masi oka's humble beginnings

Sexy Jeff Yang's latest sexy "Asian Pop" column should be of particular sexy interest to all you sexy readers out there: Do you think we're sexy?.

It's all about sexy Asian men, in honor of People's annual "Sexiest Men Alive" issue (which includes profiles of guys like Survivor's Yul Kwon, Harold and Kumar' John Cho, Lost's Daniel Dae Kim, Hong Kong pop idol Edison Chen and Heroes' Masi Oka). Sexy.

Masi? Sexy? Sure. But everyone has their humble beginnings... Here's TIME's infamous "Asian American Whiz Kids" cover from 1987, with none other than young Masi Oka (on the left, in the blue shirt):

You've come a long way, baby. My question is, who are the other kids, and where are they now, almost twenty years later? Anybody know? (Thanks, Dave)

UPDATE: Here's a link to the original cover story, dated August 31, 1987: The New Whiz Kids. This passage immediately leaps out, if only because it dates the article so wonderfully:
No matter what their route, young Asian Americans, largely those with Chinese, Korean and Indochinese backgrounds, are setting the educational pace for the rest of America and cutting a dazzling figure at the country's finest schools. Consider some of this fall's freshman classes: at Brown it will be 9% Asian American, at Harvard nearly 14%, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 20%, the California Institute of Technology 21% and the University of California, Berkeley an astonishing 25%.
My, how far we've come. Actually, what's truly astonishing is reading the article and realizing how little things have actually changed. The numbers may be different, but the issues, stereotypes and struggles still remain. Hell, twenty years later, they're still writing stories on this same topic, only they're not calling us "Whiz Kids," anymore—we're just a plain old academic threat. Blast from the past, bay. Again, I'm curious to know where/how all these cover kids ended up. Whiz Kids, please step forward!


yes, his name is fujita

Here's an interesting ESPN Page 2 story on New Orleans Saints linebacker Scott Fujita, a white guy who was pretty much raised Japanese American (adopted by a Japanese American father and a white mother): A linebacker with a conscience.

There's quite a bit about Fujita's family history, and how he has embraced his family's struggle—his grandparents were among the Japanese Americans interned during World War II. His grandfather served in the 442nd. His father was born in an internment camp. Probably not your typical linebacker's story...

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