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3.19.2010

angry reader of the week: ken narasaki



Okay, everyone. Time for another Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is actor/writer Ken Narasaki, whose theater adaptation of No-No Boy opens next week.

Who are you?
I'm an actor and a writer, and depending on what city I'm in, I could be Karen Narasaki's brother, Diane Narasaki's brother, Carol Narasaki's brother, Richard and Dorothy's son, or Rosie's dad or Sharon Omi's husband.

What are you?
I'm a Yonsei, if you count generations on my Dad's side, which I like to do because that makes my daughter a Gosei and that blows my mind.

Where are you?
Venice, California - the closest So Cal place we could find to San Francisco and Seattle, weather and feel-wise.

Where are you from?
Originally from Seattle, but I lived in San Francisco for fifteen years and LA for another fifteen.

What do you do?
I'm an actor and a writer...I had the good luck of starring in a German cop show as a Japanese homicide detective for a couple of years in Cologne and that kept me away from a day job for a few years, but now, I'm also a working stiff at one of the big talent agencies here.

What are you all about?
I'm all about Asian American theater. I feel a little bit like a dinosaur, but theater still floats my boat and I never got over this great production of GOLD WATCH that we did in Seattle in 1977 and I never got over the feeling that I got when I met all the crazy talent at the Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco. I thought back then that we would change the world, and though we might've fallen a little short on that score, I still loved those years, and I still believe everything we do makes a difference.

What makes you angry?
It makes me angry that we're still having to fight the same battles we were fighting 35 years ago. When I was growing up in the 1970s, I really believed that by the time I had kids, they wouldn't have to worry about being called names or being blamed for whatever problems racists like to blame on minorities. I was bummed when my own daughter had to listen to classmates saying they couldn't get into the schools they wanted because Asians got preference which, as I'm sure all your readers know, is NOT TRUE. Still, things are undeniably better now - some of my daughter's non-Asian friends called themselves "honorary Asians" because they wished they were Asian, and words like "Asian pride" are part of her vernacular - and I really think things like Angry Asian Man are making a difference. Your site always reminds of a line in one of Lane Nishikawa's poems: "Asian Americans - you CAN be bad!" And angry.