:23:00] Asian-American. Okay. You can still hire whoever you want. And if it does make a point to meaning to learn their backstory or if they have how involved their family is in the story and all these things, then yeah, sure.
Like maybe use what that actor really is and use what their background is. So then the comfortable, but I think already, right talking about boxes and having to fill these things, it’s the other big thing is like the amount of queer Asian female roles. I’ve had to go up before and it’s who is a hacker or who is whatever it has a blue streak.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to read these specific things and all they’re my friends too. And we joke about it because we’re like, God, how many, of course we love that. There’s, they’re trying to have representation for the queer community, Asian community. Cool. But it’s like, many of these roles do you need?
And it’s like a, it’s like a cop out and then you see who’s writing and you’re like, Oh , okay. Sorry, I’ll do the little noises or for both of my daughters. See then you see that limited [00:24:00] progress. there’s just so much again, there’s yeah. There’s so much I could talk about this for hours, but I will say that yes.
From when I started to now, have made much progress. But will I say there’s much progress to
Emi Lea Kamemoto: cool.
Miki Ishikawa: yeah. We are like barely touching the surface of just again, like what you brought up. Of like just all the now specificities within our own community. And that, that needs to fully be explored and we deserve that, and that we are monoliths and that we all have different stories and upbringings, even just I’ll be specific.
Like even if it sometimes, a role as required for a Japanese accent, I hate doing it to be honest, I always ask , how thick does it need to be? Why does it need to be like this? Did she go to an international school? There’s just
so many things that I’m like, what is the reason for her having an accent?
Just so we know. But then for them to say Oh, can it be heavier? And like, why. If she’s in a, like how she’s [00:25:00] lived here for how long? And she moved here to America, like again, like why just keep now I’m like really putting my foot down of like, why? And I really am like, I don’t want to be the accent.
If it doesn’t have anything to do with the story, and it’s only for the audience to be like, Oh, she’s Asian or she’s Japanese American. Like will audience don’t know , you
Emi Lea Kamemoto: know already by seeing the
Miki Ishikawa: Exactly. So I’m just like why. And again, this goes back to the fact that Asians are held at a different standard and that it’s like for again, white America, to be able to understand that, Oh, they’re Asian, I’m like, you already look at us.
Exactly. Like you said, we’re Asian, so all those things it’s you could really break it down and really get specific with a lot of these things.
Masami Moriya: Okay. Yeah. And to that point too, like I had someone come to me with I think it really does come down to , having the writers have something in it. And then, like you said before, if you cast somebody who is a different ethnicity, then you can go and re, re look at the script and see what could be changed that be added, even if it’s something [00:26:00] small or Eric, or does it have to be, it’s just something that we can , start to play with.
As we start to grow, there’s no hard and hard structure that we have to stay on , things more to mold.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: Eyeopening, because it requires a level of flexibility, right? For writers to be able to juke and maneuver, say, in stories that your actor or you’re person behind the camera, who else is on set, ask them about their experiences, their identities, and be able to weave that into the script that requires a fairly good writer.
And I would hope that most writers are able to I also understand that there’s challenges and there’s even walls for writers to to against, to advocate for this. But I love that. Both of you are sharing experiences, where a question, like, why does this have to have an accent?
Why do you think that this storyline leads to this sort of identity, et cetera. And with that question alone, it’s not like you’re telling [00:27:00] off that person. It’s not like you’re trying to say you’re wrong. It’s us have a deeper understanding. And then can bring some of my perspective experience to the cup, to the conversation, and hopefully make some changes that even in a lot of the work that I do, like the day jobs work that I do is in diversity, equity and inclusion.
And I find that this question of why are you choosing to act this way or why you’re choosing to say this or call out this this with leaders is crucial to them actually making change themselves. Versus just like giving them the answer saying no, this is wrong. You need to do it this way. Being able to say, Hey , why did you want to do it this way? Let’s have a conversation. We talk about this a lot on the podcast calling in versus calling out. I think that calling in the why question is part of that calling in strategy to influence change,
Miki Ishikawa: Yeah.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: yeah,
Miki Ishikawa: Yeah. I sorry. No, I was just going to [00:28:00] point, like a lot of it does just come to lack of education and it’s on anyone’s part. Maybe they, wherever they grew up, whoever they grew up around, like you just don’t know. So I think, yeah. Why is a positive question?
