101 Ways to Define a Community

Tony Osumi and Jenni Kuida with their daughter Maiya Kuida Osumi at the Little Tokyo Sparkle clean-up event in November. (Photo by MIKE MURASE)

Published Dec. 29, 2016

Editor’s note: The year 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the influential “101 Ways to Tell You’re Japanese American,” originally published in The Rafu Shimpo in March 1996. The list, in ways both serious and funny, was a revelation at its time, helping to spur conversation on what it meant to be Japanese American in 1996.

We recently caught up with authors Jenni Kuida and Tony Osumi to discuss the impact of their article and how the Japanese American community has evolved. Kuida worked in the Child Development program at Little Tokyo Service Center for the past 11 years and is now working part-time as a grant-writer for Koreatown Youth and Community Center. Osumi is a third-grade teacher at 68th Street Elementary School and is director of Camp Musubi. They live in Culver City with their daughter Maiya.

The original list appears after this article. A new list, “101 Ways JAs Can Be Greener,” can be found in the Columnists section of the Rafu website.

Rafu: How did you come up with the idea for “101 Ways” and what was the most surprising reaction?