This list will include all known notable or prominent Japanese and Black Blasians in the public eye. Since the number of Blasians is growing rapidly, keeping up with all the notable Blasians is challenging, so we appreciate readers letting me know of prominent Japanese and Black Blasians that may be missing from the list. After validating any new suggestions, we will update the list with any new entries. Note that for this list, we only include Blasians who are at least 50% Japanese. Blacks, particularly American Blacks, are frequently mixed with other races, so this list may include Blasians with Black parents who are mixed. The list is roughly in order of age to the extent that their age is known. Other notable Blasians with an Asian parent other than Japanese will be published separately.
1. Sachio Kinugasa, African American father and Japanese mother
Sachio Kinugasa (衣笠 祥雄, born January 18, 1947 in Kyoto, Japan) is a former Japanese baseball player with Hiroshima Carp. He is nicknamed Tetsujin, meaning “Iron Man”. He played in a then world-record 2,215 consecutive games, passing Lou Gehrig’s mark in 1987. This record stood until it was broken by Cal Ripken, Jr. in 1996. Kinugasa is not only remembered for his consecutive game streak, but he also ranks 7th in Nippon Professional Baseball in career home runs (504), 5th in career hits (2543), and 10th in career RBIs (1448), showing that he was one of the most consistent hitters in Japanese baseball. He was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.
Kinugasa’s father was an African American serviceman stationed in Japan after World War II. Kinugasa’s mother was Japanese, and she raised him by herself. Kinugasa currently writes baseball related articles for newspapers, and sometimes appears on various television shows. His eldest son, Tomoaki, has had a successful career as an actor. Kinugasa was given the People’s Honour Award for his performance in the professional leagues. He and Sadaharu Oh are the only baseball players to have received the award. His jersey number (3) was retired by the Carp in 1987 and a baseball stadium in Nagasaki was named after Kinugasa.
2. Halford Fairchild, PhD, African American father and Japanese mother
Halford Fairchild was a Professor of Psychology and Black Studies at Pitzer College, a member of The Claremont Colleges for 18 years from 1993 to 2011. From Fall of 1998 to Spring 2001, and Fall 2006 to Spring 2007, Professor Fairchild served as Chairman of the Intercollegiate Department of Black Studies. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, an M.A. from the California State University, Los Angeles, and an M.A. and Ph.D from the University of Michigan. He is the former board historian and editor of Psych Discourse: The Monthly News Journal of The Association of Black Psychologists.
3. Yayoi Lena Winfrey, African American father and Japanese mother
Born in Tokyo, Yayoi grew up on three continents, spending most of her adult life in California, Hawaii and Washington. Her first ‘real’ job was at a Tacoma television station fielding phone calls for the controversial host of a late-night talk show. In 1991, she began appearing as Mistress of the Stars, delivering Astrological prognostications on urban music radio station, KFOX in Seattle.
After attending art school, Yayoi freelanced as an illustrator/graphic designer before turning to journalism in 1997. She contributed to over 40 publications often penning celebrity interviews, film reviews and Red Carpet coverage. In 1998, Yayoi began working in the film industry; writing and directing Watermelon Sushi. Twice nominated for journalism awards, Yayoi is also referenced on Wikipedia for her article Yellowface: Asians on White Screens. In 2000, she published an anthology of 28 black women writers titled Brothers and Others. Today, Yayoi authors a blog, Watermelon Sushi World.
4. Peter Westbrook, African American father and Japanese mother
Peter Westbrook (born April 16, 1952) is a former American sabre fencing champion, active businessman and founder of the Peter Westbrook Foundation. As a former U.S. champion and Olympic medalist, Peter Westbrook came to fencing from an unlikely direction, the inner city. Westbrook’s remarkable life began with his Japanese mother, who convinced him to try fencing. As a Newark teenager in the 1960s, Westbrook brought unseen intensity to the sport; anger over his absentee father, poverty, and status as a biracial man in a racist society helped to fuel Westbrook to remarkable heights within the sport. Through discipline and hard work, he channeled his anger into the competitive edge needed to become an internationally ranked competitor.
Westbrook’s father, Ulysses, was a G.I. stationed in Japan during the Korean War, where he met Mariko, a beautiful Japanese woman from a sheltered home. Soon after their marriage they returned to the United States, traveling first to St. Louis, Missouri and eventually settling in Newark, NJ, where Peter and his younger sister Vivian were born. Peter was 4 when his father left, leaving his mother to raise the family. Through a series of jobs, working in a factory and as a maid, she provided for her children and in a creative move, Mariko bartered with the priests at the local Catholic school in exchange for schooling for Peter and Vivian.