And it’s a room for a dialogue to be had. And I think that’s what is important, in order to keep opening up all these things. And there’s just so much going on right now. So I think there is room to take pause and just be like, okay , let’s, re-examine this and ask why certain things, but I think in general, maybe specifically for the entertainment industry is so many of us have been really scared to bring up a question and we just accept, and I think that’s just maybe the Asian way, right?
Of like we put our head down, we don’t ask questions, we just do the job. we’ve been in in bedded in our DNA. But I think the generation now is starting to really things and bring up things that our parents or our grandparents weren’t comfortable with bringing up. Because again, like that whole for us, we’re [00:29:00] all part Japanese, Japanese, like that concept of gum on right is just you to endure and just, you just keep pushing.
And I think concept in itself is something that we’re now not accepting fully. Yes, it is still part of us, but now we’re just like, okay , let’s really re-examine this. I think it is beautiful to ask, like why, at least for myself, I’m there of doing that. And I hope other people too again, but it stems from like fear of losing the job.
If we ask questions and want to get the job. And I just, I’m supposed to just be grateful, which of course we are, but there’s so much more to that then, that we can contribute to whatever that we’re working on with other people collaborating with. So yeah.
Masami Moriya: No more. I’m not doing that. If I don’t feel something’s right. I’m not going to just sit by and they can’t be helped. It just know I’m going to say something and question and say Hey, can we do something better? But it’s always that fear. I think I have been getting a lot of text messages this past week is like that people are afraid of speaking up because they’re worried about either.
I had friends talk about the hate crimes and [00:30:00] there, where they had friends, white people just come out and then not giving them the right space. I felt really attacked for that. But then also just from people talking about pushing back the industry, because they’re worried about getting the next job, they’re worried about their agents saying no, don’t put that cause you’re gonna be difficult to work with.
I’m like, but are we not questioning what should be changed? And are we really challenging the thing or are we just going to be complicit? And , I hear that from a lot of people. So I think it’s something that we can all start to learn and practice a little more and figuring out like, how do we still push back and not be afraid that what we’re saying is our truth.
And isn’t being silenced by more white people, just because it’s, you’re difficult to work with and my difficult, or are we questioning the way you practice, the way you see us?
Miki Ishikawa: Yeah. And frankly speaking, like women are re we already go through that to just begin with, as women, we bring up something, we are labeled as, a troublemaker, she’s outspoken. She’s the be like, she’s a bitch. [00:31:00] Like why does it mean to jump to that when we are just literally questioning upstate, standing up for ourselves.
And so then you add on that layer of, being a person of color. So it’s like minority, a minority. It’s like minority, it’s there so much. And so I think just to jump to that already is that’s so hard and that’s what we’re battling against,
Emi Lea Kamemoto: curious in past few years, we’ve seen power building in American entertainment And sure there have been waves of this And there’s been a lot of work that so many actors, folks behind camera folks in executive seats have really done to lay the foundation for momentum that we have now, but in. Have you seen a difference in terms of power or people your community, or even in your position, feeling like you have the agency to advocate for yourself more. then what do you think attributed to that?
Miki Ishikawa: Yeah, I see, again, like growing up in the industry, I see a huge difference [00:32:00] already. Like when I was younger again, like I felt very alone. I was not connected to the Asian American community at all. I would almost feel like shut out of Oh, it wasn’t invited to this kind of thing.
And Oh, like they don’t support me or just other things, I could even speak like owl my support or what the support I felt, especially for terror. So it’s just an already, within the last couple of years now, it’s whether it’s gatherings or supportive certain films the times is what has really changed things.
And I think as an Asian, like collective American community, it did use to feel pretty divided like Americans over here, Korean Americans over here, Japanese Americans over here, Southeast Asians, like everyone was pretty divided, like holding their own , which you can’t blame also because at the end of the day, like many of our experiences are for war torn countries.
And obviously just so much of those deep rooted, as well. And but I think in the last couple years, with I’ll even say like crazy rich Asians, like that brought together a lot of Asian-Americans to just support a film that [00:33:00] just happened to have a huge gasp of Asian-Americans or Asians right in.
And so that was something, and it’s as we’ve grown on, like the farewell and there’s just been like other films that have finally started pushing everyone together, being like, no, either way. At the end of the day, representation is representation of the Asian community. So we just need to support it.
It doesn’t matter if we like it doesn’t matter if we care about it, it’s just, we need support no matter what. I think a collective community, we’re finally starting to get there we just need to support one another because we don’t have the support as much as we need from other people. So who can support it has to be our own community.
