Lillian Nakano, civil rights activist and co-founder of Japanese American Redress and Reparations Movement dies

Rafu Shimpo: 

Lillian Reiko Nakano, a longtime civil rights activist and noted musician, died on Feb. 28 at Torrance Memorial Hospital. She was 86.

Born on April 30, 1928 in Honolulu to Saburo and Shizuno (nee Nakamura) Sugita, who were also born in Hawaii, she grew up in Honolulu and had three sisters, Julia, Grace and Elizabeth, and a brother, Robert.

After the Pearl Harbor attack, her father was immediately arrested by the FBI and detained at the federal detention center on Sand Island in Hawaii for a year. Nakano and the rest of her family were then sent to the internment camp in Jerome, Ark. in 1943 and were moved to the camp at Heart Mountain, Wyo. in 1944. They were released in 1945 and returned to Honolulu..

She married Bert Nakano, a fellow Hawaii native who was interned at Jerome and Tule Lake during the war, in 1949. Soon after, the couple and members of their families moved to Minneapolis/St. Paul in Minnesota and then Chicago. In 1957, they had a son, Erich, their only child. They moved to Japan briefly in 1964 and then settled in Gardena. Bert died in 2003 at the age of 75. Lillian lived with her son from the mid-2000s until her passing. Lillian Nakano co-founded NCRR with her husband Bert in the early 80s.

I worked with Lillian closely for many years, first in the Little Tokyo People’s Rights Organization on the issue of Little Tokyo redevelopment, then the redress movement through National Coalition for Redress and Reparations,” said Evelyn Yoshimura of the Little Tokyo Service Center. “She and her husband Bert were among the most active, most curious and open-minded Nisei I ever met. I watched her growing before my eyes as she began to assert herself and play a leadership role, weighing in on how to work with JACL, as well as always reminding us how important the grassroots community members were.”

Funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 14, at 5 p.m. at Gardena Buddhist Church, 1517 W. 166th St. (between Western and Normandie) in Gardena. A reception for guests will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress (formerly National Coalition for Redress and Reparations), as her involvement with NCRR, especially during the campaign for redress, was a cherished memory for her. Send donations to: NCRR, 231 E. Third St., G-104, Los Angeles, CA 90013.

Lillian Nakano reading NCRR's statement in support of the Muslim community at a candlelight vigil shortly after 9/11, when Muslims and those perceived as Muslims were targets of hate crimes, including murder.

Lillian Nakano reading NCRR’s statement in support of the Muslim community at a candlelight vigil shortly after 9/11, when Muslims and those perceived as Muslims were targets of hate crimes, including murder

Community Advocate

After working many different jobs in Chicago and then in Gardena and the South Bay, Nakano became active with LTPRO (Little Tokyo People’s Rights Organization) in the late 1970s, opposing the destruction of housing for redevelopment and advocating for greater community control.

In the early 1980s, she was a founding member along with her husband of NCRR, which consisted of the Los Angeles Community Coalition for Redress and Reparations and other community-based groups around the country. She was very active in the campaign to win redress for Japanese Americans who were deprived of their constitutional rights during World War II, urging Nisei her age to speak up about the camps and join the effort.

Her husband was the national spokesperson for NCRR for nine years and was active in other political campaigns, such as Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition. She was always active along with him, though more in the background. In 1988, legislation providing individual payments and an apology was finally signed into law, successfully ending this historic campaign.

“Lillian always had a smile,” recalled Mike Murase of Little Tokyo Service Center, who was also active in the redress movement. “She was always willing to talk to people, to persuade and motivate them to stand up for ​what was right, and to offer support to those who needed it. She was enthusiastic and conscientious. She liked people and wanted to change society to be better for common people.”

Lillian Nakano and June Hibino at an information table during a redress-related event in the 1980s.