In the individual sabre fencing event, Westbrook won a bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics and the 1975 Pan American Games, silver at the 1979 and 1987 Pan American Games, and gold at the 1983 and 1995 Pan American Games. He has also won team fencing medals from 1979 to 1995 and is one of the most accomplished fencers either Black or Asian ever.
5. Anthony Brown, PhD., African/Native American father and Japanese mother
Anthony Brown’s musical career dates back to the 1970’s. A San Francisco native of Japanese and African/Native American descent who grew up around the world as an “Army brat,” Dr. Brown has developed a unique compositional and performance voice reflective of his own intercultural heritage and experiences. He is considered a master at blending non-Western compositional approaches and instruments with traditional jazz idioms and improvisation. He grew up in California, Japan, and Germany. His father was a thirty-five year career Army Sergeant Major of African/Choctaw heritage from South Carolina, and his mother is a native of Tokyo, Japan.
Dr. Brown earned Bachelor degrees in music and psychology at the University of Oregon, and then lived in Athens, Greece and Heidelberg, Germany as an Army officer from 1976-80. He returned to San Francisco in 1980 and pursued a professional musical career with United Front, making his recording debut in 1981. In 1985, Dr. Brown moved to New York, and he earned a Masters of Music degree at Rutgers University in jazz performance. He was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship to earn his doctorate and chose to complete a Ph.D. in music at UC Berkeley, specializing in ethnomusicology to research the music of his cultural heritage. Afterwards, he began four years of bi-weekly commutes to Washington, DC as Curator of American Musical Culture and Director of the Jazz Oral History Program at the Smithsonian Institution.
Dr. Brown has received several grants, fellowships, awards and commissions from many notable organizations. He has presented master classes, lectures and scholarly papers at the National Academy of Sciences, Smithsonian Institution, Library of Congress, Columbia University, the Franz Schubert Conservatory (Vienna, Austria), and at every campus of the University of California. Dr. Brown also has articles in The New Grove Encyclopedia of Music and The Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History.
6. Velina Hasu Houston, African/Native American father and Japanese mother
Velina Hasu Houston, born Velina Avisa Hasu Houston (on May 5, 1957), is an award-winning American playwright, essayist, poet, author, editor, and screenwriter. She has had many works produced, presented, and published, with some drawing from her experience of being multiracial, as well as from the immigrant experiences of her family and those she encountered growing up in Junction City, Kansas. The youngest of three, Houston was born in international waters on a military ship en route to a U.S. base in Japan. Her father, Lemo Houston, was African Native American/Blackfoot-Pikuni Native American Indian originally from Linden, Alabama. Her mother, Setsuko Takechi, is Japanese originally from Matsuyama, Ehime, a provincial town in Shikoku Island.
Her work focuses on the shifting boundaries of identity with regard to gender, culture, and ethnicity, often embracing a transnational view of identity based upon her own Japanese and American background. Her works’ themes also have extended beyond these issues to explore stories related to women in society. She is best known for her play Tea, which portrays the lives of Japanese war brides who move to the United States with their American servicemen husbands. Her plays are studied in the US, Asia, and Europe in high schools and in colleges and universities. She is the only American playwright to amass a body of work that explores the transnational US-Japan relationship through stories that include a bilateral, global view of identity and belonging. The former Honorable Consul General of Japan of Los Angeles Kazuo Kodama paralleled Houston’s work in drama to the work of Isamu Noguchi in fine art, both being offspring of one Japanese parent and one American parent.
7. Bruce Harrell, African American father and Japanese American mother
Bruce A. Harrell (born 1958) is a member of the Seattle City Council. He was first elected in 2007 from a field of five candidates. In 2011, Councilmember Harrell was re-elected. He is chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee, serves as vice chair of the Transportation Committee and serves as a member of the Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee. Between 2008-2011, he served as chair of the Energy, Technology, and Civil Rights Committee and was responsible for oversight of Seattle City Light, the city’s public power utility and the city’s Department of Information and Technology. He also sits on the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Executive Board, chairs Performance First, a partnership to support minority-owned businesses, and is the Northwest Regional Director for the National Technology Adoption Advisory Council.