We cannot pay each other against each other. And I think it’s really beautiful. Like even in the last couple of years, like I’ve never had this many Asian friends in my life as far as like in the industry. And
and friends that I’ve made, I’m like, Whoa, this is so crazy, but it’s just like an instant.
Like I see you, you see me, we’re friends and I support you from far away. I can tell you how many people, like I just followed her, admired her from afar, and now I’m friends with them. And just , we’re aware of each other and that was it. [00:34:00] But, so I think all of our guards are starting to really come down because understanding that a community, we need to come together.
Because all we have is each other. And obviously we have the support of our allies, but really who’s going to break all these doors open it’s us, we’re only stronger together. I think that concept is finally really starting to be instilled in all of us. And I think it’s honestly really beautiful.
again , I do think that there’s still so much more work to be had, but the fact that we’re here already. Now in 2021 is just Whoa. And and again, I wish I had this when I was younger, but I think we needed to all go through what we went through to get here. And, I think it only will just keep progressing in the direction that we’re going into now.
So I do see a huge shift , and it’s really only in the last couple of years, but again, I think just timing is everything. And I think everyone is just finally at that point where like, right, change starts with us. We need to be the ones bringing these conversations out. We can’t wait for people in the writers rooms or the [00:35:00] executives and studios to, make these things happen for us.
So that’s why even, like something like Minari indie film , and, was and obviously by, or an Asian American production, like all these things, it’s yeah, because those are the kinds of stories that we know. And we have to be able to tell because only we understand the nuances of that film.
other group can understand that, but us. And it’s just, we have to keep telling us, and that was one of my favorite things about working with George decay. It was just like, you have to make your own stories. We don’t have enough of our stories being told. You have to make your own stories.
And there’s so many different things that come with that, but there is truth to that, that it has to start with our own community. We cannot wait on other people to create stories for us. we all have to work together figure that out. What stories do we need more than just immigrant stories at this point.
Now it’s about the Asian American narrative and those experiences, I, am excited to see where things are going. And I [00:36:00] think there is a lot that is happening right now and I we’re just laying the foundation for what will be, the future.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: narrative, I David. I, I’ll bump it over to you. Cause I, this I’m taking it, I want you to take it. where I’m taking it.
Masami Moriya: No, I , I think it’s great that you’re seeing that. I think , think we’re seeing it as a community, seeing from the audience side a little bit, but, think, I’ll say I’m a little worried that it’s just going to, it’s just a blip. It’s going to be great today and maybe not tomorrow. For whatever reason, I don’t really see that happening and feel like it’s only going to go upwards.
And so I don’t want to stay positive on that. And I just think it will. But I’m where I want the right. Like we need to tell our own stories and I don’t think it’s, I think it’s important that we also tell the stories of our community in our separate ethnicities too. I don’t think it’s helpful that , somebody who’s not one tells another , in certain aspects, I think it seems you’re just going to fall off.
It’s not always from the same place and not that it won’t be. Bad that someone who has the [00:37:00] further background within the, within their ethnicity and their, your , themselves, they’re going to bring something more. And it will just resonate more with an audience who speaks to that. It’s a minority being a lot of Korean Americans on the production and the writing and everything from it, it felt really strong with the Korean community.
It was a good movie, but it didn’t feel at the same. I don’t feel I’d feel like I don’t, I didn’t resonate as much as someone who was Korean. That’s not my story. And so I, as much as I could take it on for Asian American story and an immigrant story, like that’s really great, but I think it felt so much more , valued and just like heartfelt with the Korean-American community.
No, I think that’s what was really important. As we’re telling our stories that’s the nuance that we need as well. Hollywood needs to get on board with that is as we’re growing that, because they’re going to there, I say Hollywood is just mostly white people to understand that’s the difference that, that there is something that we need to have that conversation with the nuance conversation.
It might not be great and might not have , Resonate [00:38:00] with them because it’s, they don’t understand it. It’s , it’s something that we have as an our own community is a very extremely diverse community , within itself, because they labeled us as all Asian-American instead of putting those differences in there.
So we’re having to bring that back out and separate, but also at the same time, be a collective Asian American it’s that it’s a really big mixture of what does that, what does all this mean? We’re still finding the words for ourselves, but then having to explain to someone who’s not Asian-America who can’t like, feel it’s like a feeling it’s not a union.