Lillian Nakano and June Hibino at an information table during a redress-related event in the 1980s

Evelyn Yoshimura of LTSC commented, “I worked with Lillian closely for many years, first in the Little Tokyo People’s Rights Organization on the issue of Little Tokyo redevelopment, then the redress movement through National Coalition for Redress and Reparations. She and her husband Bert were among the most active, most curious and open-minded Nisei I ever met. I watched her growing before my eyes as she began to assert herself and play a leadership role, weighing in on how to work with JACL, as well as always reminding us how important the grassroots community members were.”

Longtime NCRR leader Kathy Masaoka remembered the 1981 hearings of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, during which many former incarcerates spoke publicly about their experiences for the first time: “Lillian was a role model to many of us Sansei women who saw her speak up and be fearless. When the commissioners were not going to allow the Japanese speakers to read their testimonies, Lillian prompted Bert and others to assert their right to speak.”

Nakano expressed solidarity with Arab and Muslim Americans at a candlelight vigil in Little Tokyo on Sept. 28, 2001, just after the 9/11 attacks. Initiated by NCRR and co-sponsored by other community organizations, the vigil was attended by about 300 people and featured speakers from the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, Muslim Public Affairs Council, and Council on American Islamic Relations.

“I feel so badly for the Middle Eastern peoples of all communities who are now the targets of this same kind of hatred and violence as a result of the tragic events,” Nakano said. “Sixty years ago, we heard very little from our government leaders and the general public to caution against this.”

Shamisen Master

Music was always another important part of her life. She began learning shamisen and other classical arts at age 8 in Hawaii. After her studies were interrupted by the camps, she resumed her studies and in 1955 received her master’s certificate (natori) and her professional name, Kineya Fukuju, from Master Kineya Shofuku. She taught shamisen and did some performances in Chicago, but didn’t do much teaching or performing when she moved to Gardena, where she focused her attention on raising her son and working.

After the redress victory, she began collaborating with her nephew, the late jazz pianist and composer Glenn Horiuchi (1955-2000). This allowed her to grow as an artist and provided an opportunity to continue the tradition of shamisen music in alternative formats.

In addition to being an activist, Lillian Nakano was a talented shamisen player.

In addition to being an activist, Lillian Nakano was a talented shamisen player

She was a guest soloist in the premieres of Horiuchi’s “Poston Sonata” and “Little Tokyo Suite.” This began a series of tours throughout the U.S., Mexico, Canada and beyond, including performances at the Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle, the Western Front Jazz Festival in Vancouver, and the Berlin Jazz Festival.

Other performances included music for Purple Moon Dance Project’s “Floating Lanterns” in San Francisco in 1994, with Katada Kai in 1998, with Horiuchi and William Roper at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and a Grand Performances Summer Concert in Downtown Los Angeles in 1998.

Nakano worked with the Children’s Theater Company of Minneapolis in 1998 with taiko master Kenny Endo; at the Skirball Cultural Center with composer/choreographer Nobuko Miyamoto; and as part of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange’s “Hallelujah” performance in 2001. She also had numerous concerts with Tom Kurai of the Los Angeles Taiko Center.

“I performed many times with Lillian, who was a master nagauta shamisen artist, from about 1995 to 2007,” said Kurai. “We performed traditional nagauta, ensemble music for kabuki as well as contemporary music. Much of the contemporary music was written by Lillian’s nephew, the late Glenn Horiuchi. Along with her shamisen students in the Sanmi Ensemble, we collaborated with jazz musicians Francis Wong and William Roper. We performed at Japan America Theatre, Japanese American National Museum, John Anson Ford Amphitheater, UC Riverside, UC Santa Cruz and many other venues.

“Although Lillian was a master of shamisen, receiving her certified natori from Japan, being Japanese American, she was not afraid of improvising in order to broaden the music into a more contemporary setting. I learned so much about traditional music from Lillian as well as how to improvise my taiko playing. Lillian was comfortable with both worlds and could easily move between the old and new forms of music.

“Through my association with Lillian, I gained not only a firm foundation in music, but just knowing her as a friend, I learned more about humanity and the importance of social action. Lillian’s loss is not only a loss for the music community but a big loss for the entire Japanese American community as well.”