Born and raised in Seattle, Harrell attended Garfield High School where he graduated valedictorian in 1976. He went on to attend the University of Washington where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 1980 and made the national Academic All-American First Team in football. Harrell furthered his education and received a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Washington School of Law in 1984 where he was then admitted to the Washington State Bar Association and practiced in the state of Washington for 20 years working first for US West, now CenturyLink, and then in a private practice prior to running for political office. In 1994, Harrell earned a Master’s degree in Organizational Design and Improvement from City University of Seattle.
In 2007, Harrell received the University of Washington Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2012 he was named the University of Washington’s Timeless Award Winner, and in 2013, he was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame.
8. Ella Bully-Cummings, African American father and Japanese mother
Ella M. Bully-Cummings (born 1958) was the chief of police of the City of Detroit from 2003 to 2008. Bully-Cummings was born in Japan, the second-oldest of eight children of an African American repairman and a Japanese housewife. Her parents met when her father was serving in the U.S. Army as part of the American Occupation forces. The family settled in Detroit, her Mississippi-born father’s adopted hometown. Bully-Cummings helped her parents pay for her siblings’ education through early years on the police force. She went to college herself while still serving on the police force after helping to pay for five of her siblings. In December 1993 Bully-Cummings graduated with honors from Madonna University with a bachelor’s degree in public administration. She then went on to graduate cum laude from Michigan State University College of Law with a J.D. in January 1998 and was sworn into the State Bar of Michigan in May 1998.
Bully-Cummings entered the police academy in 1977. After a brief police layoff the mid-1980s due to budget cuts, she returned to the force and rose to the rank of sergeant in 1987. She continued her rise in the department by making lieutenant in 1993 and commander in 1998. In July 1999, she retired from the department to become a staff attorney first at Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone PLC, then at Foley & Lardner, and finally back at Miller Canfield. She represented management in employment cases that involved federal and state discrimination. In 2002, she was called back into service by Mayor Kilpatrick as an Assistant Chief of Police, the first female appointed to assistant chief position in Detroit. She was charged with overseeing Management Services, Training, Personnel, Science & Technology, and Risk Management bureaus, collectively called the Administrative Portfolio.
After the resignation of Chief Jerry Oliver in 2003, Bully-Cummings was appointed as interim chief. She became permanent in 2004. Under her leadership, in 2004, the Detroit Police Department realized the greatest reduction in major crimes in 41 years, and a record reduction of 15.2% in violent crimes. Bully-Cummings is the 2005 recipient of the General Motors and Black Entertainment Television’s “History Maker in the Making” Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Center for Women and Policing.
9. William Carter, African American father and Japanese mother
The Honorable William Carter was a judge on the Albany City Court, from 2003 to 2012. He began his public service as a camp counselor at the Center for the Disabled during high school and college. After graduation from college, he then worked with autistic and emotionally disturbed children at Parsons Child and Family Center until he joined the ranks of the New York State Police in 1982. In 1988, he enrolled in Albany Law School and upon his graduation in 1991, he became an Assistant District Attorney and then an Assistant Attorney General. In 1995, he went into private practice as a defense attorney and served as a Capital Defender until his return to the Albany County District Attorney’s Office as the Chief Assistant. A lifelong resident of Albany, Judge Carter stayed loyal to his hometown by attending local schools – School 19, Christian Brothers Academy, Cardinal McCloskey High School, SUNY Albany and Albany Law School.
10. Eddie Dunbar, African American father and Japanese mother
Eddie Dunbar became an entomologist after an University of California, Berkeley grad student, Regina Burke, took him under her wings at age 10. Dunbar was accepted into the Entomology program at Berkeley in 1981, but did not graduate. Still, his flair for putting bugs in your face was noticed and he was hired onto the University’s ubiquitous Insect Hotline. Dunbar’s winning attitude and showmanship landed the Hotline on the front page of the Daily Cal and other high profile publications.
In 1996, Dunbar was approached about writing a proposal to Berkeley’s Interactive University. CityBugs recruited students from McClymonds High School, Oakland, to study entomology at Berkeley while also connecting them to University resources through technology. Dunbar received high accolades for CityBugs’ innovative use of technology. In 1998, Dunbar organized BugPeople, which he led until 2008. BugPeople embodied his passion for working with both students and educators. In 2008, he organized and now heads the Insect Sciences Museum of California, a non-profit organization. Dunbar now holds a B.S. with emphasis in instructional technology and an MBA with emphasis in Technology.