It’s not even a fact. It’s a feeling that we have as a community , that needs to be expressed more, but then in turning it into projects and turning to stories, what do all those mean? I don’t know where you want to take it. Otherwise I’m going to go to the terror.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: Yeah, I think this will lead into that, but, content, like to lean on FUBU for us by us a lot. And this conversation almost taken it to a different level for because [00:39:00] Menari is a story Korean Americans and for Korean folks in America, Korean folks in America. that is the beauty of it, right?
think that in Hollywood, we can make content that doesn’t have to be for everybody a liberating idea because to be truly seen, both saying there is, there are nuances that. White America, other Asian Americans, Latin Americans and black Americans, like understand, but that’s okay it speaks to this group of people and where as an Asian community, still going to uplift that, even if it doesn’t speak directly to us, how beautiful that again?
It’s of our differences, which is where, America is on this America’s campaign has always been the melting pot, we will erase your differences. We will all bleed red. So we’re all American, which I appreciate. I [00:40:00] appreciate where that comes from. But in that process, we erase specificity.
We erase these different, beautiful things about us, that we’re seeing almost a Renaissance of content that is truly keyed in to specific stories like Rose. That hit for so many people who have experienced deportation and ice raids, but it also hit really specific with the Pinot and Pinoy Fenay , community.
And that was so cool. Like none of us wanted that to be taken away. None of us wanted that identity or story to be erased. And even if it meant that Hollywood was like, Oh, many people will watch it. Not many people will buy the movie or see it because it’s just for this community We’re breaking that mold by supporting one another.
Miki Ishikawa: And I think just to add to that, like whether or not you identify with those nuances specific to that story, it’s still a [00:41:00] story we haven’t seen yet. And I think we’re all just realizing yes, 100% there needs to be a fine balance between all of these specific, just Asian American stories or specific, whatever descent, stories But realizing there is room for all of it. And that there is, we have to create that space. And, I think for so long in the industry-wise we were all just trying to get a seat at the table, but
Oh no, we’re making our own fucking table. I, yeah. And I think that’s important though.
And realizing like we all collectively , yeah, if I’m not even I’m not Korean, I identified with that movie. So my Minari specific. And I loved that movie and I will support it to like I was hardcore support, but of any other film as well, too, like yellow Rose, same thing, like is just.
And even langua franca, like again, like something so specific that I thought was beautiful, but
story. And I’m like, I want to see more of these things. So I think the fact is, you have all these [00:42:00] amazing Asian descent, writers and directors finally taking initiative of, creating their own stories.
And that’s, what’s inspired actually for me to start writing. And so I have many projects I’m working on as well, too. But again, like we love it. We just, I think everyone just needs to be able to hold space and know that yeah, your story is important because it’s probably something we’ve never seen.
Cause it’s specific to you.
Masami Moriya: , being able to learn from other community members and other places , it just feels like that’s going to be authentic to the voice. That’s going to be something that I’m going to learn. Something that they’re vocalizing and putting onto the screen from their heart, rather than someone coming in from , a white writer, white directors saying, Hey, this is what it looks like.
Is that what it looks like? And I’ll have to question and I have to question those things, but when we’re, when we tell our stories, we’re getting as close to the two ACE to ACE, any representation , that they feel is right.
And I think that’s, what’s great.
Miki Ishikawa: And honestly , just to click that, if a white person wants to tell a [00:43:00] story, fine, fine. As long as you have someone that can help you of whatever community it is that you’re trying to explore and show, please have someone that can help you guide you through that. And please ask questions, not just take the authority.
Like I know everything because clearly you don’t, I’m okay with another person telling that story if they want to, and they’re, have a name or whatever, and this is something that holds whatever truth to them. Cool. But just again, please make sure you have someone or team of people helping with that research helping make sure, like in checking you basically to make sure you are getting it right.
Masami Moriya: Yeah, I’m working with a writer now. Who’s not Asian. But she lets me ask the questions. She lets me intakes in from full value. And I appreciate that. She’s one of the, I was honestly the, one of the first people who texted me after Atlanta and I was like, wow. Okay. She was so she really gets it and I think that’s the value you need to, it’s not even just Oh, you’re a consultant so I can take it or leave it.
the, the expert in that culture. So you got to really add to it. If you wanna make this or you’re gonna, something’s gonna [00:44:00] fall.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: I’m it
I, there’s just making one of the things that you said was a perfect sound bite. And I I think that the , like holding space for each other and holding that those stories are authentic. They’re coming from a place value, that as our community and really being able to see a stories that were never told before.
I, I that what Hollywood’s point was. I thought the dynamic appeal of Hollywood was to tell stories you’ve never seen before. And then 17 spider men later, like, What I always use Spiderman, just because personally, still forget like, is Ben? Spider-Man after so many iterations or Batman
Masami Moriya: okay.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: it’s not a dig.