Nakano was the recipient of numerous grants to support her preservation of the shamisen art form from such institutions as the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the California Arts Commission, and was honored with a Master Musician Fellowship by the Durfee Foundation in 2001.

Bay Area-based jazz pianist, composer and bandleader Jon Jang commented, “What is quite remarkable about Lillian Nakano is that she not only represents one of the major Asian American women revolutionary activists of the 20th century and beyond, along with Yuri Kochiyama and Grace Lee Boggs; Lillian also nurtured a younger generation of activists and infused them with the blood and the struggle of the music because Lillian was a master of the shamisen, a three-string Japanese lute, who was not allowed to perform the instrument at Jerome internment camp in a similar way black people were denied the use of drum during slavery.

“Some of these younger activists were her son Erich, who has been a longtime activist leader and played piano, as well as her late nephew Glenn Horiuchi, who was also an activist as well as a brilliant composer, pianist and shamisen performer.”

Nakano slowed her activity and retired from the late 1990s into the 2000s to help raise her two grandchildren. She later took great joy watching their basketball games and seeing them grow up.

“She was a dedicated and devoted mother and loving wife; she and Bert helped raise their grandchildren from the time they were born and supported them as they grew into young adults,” her family said in a statement. “She was an activist and fighter for civil rights and social justice. She was a friend, mentor and role model to many in the community.

“Although outwardly gentle, and one who did not seek the limelight, she had wellspring of strength and determination that enabled her to truly make a difference in the lives of family and friends around her, and the community.”

The Japanese-Peruvians interned in the US during WW2

Photograph of Blanca Katsura in 2014Blanca Katsura and her family were among 1,800 Japanese-Peruvians to be interned in the US 

BBC News (by Jaime Gonzalez of BBC Mundo):

Blanca Katsura will never forget the night of 6 January 1943. She was 12 at the time and living with her parents and two siblings in northern Peru. On that night, two officials came to their home and took away her father. Mr Katsura, who owned a small general store, was arrested because he was part of Peru’s prosperous Japanese community.

My father told them he hadn’t done anything wrong, but they didn’t listen to him,” she recalls.

Japanese people began migrating to Peru in considerable numbers at the end of the 19th Century, drawn by opportunities to work in the mines and on sugar plantations.

By the 1940s, an estimated 25,000 people of Japanese descent lived in Peru. Many had become lawyers and doctors, or owned small businesses.

An undated photo of a  relative of Art Shibayama in his shop in PeruMany Japanese-Peruvians did well in their new homelands and set up successful businesses 

Their prosperity, further fuelled by racism, soon triggered anti-Japanese sentiment in Peru, Stephanie Moore explains.

Ms Moore, a scholar at the Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project, says after the outbreak of World War Two, the Japanese community in Peru became a target, and their assets were confiscated.

In May 1940, as many as 600 houses, schools and businesses belonging to citizens of Japanese descent were burned down,” she says.

Following Japan’s 1941 attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the US government asked a dozen Latin American countries, among them Peru, to arrest its Japanese residents. Records from the time suggest the US authorities wanted to take them to the US and use them as bargaining chips for its nationals captured by Japanese forces in Asia.

Italian, German and Japanese residents of Latin America are seen leaving a temporary internment camp in the Panama Canal Zone Many Japanese-Latin Americans were taken to a camp in the Panama Canal Zone first

Mr Katsura was among the 2,200 Latin Americans of Japanese descent who were forcibly deported to internment camps in the US. Blanca Katsura, who is now 83 and lives in Northern California, remembers how she learned of his fate.

A month after my father was detained, he sent me a letter because it was my birthday,” she recalls. “He had been taken to Panama from where they were planning to send him to the US,” she adds.

Six months later, Blanca Katsura’s mother decided to take her three small children to the US to search for her husband.

When we arrived in New Orleans after a month-long trip, they confiscated our passports and then sent us by train to the Crystal City camp.”