11. Abegasu Shiota, Ethiopian father and Japanese mother
Abegasu Kibrework Shiota was born in Japan and raised in Ethiopia. He speaks Amharic, Japanese and English fluently. Shiota is an exceptional keyboardist and an acclaimed producer/arranger of Ethiopian pop culture music. He has worked with most of the important artists in Ethiopia. He frequently performs at major social events on his keyboard. Abegasu studied jazz composition at the Berkeley College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and he is one of Ethiopian pop music’s most sought-after producers. Shiota began his professional music career in 1989 in Ethiopia. He has been a part of the Unecas Band, the Dahlak band and the Ethio-Stars Band, and is a co-founder of the Admas Band. His first recording project was with Teshome Wolde and since then, he has produced and arranged for many renowned Ethiopian singers including Aster Aweke, Tilahun Gessesse, Mahmoud Ahmed, Neway Debebe, Hamelmal Abate and Theodros Tadesse.
12. Corey Yasuto Gaines, African American father and Japanese mother
Corey Yasuto Gaines (born June 1, 1965) is an American former professional basketball player. Gaines was selected by the Seattle SuperSonics in the 3rd round (65th overall) of the 1988 NBA Draft. A 6’3″ (1.90 m) guard from UCLA and Loyola Marymount University, Gaines played in 5 NBA seasons for 4 different teams. He played for the New Jersey Nets (1988–89), Philadelphia 76ers (1989–90, 1994–95), Denver Nuggets (1990–91) and New York Knicks (1993–94). Gaines also played in a Japanese professional basketball league in the early 2000s.
In 2007, Gaines became the head coach of the WNBA Phoenix Mercury and in 2009, he directed the Mercury to their second WNBA title. In November 2011, Gaines was promoted to general manager of the Mercury. He was both the head coach and general manager of the Phoenix Mercury until 2013. In 2013, Gaines was temporarily promoted to an assistant head coach for the Phoenix Suns and in the 2013-14 NBA season, he was a new player developmental coach for the Suns.
13. Ramon Calhoun, African American father and Japanese American mother
Ramon Calhoun is the author of the novel “Blackanese Boy“, a semi-autobiographical novel which tells a coming of age story set in San Francisco in the 1970s and early 1980s. It follows the trials and tribulations of a blasian boy, as he negotiates the complex dance of being mixed-race in a race conscious society. The novel explores the issues and complexities, the pain and joy, of being both black and Japanese-American, for one American boy. An only child, the main character is raised by his Japanese American mother, who works multiple jobs to make ends meet. The black father, a painter and bohemian character, is an infrequent yet powerful presence in the boy’s life. It is between the forces of these two, Asian mother and black father, and their respective cultures, that the main character tries to cope with and understand the complexity of his mixed-identity.
Ramon explains the motivation for his novel: “I wrote this book for a few reasons. My identity as Blackanese has vexed me for a good long time. Growing up, I often didn’t know how to identify—with which group? It has changed and evolved over time. I’ve identified at some point as Japanese, Black, Mexican, Filipino, Indian, Hawaiian, and even Italian! It took me a while to actually identify as mixed, as Blackanese. In fact this happened as an adult. Writing the book was a way for me to process these thoughts and emotions and ideas; to try to better understand the struggles I’ve experienced. The struggles that are borne internally as well as those placed on me externally.”
14. Aja Kong, African American father and Japanese mother
Erika Shishido (宍戸 江利花 Shishido Erika) (born September 25, 1970) is a professional wrestler, better known by the stage name Aja Kong, and the founder of the ARSION all-women professional wrestling promotion. Shishido has won several championships in both singles and tag team divisions throughout her career, primarily while with All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling. Shishido is half Japanese and half African-American. Her father served in the US military.
Aja Kong has several wrestling signature moves including the brainbuster, the diving back elbow drop, and the uraken (spinning backfist). She was also inducted to the All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1998.
15. Johnnie Morton, African American father and Japanese mother
Johnnie James Morton, Jr. (born October 7, 1971) is a former American college and professional football player who was a wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL) for twelve seasons from 1994 to 2005. He played college football for the University of Southern California (USC), and was recognized as an All-American. Originally drafted by the Detroit Lions in the first round in the 1994 NFL Draft, he also played professionally for the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers of the NFL. Morton attempted a career in mixed martial arts fighting in 2007. He is currently an assistant football coach at Glenville State College in West Virginia. Morton also had a brief cameo appearance in the movie “Jerry Maguire”.
