Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Meet Lil Tokyo Reporter’s Star Chris Tashima and Director Jeffrey Gee Chin at the Little Tokyo Historical Society’s Booth at the 72nd Annual LA Nisei Week Japanese Festival on August 18, 2012

Meet Lil Tokyo Reporter’s star Chris Tashima, director Jeffrey Gee Chin, castmembers, and other members of the creative team at the Little Tokyo Historical Society’s Booth, at the 72nd Annual LA Nisei Week Japanese Festival on Saturday, August 18, 2012. Nisei Week activities are held in various locations throughout Little Tokyo, including the JACCC at 244 S. San Pedro Street.

Chris Tashima (Photo by Lia Chang)

Chris Tashima (Photo by Lia Chang)

Academy award winner Chris Tashima (Visas and Virtue) portrays the title character in Lil Tokyo Reporter, a narrative short film based on the true life struggles of Sei Fujii, immigrant pioneer, leader, and publisher.

Jeffrey Gee Chin directed Lil Tokyo Reporter, with a screenplay written by Guinevere Turner (American Psycho), based on the research of executive producer Fumiko Carole Fujita and the Little Tokyo Historical Society. In addition to Tashima, Lil Tokyo Reporter stars Eijiro Ozaki, Ikuma Ando, Keiko Agena, and Sewell Whitney, and is slated for a Fall release.

Chris Tashima as Sei Fujii in Lil Tokyo Reporter. Photo courtesy of Lil Tokyo Reporter

Chris Tashima as Sei Fujii in Lil Tokyo Reporter. Photo courtesy of Lil Tokyo Reporter


Although Sei Fujii was one of the most pinnacle civil rights leaders in the early 20th century, Lil Tokyo Reporter highlights his journey away from his political contributions, and delves into his interpersonal journey to defend and promote his deteriorating community during the Great Depression.

Fujii vowed to protect his people, defended them in legal cases with Attorney Wright and built a much needed hospital for the Japanese American community. During the Great Depression, the community unites at their first annual pageant parade while Fujii promotes their accomplishments through his new radio program and newspaper. Wright brings to Fujii’s attention a group running the local gambling hall who decided to take advantage of his community. Fujii must make a decision to confront the issue through his reporting and newspaper. Will these local baddies win over our historic civil rights leader? Or will our hero survive a road that will lead him into many unexpected twist of events.

Chris Tashima as Sei Fujii in Lil Tokyo Reporter. Photo courtesy of Lil Tokyo Reporter

Chris Tashima as Sei Fujii in Lil Tokyo Reporter. Photo courtesy of Lil Tokyo Reporter


In May, the Pacific Citizen‘s second annual “Extraordinary APA of the Year” Awards, which honor an individual’s positive and headline-making achievements in the Asian Pacific American community were given to Lil Tokyo Reporter star Chris Tashima, director Jeffrey Gee Chin and executive producer Fumiko Carole Fujita, in the category of Extraordinary APAs in Entertainment. This special recognition honors community leaders who have positively impacted the APA community and whose stories were reported in the Pacific Citizen.

Lil Tokyo Reporter was produced by Mayon Denton and Michael Iinuma in association with Visual Communications and the Little Tokyo Historical Society. The team was also sponsored by the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program and the Terasaki Foundation.

Click here to learn more about the film and here to donate to the fundraising campaign.

About The Little Tokyo Historical Society
The Little Tokyo Historical Society (LTHS) focuses on researching and discovering the historical resources, stories, and connections of sites, buildings, and events related to Little Tokyo as an ethnic heritage neighborhood. LTHS is committed to documenting and verifying history of locales, sites, and buildings, as well as preserving and sharing the history and personal stories of Little Tokyo and its residents.

LTHS was formed in 2006 by members of the Little Tokyo community to commemorate the Nikkei history and heritage through various means such as: archival collections, photos, exhibits, lectures and workshops, and gallery. Although other organizations documenting Japanese American history exist, LTHS narrows its focus by concentrating on the history of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, rather than the larger scope of Japanese Americans nationwide.