As many as 4,000 people were interned during World War Two in this camp in Texas run by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service. Most of the detainees were of Japanese descent, although some German and Italian immigrants were also held there.

Undated aerial view of Crystal City Internment Camp, TexasCrystal City Internment Camp was located 180 km (110 miles) south of San Antonio in Texas

It was at Crystal City that Blanca Katsura was reunited with her father. “I was shocked, he had lost so much weight,” she remembers.

For the next four years, her family lived in the barracks at the camp. Her memories of that time are not particularly traumatic, she says.

Being a child at the time time, I had no worries and made lots of friends.We were able to go to school and learn Japanese,” she adds.

Japanese-Peruvians attend a class at the Federal High School in the Crystal City Internment Camp in Texas in 1944Children in Crystal City attended classes inside the camp
Ms Katsura says she later learned that the camp authorities were keen for the children to learn Japanese so they would be able to speak the language once they were deported to Japan.
Chieko Kamisato Chieko Kamisato now lives in Los Angeles
Chieko Kamisato’s memories of life at Crystal City are less positive.

You could call it a concentration camp, because we were surrounded by barbed wire fences and guards with guns,” she says.

We couldn’t go out at all, although we were free to move around inside,” she recalls.

My parents were really bitter about the situation because they were forced to come to the US. They had no choice,” she says.

Ms Kamisato’s father had moved to Peru from Japan in 1915 and had worked hard to open a bakery in the capital, Lima. Now 81, she lives in Los Angeles.

Of the 2,200 Latin Americans of Japanese descent to be interned in the US, 800 were sent to Japan as part of prisoner exchanges. After World War Two ended, another 1,000 were deported to Japan after their Latin American home countries refused to take them back.

A group of children poses for a photo in Crystal City Camp in this undated photoWhile there were also Germans interned in Crystal City, the majority were of Japanese descent

Ms Katsura’s and Ms Kamisato’s families successfully fought deportation and were eventually allowed to remain in the US. In 1988, then-President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act and apologized on behalf of the US government for the internment of Japanese-Americans. Under the act, the government paid tens of thousands of survivors of the camps $20,000 (£13,000) each in reparation.

But Japanese-Latin Americans did not qualify for the payments because they had not been US citizens or permanent residents of the US at the time of their internment. Outraged, they filed a class-action suit and 10 years later, the US government agreed to pay them $5,000 each. Most accepted, but a small group headed by camp survivor Art Shibayama decided to hold out, demanding to be paid the same as Japanese-Americans.

Blanca Katsura says that even though her childhood at the camp may not have been traumatic, no amount of money can compensate her family for its loss.

My parents wanted to go back to Peru but couldn’t. They missed the life they had there,” she recalls.

The Peruvian government sold us out to the US government and that is not a very nice feeling. How would you feel about it?

Top 20 Asian superheroines of DC Comics

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Amped Asia: 

Now you know we could not write an article about the Magnificent Asian Superheroines of Marvel without doing one about the Dynamic Asian Female Superheroes of DC. That’s not only bad form but poor nerd etiquette, and our tiger moms raised us way better than that. The Asian women of Detective Comics is a proud bunch and by no means play second fiddle to anyone, so without further adieu, here is our companion piece to help bring nerd order balance to the galaxy.

20) Traci 13 (Asian)

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Now we are not entirely sure if Traci 13 is Asian but her mother was named Meihu Lan, so just go with us here. What you need to know is that Traci 13 is of the homo magi line, or humans born with the power of sorcery, has a pet iguana named Leeroy, and the ability to cast “urban magic.” And no we don’t mean the David Blaine kind. Instead of failing at living in a water cube for a week, she can cast spells to teleport, create fire blasts, and even turn her pet iguana into a dragon. Hell if she can do that, maybe she should name the thing BRUCE Leeroy! HAHAH.. we will show ourselves out..