16. Dave Roberts, African American father and Japanese mother
David Ray Roberts (born May 31, 1972 in Okinawa, Japan) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder. Previously, he played with the Cleveland Indians (1999-2001), Los Angeles Dodgers (2002-2004), Boston Red Sox (2004), San Diego Padres (2005-2006), and San Francisco Giants (2007-2008). Roberts bats and throws left-handed. He is the son of a retired African American Marine in Japan (Waymon Roberts) and a Japanese mother (Eiko) and was raised in San Diego, California. He is best known for his stolen base in the 9th inning of Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series, which was such a notable play that it is often simply referred to as “The Steal”. He is currently the bench coach for the Padres.
17. Miko Branch, African American father and Japanese mother
Miko Branch is the Co-Founder and CEO of Miss Jessie’s products for curly hair. Under the tutelage of her African-American father, Miko Branch was raised to be an entrepreneur. Influenced by her Japanese mother and fascinated with her childhood beauty idols (Cher, Donna Summer, and Chaka Khan), Miko learned to appreciate and pay close attention to everything that was beautiful. As she grew, she merged her love of beauty with her entrepreneurial spirit and in more than almost two decades she opened the now famous Miss Jessie’s hair salon together with her late beloved sister, Titi.
Thereafter, circumstances and fate intervened and transformed Miko from a successful stylist to a style innovator and tastemaker. Miko and Titi revolutionized and revitalized the entire hair care market by being the first to develop original and groundbreaking hair products designed to enhance and enrich every type of textured curly hair for people of every ethnic background. They named the product line after their do it yourself and fiercely independent paternal grandmother – Miss Jessie. Miko’s finger print is evident in every aspect of the Miss Jessie’s brand from the packaging and marketing to the colors and smells of the award winning products, including favorites like Baby Buttercreme, Pillow Soft Curls, Curly Pudding, Quick Curl and newest addition Leave in Condish and Multi Cultural Curls.
Although success ultimately came, it did not come as a total surprise. Growing up, Miko was the go to gal for all of her friends and family for all their hair care needs. Miss Jessie’s is merely an extension of what Miko does best – teaching the techniques, spreading the knowledge, and demonstrating the benefits of caring for textured and naturally curly hair. Miko continues to develop innovative, original and effective solutions for curly hair needs and she has acquired numerous accolades as a result of her remarkable tenacity.
18. Cyril Takayama, Japanese father and Moroccan French mother
Cyril Takayama (born September 27, 1973) is an American-Japanese magician of Japanese, and Moroccan French descent. He is best known for his magic performances around Japan.
Cyril Takayama was born and raised in Hollywood, California. His father is Japanese from the Okinawa prefecture, while his mother is French of Moroccan descent, both of whom were beauticians. Cyril Takayama had an eventful yet troubled upbringing. He dropped out of school at the age of 16. Cyril’s father, upset at his behavioral problems, sent him to Japan. While traveling he got off the plane during a stopover in Tokyo and never got back on. Cyril wound up hustling on the streets of Shinjuku, and at times had so little money that he could only afford one meal a day. He attempted to contact Japanese magic circles though they viewed him as an outsider. At the age of 17, Cyril met a rich Japanese businessman who saw his talent and employed him to work in his hotel paying him for each short performances 4 to 5 days a week. For two years Cyril performed as a magician for weddings and parties. Within 2 months Cyril created his own stage magic show. His sponsor impressed at Cyril’s progress, sent Cyril to magic assemblies and competitions. In 1991, Cyril’s dedication began to pay off. He was awarded a top prize by magic’s international governing body, the International Federation of Magic Societies. He repeated this top prize performance in 1994 as well. In 1992, he joined the International Brotherhood of Magicians. In 2001, he and his partner Jane won the Golden Lion Award at Siegfried and Roy’s World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas. In 2007, he won first place in The Magic Woods Awards, Best Magician Category. Since 2005, Cyril has been steadily increasing in popularity in Japan as well as on the internet (official Cyril website) where he has been dubbed Magic’s first cyber celebrity. He has also performed magic on many Japanese and Asian television shows.
19. Michael Takahashi, African American father and Japanese mother
Michael Takahashi (高橋 マイケル Takahashi Michael, born September 5, 1974) formerly Michael Dorsey, sometimes called Maikeru Takahashi is a Japanese professional basketball player. He was considered in the mid-90’s to early 2000’s one of the best basketball players in Asia, a prolific scorer and rebounder, dominating the opposition through his athleticism and technique.