I’ve know, people love that content, but I to see completely new stories. Yeah. Or silk, marvel has been looming the story of silk, the [00:45:00] Korean American spider woman, like cool story. We haven’t seen before. want to see the nuances there.
Masami Moriya: yeah. As long as they don’t put your hands in.
Miki Ishikawa: no shade.
Masami Moriya: I’m putting that there because that’s just the truth. That’s just the truth. And there’s just in general. But I didn’t want to ask that, you audience who doesn’t know, you’re on the terror season two, which is based in a Japanese and American carceration camp. Being in an Mo mostly Japanese American tasks or Japanese casts, like what was that feeling like? To be feel like you’re just surrounded by a lot of Asian people who understood
Miki Ishikawa: is probably like my third project that I’ve been, that’s a majority Asian. And , but obviously this one meant so much more and it just was a different meaning , because of the story. And so I remember when I was even reading for it. I went in and the, my showrunner, Alex Wu, and , some of the, producers were there.
And I just said, I don’t care if I get this, just thank you for making this story. And that’s it. I was like, I’m just [00:46:00] happy that you guys are making this story. Is this something that needs to be told that hasn’t been seen in this light? Thank you. And that’s all I said. And I literally was like, I don’t care if I get this job, I’m just happy to make a miss.
And then obviously cut to like me being a part of it, the show. It was just, I’ve never had that experience of just there’s more than one. In that sense right now as an adult to like really appreciate it. There’s more than one Asian person on set, but then, Oh, there’s another person that is Japanese or, and it’s interesting our cast in itself, like they did a worldwide search.
So I will say like our show plus our show runner specific, and the producers were all very adamant about all the cast meeting to be of Japanese descent. And that was very in our showrunner who he’s Chinese American him, that was something that was really important. And, I do really appreciate that.
Especially because of such historical aspect of the actual story. our cast, we had one. homies from Australia. He’s but he’s from Japan, but he’s lived in Australia. So he identifies as [00:47:00] Australia right now. And , now have Maury who is , also from Japan, but, she lived in the States and then she has been living in London for the last , like over 20 years.
So it’s everyone has such a different, like worldview at this point. And we all just click came into this pot and then like me I’m second generation, Japanese American. And then like Derek Neo, who, is fourth generation. He had his grandparents, that in his family that were , in incarcerated and then you have Georgia K obviously.
And then , and then we, Keith excuse on who is from Japan and has been living in the States for a little bit. And then of course, Christina Rabo as well, who’s, from Mexico and not American. So it’s like a very, it was an interesting group to begin with, but we all just immediately became family that in itself was so beautiful just again, cause we knew.
What the story was, even though the background of all the horror stuff is fun and cool and scary and stuff like that. But we knew what the actual , story was and the purpose. And for me personally, because I didn’t have I’m second gen, like I didn’t have any family members that were [00:48:00] incarcerated.
only have heard stories. I’ve only heard from my friends, families. I’ve only read about it. Like I just felt like this immediate , Oh shit, I really need to do research and make sure, especially because my character is not is fictional. So I needed to make sure I needed to tell whatever story I needed to tell.
So I picked up all these books , many different, especially perspectives of different women , Japanese American women specifically. And , just, I wanted to read different angles of the entire experience. And I also, like the , order nine zero six, six podcasts. I think that Densho puts on that’s a great podcast and then hearing the actual voices of people that went through the experience.
So I just really dove in, did my research as much as I could. And then through that, with my character specifically, Amy Shita, I really saw her of who she would become, which was to me was Yuri Kochiyama. And , and I really wanted to kind of mold my , character after her , as [00:49:00] what was URI like before she was the Yuri Kochiyama?
And so for me, that was my , my own personal thing with her, but, yeah. I sent, I felt this sense of deep sense of obligation to make sure the story in the way I could. But again lot of what will happen is fictional for the, just the storytelling purposes. And again, you have this added layer of core.
But yeah as people Japanese ascent on our set, like we were all very vocal about set decoration things, costume , dialogue. And we thankfully had an amazing crew of writers and our show runner who were all very open to everything that we had to say. And that I think really helped.
Cause we felt a sense of responsibility right. At the end of the day. And we didn’t really know if any people from Japan would watch it, but even the specifics of the certain type of Japanese they spoke, which was a Wolf, I am have been like , diet dialect. And so even that was chosen from the actors that they wanted to do this because for them , that’s [00:50:00] important of like, where did this family come from?