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19) Lady Shiva (Ambiguously Asian)

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Born in an unknown country, Lady Shiva for all intents and purposes is most likely Japanese, Manchurian, maybe Chinese, but some sort of Asian at the very least. She is the goddaughter of the martial arts expert O-Sensei, and not only became a master of the martial arts, but quite possibly the world’s deadliest assassin. As a fearsome mercenary for hire she has been equal parts enemy as well as ally to the one and only Batman.  As a member of the League of Shadows she has battled Batman to near defeat as well as trained Batman and Tim Drake in the arts of stealth. She even mothered Cassandra Cain, a former Batgirl, and even battled her own daughter to the death on more than one occasion. With a mother daughter relationship like that, it makes Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest look like Carol Fucking Brady.

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18) Judomaster (Japanese)

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Many of the entries on our DC list are not only members of such illustrious groups as the Justice League, Doom Patrol, but also DC’s elite group of super heroes that are Japanese Characters Not So Subtly Named After Japanese Things, or JCNSSNAJT for short.

Take for instance Judomaster, what possibly could the metahuman Sonia Sato’s powers be? Well like the two other Judomasters before her she has a mastery level use of the Japanese grappling art of Judo, plus the ability to create an “aversion field.” This power prevents her from any attacks directly aimed at her.  However it is not effective against random attacks, explosions, and thinly veiled stereotypes it seems.

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17) Katana (Japanese)

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Another proud member of the JCNSSNAJT, Tatsu Yamashiro became the super heroine Katana through a love triangle between herself, her husband, and her husband’s jealous Yakuza brother. Like most matters of the heart, this family quarrel ended with Tatsu’s husband being slain by her brother with a mystical katana known as the “Soultaker”, having his soul trapped in said sword, and Tatsu disarming and defeating her brother-in-law, thus obtaining the mystical sword.

After fleeing from the battle, a heartbroken Tatsu would train to be an elite samurai warrior and took on the code name Katana after the sword she wielded with her dead husbands soul.  Glad to hear these crazy kids worked it all out.

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When Chandi Gupta’s parents discovered that their daughter, later known as Maya, had elemental super powers, they did what any good parents would do: they left their daughter in the hands of a  strange and evil cult that believed she was the reincarnation of the Hindu god Shiva, and planned to sacrifice her. And you thought your parents leaving you at math camp was bad! After realizing what her parents didn’t, that the cult was bat shit crazy, Maya escaped to London. Eventually she would become a member of the Justice League Europe and used her ability to manifest a mystical bow and control water and fire to aid in the team’s many battles. One of which I am sure was convincing readers that the Justice League Europe was not as depressing as say other European incarnations of popular franchise leagues. NFL Europe anyone?

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15) Linda Park West (Korean)

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The wife of the Wally West version of the Flash, Linda Park West helps balance out the Flash. Essentially she is the Flash version of Superman and Lois Lane. Not a super hero per se, Linda Park is a plucky journalist with the smarts of a doctor. In fact she has even learned the medical knowledge of an advanced alien race when she went into exile with her husband the Flash. She once even rode a lightning bolt to return to her home world. Not to mention that as the mother of Flash’s twin babies, her most incredible super powers must be the ability to handle the sonic boom level thrusts of her husband.

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14) Naiad (Japanese)

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Mai Mizyazaki was your run of the mill environmentalist who was murdered by the Shogun Oil Company while protesting their drilling rig off the coast of Alaska. After her murder she would be reborn as Naiad the Water Elemental of Earth, a being with the ability to control the elements of water. She along with Firestorm, Swamp Thing, and Red Tornado, is one of the Four Elementals created by Maya the Earth Mother to protect the planet and help mankind evolve. So basically she is like Gi from Captain Planet, only much darker.

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13) Grace Choi (Korea)

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Grace Choi never quite fit in. She grew up tragically as a survivor of a child prostitution ring and lived as a transient on the streets with her metahuman powers remaining dormant until puberty.  When her powers started manifesting themselves she became recruited by Batman to join the Outsiders, a group of metahumans that did not conform to the mainstream image of the super hero community. Her powers of super human strength, heightened endurance, and regenerative healing would later be further explained due to her Bana Amazonian heritage. To recap, former child prostitute with Amazonian metapowers that blossomed during puberty. And you thought your awkward teenage adolescence with terrible haircuts and stretch marks was bad.