He was born in Tokyo to Ikuko Takahashi, a Japanese woman and American musician Willie Dorsey who died sometime before 1995. Michael moved to the United States when he was 2 years old, settling in Los Angeles where he played basketball in high school. After playing basketball in college for Cal State Northridge, he moved to Japan. Upon arriving in Japan, he adopted his mother’s surname of Takahashi in order to better integrate in Japan. He joined Isuzu Motors of the Japan Basketball League for the 1995-1996 season and quickly established himself in Japanese basketball, winning the league title and being awarded rookie of the year and the first of many All-Star designations. From then on he would be a vital element of the team that won all but two titles until it withdrew from the league due to financial difficulties in 2002. He would later repeat that success at Toyota Alvark where he won the title a further three times before joining his current team the Aisin Seahorses. As a Japanese citizen, he has played for the Japanese national basketball team from 1995 to 2003.
20. Yvonne Kanazawa Scott, Jamaican American father and Japanese mother
Yvonne Kanazawa Scott (金沢 イボンヌ Kanazawa Ibonnu, born 19 November 1974) is a retired Japanese athlete who specialised in the high hurdles. She represented Japan at two consecutive Summer Olympics starting in 1996. She was born in Shinjuku, Tokyo to a Japanese mother and a Jamaican-American father and she grew up in Sacramento.
She has personal bests of 13.00 seconds in the 100 metres hurdles (2000) and 8.12 seconds in the indoor 60 metres hurdles (1999). Both are current national records. She is the head coach for sprints, hurdles and relays for the UNLV Rebels at the University of Las Vegas.
21. Mitzi Uehara Carter, African American father and Japanese Okinawan mother
Mitzi Uehara Carter is a PhD candidate in the Anthropology department at Berkeley (expected 2015) and a blogger at Grits and Sushi, which discusses her musings on Okinawa, race, militarization, and blackness. Her blog has many interesting topics and contains several items related to her PhD research and studies.
Mitzi describes her goal for her blog:
“My long-term goal for this little corner of cyberspace is to create a communal place for folks interested in similar issues, to have serious and also lighthearted dialog. I hope this space will be fruitful for a different kind of knowledge. It is more than a placeholder for my thoughts I will rework into my dissertation. This is a digital dissertation in the making with tags, comments, links, head nodding, and disagreements. I will try to speak plainly but forgive me if I use some theoretical jargon. Feel free to ask me to elaborate on anything that is muddled. It’ll help me in my own writing later so you’ll be doing me a favor too. Because this is such a personal space for me, I will remain the only contributor in terms of making posts but absolutely encourage dialog through the comment sections. This may change later and I once I get my grounding here, will open it up a bit more.”
22. Kimora Lee Simmons, African American father and Japanese mother
Kimora Lee Simmons (née Perkins; born May 4, 1975) is an American former fashion model and current fashion industry top executive. She took over Baby Phat after Russell Simmons moved on and was CEO/Creative Director there through 2010. In 2011, she was hired as President/Creative Director for JustFab.
Simmons was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother, Joanne “Kyoko” Perkins, was born in Korea and adopted by an American serviceman during the Korean War and raised in the USA. Kimora and her mother have publicly stated that Joanne is full Japanese and she now goes by Kyoko, but several sources suggest that her mother may be either full Korean or half Japanese / half Korean. Kimora’s father, Vernon Whitlock Jr., is African American, and worked as a Federal Marshall, an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigator, a bail bondsman, and later became a barber in St. Louis. Her parents split up and she was raised by her mother.
Through her modeling, acting, fashion executive career, and marriages, Kimora is now ranked number 5 on the Top 10 Worldwide Richest Blasians list.
23. Merle Dandridge, African American father and Japanese mother
Merle Dandridge is an American actress who was born in Okinawa, Japan. Dandridge is primarily a stage actress, but has also had several roles in television. She has gained a wider audience as the voice of Alyx Vance in the award-winning action game Half-Life 2 and its sequels, Episode One and Episode Two.
Her father was an African-American US serviceman from Memphis and her mother was a local Okinawan of Korean and Japanese descent. Dandridge has also lived in Sacramento, California, at Beale Air Force Base, and later at Offutt Air Force Base (home to the then-Strategic Air Command) in Bellevue, Nebraska, where she spent the majority of her childhood. She participated in the play production class and theater department in high school. She then attended the Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University (currently called the Chicago College of Performing Arts) with a scholarship that she earned at the International Thespian Festival and she has performed in numerous plays in the Chicago area.
