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Monday, January 01, 2007

Tak Toyoshima's Secret Asian Man



Secret Asian Man is a cartoon strip created by Japanese American Tak Toyoshima. He is also currently the Art Director at the Boston Chinatown fastest alternative- entertainment newspaper called the “Weekly Dig”.

Tak Toyoshima was born and raised in New York City’s Tribeca district. He now lives in Boston with his wife and son. For Tak Toyoshima, being an artist wasn't about making a political statement for the entire Asian American community originally but as his entry into the comic strip world started he soon realized that he had things on his mind that he could express through the Secret Asian Man (S.A.M.).

“Fan response to that strip was phenomenal. People from all over the country (even a couple of international responses) from all walks of life wrote in supporting the strip and saying I should stick with my guns and keep the strip the way it is. I pretty much knew that I was going to keep the strip the same but wanted to see what other people thought.
It's easy to get caught up in your own thoughts. I wanted to make sure I wasn't closing doors on myself. The response just further reinforced my belief that the strip needs to stay the way it is in order to accomplish what I want to do with the strip, which is to bring a distinctively Asian American voice to newspapers across the country. And not just to an Asian American audience, to everyone.


If the response was overwhelmingly in favor of going mainstream I have to admit that I would have thought about it. Again, it's easy to convince yourself that what you are doing is the right thing, even if it might be the wrong thing to do. I think the half-way compromise would have been to change the name to S.A.M. and keep the content of the strip as is. At least that way when it gets plopped on an editor's desk, it won't immediately turn them off with a big ol' "Asian" right in the name.”

Secret Asian Man was created in 1998 for a very small monthly art magazine called “Shovel” S.A.M. is now read by many and has his own apparel and accessories line available for purchase here. S.A.M. also has his own home page @ Asian-American Village here.



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