Asian Am Cartoonists – JadeLuckClub Celebrating Asian American Creativity! Sun, 16 Dec 2018 22:01:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Secret Asian Man Comic Strip & New Book by Tak Toyoshima Fri, 27 May 2011 08:29:27 +0000

From Tak Toyoshima via Amazon: “After ten years of writing and illustrating Secret Asian Man, I’ve put together my first book of strips. Secret Asian Man: The Daily Days collects every single daily comic strip I produced for over two years of syndication with United Features. To say that I’m excited about this book is an understatement.

Secret Asian Man is a comic strip that focuses on what makes us the same as well as different, through the lens of Asian American protagonist Osamu “SAM” Takahashi. Between the covers of this 232 page collection, no one is safe from SAM’s keen observations on race, religion, politics, sexual orientation and everything else that gets people’s undies in a bunch.”


I have only just discovered Secret Asian Man (though it’s because I live under a rock and don’t get the newspaper). It seems that Secret Asian Man has been syndicated for years. I found this in Wikipedia:

Secret Asian Man is a syndicated comic strip written and drawn by Tak Toyoshima and published in Boston’s Weekly DigMetro Silicon ValleySan Jose Mercury NewsRedEyeNichi Bei TimesAsianWeekGeorgia Asian TimesThe Everett Herald, and on the internet.

The strip has appeared weekly since 1999 and covers the author’s biography and Asian American issuesSecret Asian Man often centers its discussion on what it means to be “Asian American,” as well as other race and ethnic-related issues. Toyoshima’s work is often hailed for its stereotype-breaking content[citation needed], although others have criticized it as doing the exact opposite. Its title is a pun/mondegreen referring to the song “Secret Agent Man” or the TV series Secret Agent Man. “Secret Asian Man” was picked up for syndication by United Feature Syndicate for its daily run, which ran from July 16, 2007 to September 19, 2009.

Have you been reading this comic strip and what do you think of it?

p.s. For those new to it, here is the cast of characters:

“All issues of Secret Asian Man feature Osamu “SAM (Secret Asian Man)” Takahashi, who is a Japanese American artist modeled after the author. SAM has three major friends: Richie, a white man; Charlie, a black man; and Grace Patterson, an East Asian American who was adopted by white parents. Along with them, SAM also has a cynical and sarcastic spiky-haired cousin named Simon. SAM’s wife Marie is Italian, and they have a son named Shintaro, and a newborn son, Bob.” from Wikipedia


Osamu “SAM” Takahashi is a father, an art director and a dreamer. Always a level-headed optimist, SAM always tries to see both sides of a story and is more interested in learning more about issues than proving that he’s right. Between work, family and hanging out with his friends, SAM is also an aspiring comic strip artist and hopes to someday share his work with the world.




Marie Campana is an editor for an educational publishing house.

She brings home plenty for her boys to read. Marie is also an avid comic book fan and suffers from acute zombiephobia. But if there’s a zombie movie on you can bet Marie is going to stop and watch the whole thing until the bitter, bloody end. Marie is SAM’s anchor and without her he would end up leaving for work without his pants on.



Shin Takahashi is SAM and Marie’s older son who is extremely bright, observant and isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions. Like the time he asked SAM if the black guy next to him tasted like chocolate. Shin excels at building spaceships with Legos and taking apart electronics and reassembling them to suit his own needs. He also has a knack for belting out Broadway show tunes.




Robert “Bobby” Takahashi is the new addition to the family. Bobby enjoys…well…shiny things. He’s still a baby, give him time. One thing is for sure, though, he loves his older brother Shin.




Charlie has been SAM’s best friend since grade school. Charlie is a consummate tinker of technology and someday hopes to finish his own personal Iron Man suit. Charlie also loves to invent infomercial-bound products and even had quite an adventure with his most successful product to date: Lunchkins – the lunch bag that’s a napkin.




Richie is the one white guy at the Million Man March. He is well-meaning and constantly trying to understand oppressed peoples and their struggles. Richie’s quest for political correctness often ends up offending those he’s trying to appease. He’ll order a burrito with his horrible Spanish and likes to wear a dashiki. Richie was also Shin’s pre-school teacher.




Simon is SAM’s hot-headed, college aged cousin. Simon is constantly scowling at the injustices perpetrated against his Asian American brothers and sisters. He’s quick to point out racist actions and will not hesitate to jump down your throat for questioning his causes. Not many people like Simon but, hey, he’s family so whaddya gonna do?



p.p.s. For those of you who like Asian American comic strips, check out Lillian Chan’s Empty Bamboo Girl here and here.