LTHS operates as a volunteer organization, comprised of members from the Little Tokyo community including nonprofit employees, business owners, and residents.

Other Articles by Lia Chang
10 minutes with Sullivan & Son’s Jodi Long, Award Winning Actor and Filmmaker
Multimedia: Screen Actors Guild Foundation’s Conversations with Derek Ting, Linus Roache and Michael Park of $upercapitalist
Lily Mariye’s Model Minority, Jayshree Janu Kharpade’s Fire in Our Hearts, Eliaichi Kimaro’s A Lot Like You, Vincent Sandoval’s Señorita, and Liang Cheng’s My Spiritual Medicine among AAIFF’12 Award Winners
Asian American Civil Rights Groups Angered by Acquittal and Lenient Sentence in Military Hazing Case of Pvt. Danny Chen
AAIFF’12: Richard Wong & H.P. Mendoza’s Yes, We’re Open, starring Lynn Chen, Parry Shen, Sheetal Sheth, & Kerry McCrohan, screens at Clearview Chelsea Cinemas on August 4, 2012
AAIFF’12: Knots, written by and starring Kimberly-Rose Wolter, Illeana Douglas, Sung Kang, Mia Riverton, Janel Parrish and Cathy Foy, and directed by Michael Kang, screens at Clearview Chelsea Cinemas on August 5, 2012
AAIFF’12: Lily Mariye’s Model Minority, starring Jessica Tuck, Nichole Bloom, Chris Tashima, Helen Slater, Laura Innes and Takayo Fisher, screens at Clearview Chelsea Cinemas on August 4, 2012
Daniel Hsia’s Shanghai Calling, Simon Yin’s Supercapitalist & Michael Kang’s Knots to Screen at 35th annual Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) in New York, which runs July 25 – August 5, 2012
35th Asian American International Film Festival Line-up in New York
Janet Yang to receive 2012 Asian American Media Award at AAIFF’12 Opening Night Presentation of Shanghai Calling on July 25, 2012
Click here for more articles on Film.
George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung and Paolo Montalban star in the World Premiere of Allegiance – A New American Musical at The Old Globe, September 7 – October 21, 2012
Catch Grammy-winning Drummer Will Calhoun in August at The Iridium, Jazzmobile Summerfest 2012, The Blue Note, Hudson Valley Jazz Festival, and WimBash
Three Year Swim Club, Encounter, TEA, Christmas in Hanoi and Chess set for East West Players 47th Anniversary Season
Photos: All-Access Pass to Disney’s Aladdin at The Muny with Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin De Jesus, John Tartaglia, Jason Graae, Curtis Holbrook, Eddie Korbich, Samantha Massell and Ken Page
Rick Shiomi helms Mu Performing Arts’ Asian American Cast of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, July 17-August 5, 2012
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Photos: BD Wong, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brandon Victor Dixon, Tom Viola at “Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship to Benefit Rosie’s Theater Kids”
Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (3pm) with Andre Bishop, Mary Beth Hurt, Jennifer Lim, Angela Lin, Philip Kan Gotanda, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Richard Thomas, Jay O. Sanders, and more
Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (8pm) with Oskar Eustis, Patti LuPone, Lisa Emery, Ann Harada, Paolo Montalban, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Henry Stram, Richard Thomas, John Weidman and more
Photos: In Rehearsal with Director Bartlett Sher and the cast of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan
David Henry Hwang Set as Signature Theatre’s Residency One Playwright for the 2012-2013 Season
Photos: In Rehearsal with BD Wong at Dixon Place for Live Concert Recording of Herringbone
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Oskar Eustis, BD Wong, Brian d’Arcy James, Francis Jue, Jennifer Lim and Leigh Silverman at WNYC’s The Greene Space
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography


Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2012 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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