Lee A. Tonouchi

Lee A. Tonouchi, Okinawan Yonsei, stay known as “Da Pidgin Guerrilla” for his activism in campaigning for Pidgin a.k.a. Hawai‘i Creole for be accepted as one legitimate language. Tonouchi stay da recipient of da 2023 American Association for Applied Linguistics Distinguished Public Service Award for his work in raising public awareness of important language-related issues and promoting linguistic social justice.

His Pidgin poetry collection Significant Moments in da Life of Oriental Faddah and Son: One Hawai‘i Okinawan Journal won da Association for Asian-American Studies Book Award. His Pidgin children’s picture book Okinawan Princess: Da Legend of Hajichi Tattoos won one Skipping Stones Honor Award. And his latest book stay Chiburu: Anthology of Hawai‘i Okinawan Literature.


Updated September 2023

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Why You Should Talk to Strangers—Crafting celebrity Joy Shimabukuro says chance ‘em

Local people in Hawai‘i might not know her last name, but mostly everybody recognizes her face and her first name that has become synonymous with crafting. When dey see her in public dey go up to her and tell, “Eh, you Joy...Of Crafting, yeah?” First name—Joy. Last name—Of Crafting. Lol. About for film her 483rd episode, Joy Shimabukuro’s television show Joy of Crafting has been running continuously in Hawai‘i since 2002. Painfully shy as one kid, Joy nevah imagined she would grow up for become so famous and so talkie! * * * * * I stay nerjous, b…

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“Da Okinawan Hammah” stay nailing it!—Brandon Ufugusuku Ing’s projects promote Okinawan language

“Da Okinawan Hammah” get one skill that not too many people get. Uchinaaguchi, da Okinawan language stay dying out and Hawai‘i-born yonsei Brandon Ufugusuku Ing stay doing everything in his powah for try help save ‘em. Whether it’s teaching Uchinaaguchi classes on Zoom, creating eju-ma-cational animated Uchinaaguchi music videos for childrens, making avant-garde Uchinaaguchi movies for film festivals, or just rocking out to his own original Uchinaaguchi songs, Braddah Brandon, one Castle High School 2001 grad, does it all in da hope of revitalizing his [well, our…

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Kenny Kusaka’s Calling—How he chose stand-up comedy as his service

Leilehua class of 2013 grad, Kenny Kusaka wuz getting lotta leading roles in da Local theatre scene in Hawai‘i when he decided for switch gears and try his hand at stand-up comedy. For da past several years he been making one name for himself on top da stand-up circuit, refining his act all across da country. I caught up with him recently aftah his first time headlining his own show at The Blue Note, da Hawai‘i branch of da celebrated New York entertainment venue. * * * * *  Kenny, what your fondest memory of growing up in Wahiawa on O‘ahu? Hmm. (Ponders for forevah …

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Artist Audra Furuichi Meets Her Match—How she created her nemu*nemu comic empire

Illustrator Audra Furuichi stay most well known for her web comic nemu*nemu dat she launched in 2006 with her partner Scott Yoshinaga. Da ting wuz one immediate hit. If you dunno, dis quirky strip stay about da misadventures of Nemu and Anpan, two magical stuff animal kine canines and their human beings, Kana and Anise. Those characters wen spawn one whole line of popular merchandise, like books, shirts, stickers, and of course stuffed pups. * * * * * What school you went, what year you grad? Saint Andrew’s Priory. I grad in '96. You identify as Local, Nikkei, Japanese American, o…

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In it for da Long Haul: Grant Kagimoto Shares da Secret to Cane Haul Road's Longevity

Grant Kagimoto stay da creative genius behind Hawai‘i’s iconic T-shirt brand, Cane Haul Road. For almost 50 years he been coming up with clever graphic designs that comment on Hawai‘i’s unique Local culture. Sometimes he get designs das humorous like his Chinese cabbage design with da caption “won bok not much nowdays.” And oddah times his designs might be pure Hawai‘i nostalgia like his rendering of one big-wheel, hand-crank shave ice machine that takes da viewer back to one time when every neighborhood had one mom & pop corner store. Recentl…

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