24. Chad Morton, African American father and Japanese mother
Chad Akio Morton (born April 4, 1977 in Torrance, California, the younger brother of Johnnie Morton) is a former American football running back and kick/punt returner in the National Football League. He was drafted from USC late in the fifth round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. After a standout rookie year with the Saints, Morton played five more years between stints with the New York Jets, the Washington Redskins, and the New York Giants. Morton was part of the Green Bay Packers coaching staff during the Packers’ 2010-’11 championship year. He is currently on the Seattle Seahawks’ coaching staff as a special teams assistant.
25. Kevin Campbell, African American father and Japanese mother
Kevin Campbell was a HouseGuest on “Big Brother” season 11. Kevin was a member of the Off-Beat clique and was the respective Off-Beat representative at the Final 4. Kevin was the tenth and final houseguest evicted from the season, placing third and becoming the sixth member of the jury.
Kevin Campbell was born on September 18, 1979. He is a graphic designer and reporter from Chula Vista, California. He is openly gay. He is characterized by his flamboyant personality and his racial composition (he is of Japanese and African-American descent), he refers to his race as “Blasian”. He was a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses but was excommunicated at age 21. He has been in a relationship with his partner for nine years.
26. Bryan Clay, African American father and Japanese mother
Bryan Ezra Tsumoru Clay (born January 3, 1980) is an American decathlete. He was the 2008 Summer Olympic gold medal decathlon champion, the 2004 summer Olympic silver medal decathlon winner, and the 2005 World Championship gold medal decathlon champion. Bryan is among the very few decathletes to hold two Olympic medals.
Clay was born in Austin, Texas and raised in Hawaii. He is Afro-Asian. His mother, Michele Ishimoto, was a Japanese immigrant to America. His father, Greg Clay, was African American. His parents divorced when he was in elementary school and he was raised primarily by his mother. In the World Indoor Championships, Clay also holds two gold medals and two silver medals for the heptathlon. Clay also addressed the 2008 Republican National Convention.
27. Joe Oliver III, African American father and Japanese mother
Joe Oliver the 3rd is the first Black Japanese model to be regularly featured in the Japanese fashion industry. Joe’s father, who was US military went back to the US, while Joe and his Japanese mother stayed in Japan where Joe had a very difficult childhood regularly be bullied by Japanese kids and adults because of his mixed ancestry. Joe’s mother started sending out over 2,000 photos of Joe to modeling agencies until one agency finally backed Joe as a model based on the attached picture. Unfortunately, Joe’s mother passed before he achieved his modeling success, but she sacrificed everything to make sure that he had the best chance possible to succeed. We are very proud of Joe and his mother for all of Joe’s success! See more about Joe’s story in these videos – part 1 and part 2. Many blessings!
28. Judith Hill, African American father and Japanese mother
Judith Glory Hill (born January 1, 1984) is an American singer and songwriter born in Los Angeles, California. Her voice is “distinctive, soulful and has an earthy quality that makes it unique”. She has provided backing vocals for such artists as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Josh Groban. In 2009, Hill was chosen as Jackson’s duet partner for the song “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” during his This Is It concert tour. After Jackson’s death in 2009, she, along with the rest of the This Is It cast members, performed at Jackson’s memorial service and attracted global attention when she sang the lead on the song “Heal the World”. Hill’s rise to fame is briefly recounted in “20 Feet From Stardom“, a documentary film that tells the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the “greatest musical legends of the 21st century”. She is also a featured artist on the film’s soundtrack. She won the Grammy Award for Best Music Film for her performance in this film.
A number of Hill’s original ballads, including “Desperation” were featured in the 2012 Spike Lee film Red Hook Summer. In March of 2013, Hill became a contestant during the fourth season of The Voice. Her elimination during the Top 8 show was considered one of the most shocking of the show. Hill opened for Josh Groban during the third leg of his All That Echoes World Tour (North America) in Fall 2013. She also performed two duets with him in his set for “The Prayer” and “Remember When It Rained”, the latter of which was released as a single. She also toured with John Legend on the UK leg of his All Of Me tour in the Fall of 2014. She signed with Sony Music in 2015.
Her debut album “Back in Time” recorded at Paisley Park, with Prince as producer, was officially released as a free download on Judith Hill’s WeTransfer account on March 23 and made available till March 25, 2015, via a Livenation email with a personalized note from Prince. Hill’s mother is a pianist from Tokyo who met Hill’s father in a funk band in the 1970s. Judith is of Japanese and African American descent. Judith can speak English and Japanese and also sings in both languages. Judith can also speak Spanish and French. After a degree in music composition from Biola University, Hill went to France in 2007 to perform with the French singer Michel Polnareff. She began a career as a singer-songwriter when she returned to the United States.