Now living in terminal Island and like. these different things of the specifics to them were very important, even though an American audience wouldn’t care, but for them, they want to make sure that they got those specifics, for themselves, at least as like more character background.
But yeah, just being on set was, it was, we had, as, as crazy as it looks, we had so much fun and that is a memory I will cherish with me forever. Just again, like that experience in itself is so unique and I really hope for every other Asian design actor that they get a chance to work with an all Asian cast cause at one point in their career, because that is a whole other experience from just doing anything else to, in any fight.
It just that comradery is just so different and just like small nuances of different things that happen on set and offset to it’s just like the amount of times that we cooked together, ate together. And like it’s all of like certain specific foods, like not been like all this it’s just so fun, it’s so interesting, and then we were obviously living in Vancouver at the time, too. So like that in itself is a different experience, but[00:51:00] , that was, I have nothing but amazing things to say.
Masami Moriya: That’s really cool. Just a quick question, cause , did you ever meet a Saab Shimano onset using the last episode? He was only there for a minute. So
Miki Ishikawa: Do you know what part
Masami Moriya: yeah, he was the last episode he is doing. I didn’t even finish the last episode. It was just like, I think he’s in the death , afterlife. He was also the, you mentioned the nine zero six six podcasts. He was one of the co-hosts right. that’s who
Miki Ishikawa: see? I’ll say maybe the
Masami Moriya: Oh, okay.
Miki Ishikawa: Yeah, but I didn’t
meet him. Yeah.
Masami Moriya: Got it. I’m just wanting to know is curious.
No, that’s really cool. And I think it’s, I think you’ve brought up some important parts that you’ve said that, you, the showrunner listened to you listen to the cast, listen to some notes and stuff like that. Especially being, not Chinese, not Japanese American , narratives there’s things that they have to take from.
so with that too, like the show actually got a lot of pushback from the Japanese American community wasn’t vocal and like Japanese Americans is not usually like Chicago and I just let it go. But there, there was an including from myself, but what do you want to see? Mainly it was like some of the historical inaccuracy is beyond just the , the [00:52:00] ghost story, part of it, just some of the inaccuracies of it , the patrol of the community and misrepresentation of history.
Masami Moriya: I won’t go into it if we don’t have to, but what do you. What would you like to see , go moving forward with historical stories of Asian-Americans? Because I think there’s more, so much more, I’m not even like guessing, like I know there’s so much to be told. So what would you like to see added to that factor?
What do you think that would help , then become more, more nuanced for that conversation?
Miki Ishikawa: no, this is a great question. I think there’s a lot of different points. I think, and I didn’t know about the back push until like way later when it was released and stuff like that. Because at the end of the day, for me, I just felt like this was something that has not been made on cable TV yet.
Like the, just the portrayal Japanese-Americans and the, the incarceration and just that. And it’s up. I had so many people who reached out to me, I just saw like commons, Twitter, whatever, just being like, this is a real thing that happened. And it’s Whoa. And you, you do realize that depending on what [00:53:00] part of the country you’re from the education system in America is all different, which is fucked up, that is true.
that is what it is at the end of the day. And I that, like my mouth like goes to like drops when I remind myself of that. But it’s it’s true. There are Americans right now who as an adult have never heard of that. And it’s only specific to the West coast. So even our education system was different.
And then of course, people in the South and then the Midwest and the East coast, it’s also different. So I think at the end of the day, for us specifically, speaking of the Japanese American community, I think I wished that there was a little bit more , openness the that this story was being told and it hadn’t been told yet.
And maybe again, like. All the details of everything were not as accurate. And again, like bright, so many different camps, so many different experiences within that too. And I feel like just to be open up and it just being like , at least the stories being told whatever way it needs [00:54:00] to be told.
And this is a conversation starter is what I think the broader perspective needs to be. So some leniency is what I wish there was. And in that , yeah, I didn’t feel as much support, honestly, from the Japanese community of Japanese American community, which I was like, sucks because this is something I haven’t been seen.
This is something that so many other people haven’t seen that show did create a lot of conversation starters for people who’s been started doing research about of adoptive Americans and what happened. And I think that in itself is what is greater. And we need to look at the bigger picture, things of that.
And I think at the end of the day, like for any project. Someone is always going to say something about anything. Someone’s, that’s that’s just the inevitable. So no matter what and George was a George decay was a consultant for the show and he was incarcerated. So at the end of the day, like the research team and the writers, they all did as much as they could.