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Of the many dark and brooding characters on our lineup, Solstice is a nice bright ray of sunshine. Her upbeat demeanor is fitting since it matches her glowing gold costume and ability to emit golden blasts of concussive light energy. With all the tales of revenge, heroes born from tragedy, etc. it’s nice to see a change from all the negativity to a hero that is not such a Debbie Downer.

Oh wait, we forgot since the New 52, Solstice has been retconned to have been abused and altered by N.O.W.H.E.R.E  and even had her body changed to resemble black smoke that emits blue light through her eyes, mouth, and skin. I guess it’s back to reading Archie Comics for us again.

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11) Tsunami (Japanese)

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Miya Shimada started her career as an enemy against the United States during World War 2 after the prejudice she felt as a Japanese American by her fellow citizens. Soon she began using her superhuman strength, ability to swim at incredibly speeds, and ability to form and control tidal waves against the United States of America and heroes such as those in the All-Star Squadron. Fortunately for us, after being disillusioned by the brutality of the Axis of Amerika and characters like Sea Wolf, a Nazi wolfman that could breath under water, she eventually joined the fight for truth, justice, and the American way. She even sold war bonds at one point at the behest of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Confused? Don’t be, it was just a different time. A simple time when Americans could leave their doors unlocked, eat some apple pie, and enjoy a comic about a Japanese super heroine who used her water powers to fight Nazi wolfmen underwater.

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10) Ghost Fox Killer (Chinese)

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A member of the Great Ten, DC’s super hero team from the People’s Republic of China, Ghost Fox Killer is in charge of killing evil men and has the power to control the ghosts of these dead men. She even has the power to cause instant death simply through her touch, a convenient power considering that the city she calls home is powered by the souls of dead men. And what with global warming and all these days, it’s good to see a super heroine on our list go green. Plus if she ever decides to give up the super hero gig, with a name like Ghost Fox Killer, I am sure the Wu Tang Clan would welcome her with open arms.

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9) Mother of Champions (Chinese)

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Another member of the Great Ten, the Mother of Champions probably has the weirdest if not grossest of super powers on this list. The heroine known as the Mother of Champions is quite literally that. You see, Wu Mei Xing was a theoretical physicist who was exposed to the “god particle” by accident while working on a particle accelerator. This exposure triggered her metagene and granted her the power of well, super fertility and fecundity. You see, although she was at first unable to bear children after being exposed to the “god particle,” later she would discover her new found ability to birth twenty five identical super soldiers every three days! These soldiers only live for about a week aging 10 years every twenty four hours. A pretty unique super power to say the least, we can’t help but feel a bit grossed out by it. The clean up alone after one of her Terracotta litters is shudder worthy. Nothing is wrong with the miracle of life, but the Mother of Champions sounds more like a cross between a pregnant hamster and a respawn unit from Starcraft. Maybe instead of Mother of Champions she should consider renaming herself to “Super Milf.”

 

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Before there was the Super Young Team, more on them later, there was Japan’s original super hero team, Big Action Science. Basically Big Science Action was Japan’s version of the Justice League except with more haikus and super kawaii heroes. Case in point Goraiko, a psionic construct projected from the mind of a young unnamed Japanese girl in a high tech sensory deprivation tank.  This construct is apparently inspired by a Totoro like doll that the girl has in her tank, and can only speak in haikus and mathematical equations. Just add in a Keroppi Mecha and she completes a Japanese hat trick.