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To examine any book in this blog more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

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Up Close and Personal with Cartoon Artist Lillian Chan Mon, 02 May 2011 08:49:40 +0000

Empty Bamboo Girl Lillian Chan Asian American Cartoonist Amy Chua Race to Nowhere JadeLuckClub Celebrating Asian American Creativity Tiger Mom Anti-Tiger Mom Amy

1) Tell me about yourself. How old are you? What are you currently doing? Do you live in Boston? In Boston’s Chinatown?

Well, I was born and raised in Boston — primarily Jamaica Plain. Ever since I could remember I loved drawing and playing with words & images together. But, it wasn’t until much later — after graduating from UMass Amherst and working in the web development field — that I decided to actively pursue art. Currently, I’m the design director at Mimoco (, best known for the MIMOBOT designer USB flash drives. And during my off days — if I have much time left — I work on my comic Empty Bamboo Girl (

2) Tell me about your childhood. How much does Ah Lin! reflect your family? Does your family own a Chinese restaurant, for example?
I grew up in a pretty typical Chinese immigrant family household. My dad worked as a cook in a Chinese restaurant out in the suburbs (and which he still does to this very day) and my mother started off as a seamstress back when the Leather District in Chinatown was bustling with fabric manufacturing. They worked hard so that my brother and I could have opportunities that they never had.

3) How did you get into cartooning? How did your parents feel about it?

I didn’t seriously get into it until I started working at the Sampan Newspaper, a small local newspaper in English and Chinese based out of Boston. I was writing for them at the time — putting my journalism degree to good use. But then the editor at the time and I started talking and he suggested putting together a comic for the newspaper. I liked drawing (he knew it) + writing so I thought I’d take a stab at it. I’ve been working on the comic ever since.

But as far as I can remember I’ve always been doodling.

4) What career did your parents want you to pursue? What did you decide to pursue?
Of course, my parents wanted me to study something that would give me a financially secure future — so something in the science or medical or accounting fields. My older brother studied biology and went into the biotech industry. But, I wasn’t science-minded whatsoever. So, while at UMass Amherst, I studied journalism since that was the only major that interested me. Studying art seemed to be out of the question. My parents weren’t enthusiastic about it and I didn’t have enough in me at the time to go for it.

So, I graduated and got a job at a publishing house doing something I was slightly interested in. It wasn’t until a few years later that I decided it was time to pursue art. I wasn’t happy so I applied to MassArt and was floored when I got accepted. My parents weren’t too happy, but by then I was old enough and determined enough.

5) Would you describe your mother as a “Tiger Mom?” And if yes, how so?

My mom is an old school “Tiger Mom.” No sleepovers (although my friends could come over). There were violin lessons but that came out of my own initial interest during grade school where our music classes were subsidized. She and many mothers of her generation had to be “Tiger Mothers.” Coming from poor circumstances with little education and immigrating to a country they knew nothing about meant that they had to make sure their children would have a better future than they did. I don’t think it’s simply about going to Harvard for the name (well, maybe), but moreso I don’t want you to have to struggle working in a restaurant 10+ hours a day or sewing non-stop.But, it can become intense — the amount of pressure that’s placed to succeed. As a kid, you don’t understand…and for some, they’re able to understand as they get older while others can’t step back from it and it can get to them.

I’ve chosen to step back and find the humor — if possible.

6) What’s next for you? What do you hope to accomplish with your cartoon strip?

What’s next for the comic strip is developing it into a graphic novel. So, I’m going back to old comic pieces I’ve done and writing to make that happen — hopefully it’ll be finished by the end of the year.

7) Is there significance for your comic strip title, Empty Bamboo Girl? What do you intend for it to convey?
The term “empty bamboo” or “hollow bamboo” is a cantonese term (jook sing) for American Born Chinese folk — it’s a bit derogatory because it means that you look Chinese on the outside but you don’t possess anything authentically Chinese on the inside…you’re hollow like a bamboo. But, for me, I want to take back that term and embrace it. So, what if I am? Does that make me any less Chinese? No. I’m Chinese American…Asian American…and this is my experience.

I just hope that there are those who can identify with the comic strip and not feel alone in their situation — to find the humor in it all. Or, maybe I just need to find some company in my misery 😛

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Lillian Chan: Cartoonist Mon, 04 Apr 2011 08:54:01 +0000

Empty Bamboo Girl Lillian Chan Asian American Cartoonist Amy Chua Race to Nowhere JadeLuckClub Celebrating Asian American Creativity Tiger Mom Anti-Tiger Mom AmyI found Lillian Chan, a wonderful cartoonist, on Twitter. She claims that no one knows about her cartoon, Ah-Lin!, but I hope to change that! I hope she doesn’t mind that I am posting her cartoon on an imaginary encounter with her parents on Facebook. For more of her cartoons, click here. She turns her upbringing by a Tiger Mom into a cute, appealing, and funny cartoon strip. Check her out!


Lillian Chan cartoonist JadeLuckClub http://JadeLuckClub facebook with baba

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