Of course, they’re not going to get everything perfect. And so of course, like people like us, we stepped in as cast to correct certain things [00:55:00] or just like small things on set or whatever. But there’s only so much we can do. So I think to just be so critical of things sometimes as we get in our own way, especially in our own community, like we are sometimes our worst enemies of being like so critical of one another when it’s we just need to be compassionate and hold space and hold an open heart that there is room for growth, even within our own community.
And that we are all still learning, going together and by tearing each other down. You’re now like, lodging to what the white community wants is like they’re fighting within their own community, look at them like, and we really should be needed within our own. So I think, there’s a lot on every side to this.
And I think at the end of the day, it’s let’s see really what the bigger picture is of this story being told. And of course, like moving forward, I can only hope that there just needs to be continuous research for historical projects and bringing on a consultant , more than one consultant maybe who comes from different backgrounds or and what does [00:56:00] that look like?
And the dialect coach and like all these other things that might be necessary for telling this historical story and itself. And then, of course we’re like if the actors need to portray a certain character, then the, for them to hopefully have done their own research that if they need to also be provided from studio or whatever, Of, extra education like then that needs to be it’s not just Oh, you’re on your own.
But maybe be provided for them as well, too. So I think they’re just, we can all just do so much more collectively, I think, to move the conversation and the narrative forward, especially in telling historical stories , because we’re all still just learning and everyone has a different experience.
So I think it’s easy to be critical about anything, but at the end of the day, it’s like, we have to question ourselves of, okay, then if we’re being critical, what are we doing to change this narrative rather than just pointing fingers all the time if they didn’t get it right. Because of course blatant ignorance is blatantly ignorance, but if you see people trying, then at least have a dialogue with them of okay, we appreciate that your [00:57:00] interpretation was this, but this is what we feel rather than just maybe even not saying anything.
Cause then how is that going to change? It’s going to become this cycle, I really, again, do believe like we can sometimes be our own worst critics and , need to learn from that as well, too. So as a lot, I said, and hopefully I said so,
Masami Moriya: no, that’s cool. I think it’s important that what you said we have, we do have that dialogue. I’m I go very deep into this topic of what that show meant to me and how, just, what it did for the community, but also just I don’t want to really go too far into it. Cause I think it’s not now I could talk about for a long time, because I have done the research before the show was done , I’ve read so many books.
I’m actually curious which books you read , to see which ones I have read and which ones I haven’t, because I just, I binge read through all of them. But I just felt like it’s not even. I just felt like some of the things that were really not even portrayed wrong , they were, but some things were just I think it’s the bigger picture of it for me, was that because so many people [00:58:00] don’t know about it to tell them this in a way that misrepresented a lot of the community in certain ways,
not everything, obviously the setting was a lot, right?
The accuracies of the, kind of the story where it was coming told was fine. But the, some of the things that, the fictionalizing historical thing that some people that logged will just don’t know about at all mixes in, which is reality, which is fiction.
And that becomes the problem of the society so to see a show that’s really twist the history in certain ways beyond just the ghost part of it. It kind kinda misrepresents in certain ways.
And that’s, that was the main push. I got my pushback for the, for sure. I appreciate all the actors. I don’t fall any of them in any way. And people who worked on it, it’s just the larger picture of where it comes from and what historical things can do.
So I think because people don’t know , that’s what a twisted into it.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: Actually be heartbreaking in itself too, just as a writer. is why I think we all don’t get too we create in the industry, knowing that it goes through these processes of, sometimes he res [00:59:00] taking out a stories, but if you’re so attached to character, but they have a very likely getting they’re very likely to get cut.
This is bringing question that I have in general about content and history or content and social movements is what is the obligation of the content to drive change, to drive the education and what is the, actual of the fucking government us
I lived in Seattle during a lot of formative years of my life. And never learned about incarceration in school at a private school. And it wasn’t until my auntie took me to a cafe where they have a hole in the ground with a window and you can see the suitcases of the Japanese American folks who’ve left their
And immediately I was like, wait, why are these here? What’s what is this? And that introduction to be made. And this is her part of her history and [01:00:00] not a part of mine because my family shouldn’t and came to Japan much later incarceration. But that question of education, what’s the vibe.
What’s the role of shows. What’s the role of the entertainment industry to push the narrative, to push social change. the responsibility that shows have to take. To ensure that what is being put out there drives the conversation or isn’t harmful. And that is I think, with the show, with the terror and with the conversation around it began to open a door to this happening for the next show.