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7) Nazo Baluda (Japanese)

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Rounding out Big Science Action is their resident dark star stealth warrior. Little is known about her, except that roughly translated her name Nazo Baluda is combination of the Japanese word enigma and reference to Dominatrix Baluda, a leather clad character from a Japanese manga. And really that is good enough for us at Amped Asia, in fact that is what we look for on our interns’ resumes. *Hint hint class of 2015*

6) Shy Crazy Lolita Canary (Japanese)

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The next two entries on our list both happen to be members of Super Young Team, a Japanese group of super heroes who are influenced by American super heroes and Japanese pop culture. If that wasn’t already apparent with member names like Sunny Sumo, Most Excellent Superbat, and Shy Crazy Lolita Canary. The latter of which sounds like some sort of screen name used by Chris Henson on an episode of To Catch A Predator. With a name like that you would expect her super power to be luring some creepy dude into her house with a couple of Subway sandwiches and horrible intentions. In actuality, she is a winged super heroine in a school girl costume who is small enough to fit in someone’s hand and possesses a sonic scream similar to Black Canary.  So a little from column A and a little from column B.

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5) Shiny Happy Aquazon (Japanese)

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If you hadn’t already figured out by her name, Shiny Happy Aquazon is also a member of the aforementioned Super Young Team. Although she sounds like the designated child swim area at your local Japanese YMCA, she in fact has the ability to create hardwater constructs, making her invaluable during the Justice League’s annual Spring Break Wet T-Shirt contests in Ft. Lauderdale.

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4) Jenny Quantum (Singaporean)

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Apparently.. she’s playing with glitter art?

Born on January 1st 2000, Jenny Quantum became the Spirit of the 21st century and has the ability to manipulate reality on a quantum level. She can do anything her imagination can come up with. Apparently her sense of fashion is extraordinarily immune to near limitless powers. Seriously all you could come up with is a Singaporean flag t-shirt, jean jacket, and slacks combo? I mean we get the flag is a nod to your hot British predecessor Jenny Sparks but come on. Anyway she can be seen currently as the leader of The Authority, a group of super heroes dedicated to getting the job done by any means necessary, except if it means in anything other than casual wear.

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3) Dr. Light (Japanese)

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The Japanese born Kimiyo Tazu Hoshi took the mantle of Dr. Light when the Monitor, the embodiment of all positive matter in the universe, chose her to defend the Earth against his nemesis Anti-Monitor, granting her the power of photonics. Now known as Dr. Light, Kimiyo Tazu Hoshi became a prominent character in the DC Universe and even member of the Justice League. But for the record, Kimiyo didn’t need some quasi god like being to grant her the title of doctor. She already was a medical doctor and scientist before her encounter with the Monitor, showing that all you need is hard work, dedication, and probably an overbearing Asian mother.

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2) Cassandra Cain/Batgirl/Black Bat (Ambiguously Asian)

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A former Batgirl now Black Bat, Cassandra Cain is the daughter of Lady Shiva and the world class assassin David Cain. Raised by her father to be the world’s greatest assassin and future bodyguard for Ra’s al Ghul, Cassandra was not taught to read or write, but only read the body language of an opponent. Although this would hinder her ability to communicate through conventional means, her intense training gave her high level cognitive abilities that let her perform extraordinary feats of physical and mental coordination.  It would seem she gets these killer moves from her mama, but more likely from her psychotic assassin father. But does it really matter? She has a literal and figurative killer body that expresses itself through extraordinary feats of multitasking; we don’t care where she gets it from as long as she gets it to us.

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This is a tricky one honestly since the daughter of Ra’s Ah Ghul has just as cryptic background as her father. We know that Ra’s Ah Ghul was born around 600 years ago somewhere in what was once considered “Arabia” near a city whose inhabitants migrated from China. Some have said he is of Arabic and Persian descent making him Asian. Also Taila Al Ghul’s mother came from Chinese and Arabic ancestry. Either way the sometimes love interest sometimes enemy of Batman still makes it on our list. She is an Olympic level athlete, holds advanced degrees in biology, engineering, and a business MBA, oh and incredibly deadly to boot. With a resume like that we she would make any Asian parent proud. But you know, they would still compare her to their friend’s kid who just got into John’s Hopkins, ON SCHOLARSHIP no doubt. NOTHING IS EVER GOOD ENOUGH IS IT MOM?!

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