And just as you said, Mickey, like you being able to say from my own experience, working on is, these are the key things that are valuable. the history, having the research done by the writers and the show runner, but also the actors having a responsibility an ability to influence that as well.
That blew my mind. Because again, a lot of the times you don’t see actors being able to [01:01:00] influence a show in that way, but with that collective power, with the voice that y’all had, were able to, and I’m hoping I am a really positive and optimistic person when it comes to the future of this industry and the future of this country, too.
But I, I think that, that by opening this conversation and allowing for this show to be a representation of a future show warriors doing historical stuff, like other shows that are going to be tying into historical Asian stories, like this is the conversation that needs to be have have on set or in the writing rooms.
Like what’s our responsibility as the writers, what’s the responsibility of our community. How are we going to blend that? And then what can we do to move forward? Because you’re right. There’s not a lot of people who see the behind the scenes that forces to change forces stories to go another way.
But then how are we also arming those people in the stories to have that power to be like, okay, we’re [01:02:00] pushing this.
Miki Ishikawa: right, right.
Masami Moriya: What message do you want to send to agents?
Miki Ishikawa: That you have a place that there is space for you, that your story can be told that, you are seen and you are being heard and just to come, continue to push your envelope, not just for the greater of the community, but for yourself too. And that there is room for everyone then that yeah, we deserve to be here.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: Mickey, appreciate your perspective, the , perspective that you bring about embracing. Lots of holding many different truths , be true at the same time. not that one truth is better than the other. one story is more important than the other. I think that’s when white supremacy begins to internalize in our own community is when we think that , door we have to have like line, a queue, know Japanese people love to queue and line up for things, but we don’t have to line up there’s many doors that we can open [01:03:00] tables that we can create to build , stories.
And what I really take away from your message is how can I, as an individual, keep bringing people to that table, even if they’re not Asian-Americans ideally not just Asian-Americans, but a lot of people people to watch. Minari get people to watch yellow Rose, lingua franca. Oh, no Matt land. I Just a support.
are you watching?
Miki Ishikawa: Watching last chance, U right now, the basketball one , about East LA college. I love last chance U on Netflix. It’s one of my favorite series, but basketball one is just the, I love basketball. So yeah, watching that right now. And I’ve been on the of , just like classic Japanese films right now.
So a lot of like kudos alwa you know, a lot of , like this, that whole lane of things. Like I. Either haven’t seen or just like reliving them. Yeah. So on that tip for now, too, I
you’d say eight classic Asian cinema. So all like long car wine, everything too. So yeah, all
Emi Lea Kamemoto: I need to dive into one car. Why? Again? It’s so beautiful.
Yeah.[01:04:00] In our last question is who do you want to uplift or , who should the audience know about?
Miki Ishikawa: I want to uplift first and foremost, all the AAPI community , as a whole right now, and really hold space for them as going through everything. And also just all the marginalized communities, black, Brown, indigenous , because I think, we’re all going through a lot of different things and it’s important to remember that each community is really struggling right now.
And that each note, one community is struggling more than the other. It’s just, we are collectively facing. A lot of things and that we are stronger together that we need to remember that, like the Latin X community is going through a lot of things and support them. And remember that we can’t just roll over them, like indigenous community as well.
We can’t roll over them. really just needs to be supported right now and feel seen. So how can we continue to do that together? Because it’s easy. I think to get up , whirl, whirlwind did right. And one cause, and then now we’re focused on this community, [01:05:00] but how do we focus on the community, but also really support all the other communities at the same time.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: Last question what do you like to do to help a community feel seen?
Miki Ishikawa: I think it’s so hard, right? Cause obviously on a specific level, like if you have certain friends and having those kind of dialogues, but as like a, a whole, I don’t know, I just like asking what you can do or not even asking, just like really trying to do your own research of what you could possibly do because everyone is tired of asking or answering questions of what you can do.
So think it’s just trying to really just figure it out for yourself of if that’s where your heart is at the moment, then how can you go support that and whatever.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: Thank you for sharing your time with
us as a full actor as a full-time like builder and also advocate for people.
Miki Ishikawa: Trust me.
I’m not doing shit guys.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: good. slinging Goza
going to count that as work
Emi Lea Kamemoto: and building,
Miki Ishikawa: Yeah. So
all get dinner or something, eventually soon and we’ll do that real.
Masami Moriya: Bye.
Emi Lea Kamemoto: [01:06:00] Bye bye.