29. Mal Hall, African American father and Japanese mother
Mal Hall is a comedian from San Diego, the oldest of four, and a pizza lover. Mal makes his home in Los Angeles and is currently one of the brightest up and coming comedians in the country. He has quickly evolved into a popular and successful college act, performing at hundreds of campuses across the country. Mal’s conversational style, keen observations and cool delivery have proven to be greatly appreciated and well received by his audiences, both young and old. Mal is a regular feature act for national headliners Alonzo Bodden and Anjelah Johnson, and can be found with them at clubs and theatres all across the country. A finalist of NBC’s Standup For Diversity Showcase in 2009, Mal was a popular member of their nationwide college tour in 2010. In 2012 Mal shot his first television project for FuseTV as a correspondent on the hilarious clip show OffBeat. Mal can be seen on a monthly basis at his self-produced comedy show in San Diego called Mal Hall present The Gaslamp Comedy Show at The Tipsy Crow.
30. Amelian Kashiro Hamilton, African American father and Japanese mother
Amelian Kashiro Hamilton is a wardrobe stylist & artist and based in Los Angeles, CA. Her perspective is rooted by her keen ability to curate a vision of the future through the items of the past. A meticulous thrifter with a strong sense of fashion and design history, her personal and professional work reflects a varied visual passion. The diversity of her own experiences and relationships aptly lends her eye to a wide-range of styling work. An Alaskan native with a Japanese mother from Tokyo and an African American father from Oakland, California, she has long embraced both the distinctions and intersections present within her global identity.
Amelian’s cross-cultural pursuit of style is rooted in the skills of her seamstress mother, who is now a successful manager of tailoring for Tom Ford. She endowed her daughter with knowledge of fabric quality, garment construction and fine tailoring as a youth. This expanded her interests in style as her mother, Yoko, showed her how to make and alter anything from the thrift or clearance rack as an ingenious way to stay on trend. Her father Leonard, exposed her to his eclectic sense of style, sporting athletic wear such as Oakland Athletics jerseys to batik prints he acquired from trips to Zaire now the Republic of Congo. Her admiration of his distressed work wear he wore with pride – Carhartt coats and pants with various paint stains, Levi’s denim with wear and tear resonates in her love for flawed pieces.
Unlike some who wear the title wardrobe stylist in name only, Amelian is a serious worldwide stylist and has styled such names as Jason Kennedy and Catt Sadler of E! News, Keri Hilson on her European tour, and French songstress Soko on her Japanese magazine shoot. She has also styled on big projects for major entertainment names such as Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios. Check out her style at ameliankashiro.com.
31. David Yano, Japanese father and Ghanaian mother
David’s story is chronicled in the 2013 movie “Hafu: The Mixed-Race Experience in Japan“. David is a Ghanaian and Japanese hafu. David was born in a small village in Ghana, to a Ghanaian mother and a Japanese father. His father, an architect, was in Ghana to build the Noguchi Hideo Memorial when he met David’s mother. After spending 6 years in Ghana, they moved to Tokyo. However due to difficulty of adjusting to their new life in Japan, his parents filed for divorce when he was 10. The next 8 years were spent in an orphanage school in Japan with his two brothers. There he discovered his greatest passion: music and performance. He started modeling when he was a university student and now works as a multi-talented TV presenter. Due to his dark complexion, in Japan David is regarded by default as a gaijin (foreigner) when people meet him for the first time. However, having spent much of his life in Japan, he feels he acts and identifies as Japanese more than anything else. David has also returned to Ghana once a year since the age of 20. Seeing the dramatic difference between the two countries, David felt the call to use his talents to benefit the people of Ghana. Among other projects, he has worked on building a kindergarten back in Ghana.
32. Thelma Aoyoma, Afro Trinidadian father and Japanese mother
Thelma Aoyama (青山 テルマ Aoyama Teruma), born October 27, 1987 in Nara, Japan, is a Japanese pop and R&B singer. She is Afro-Trinidadian and Japanese. She is probably best known for her collaboration song with SoulJa, “Koko ni Iru yo”, and her answer song “Soba ni Iru ne”. In September 2008, the Guinness World Records certified that “Soba ni Iru ne” became the best-selling digital download single in Japan with over two million “full-track” downloads.
Aoyoma has grown up both in Japan and the US, but has now settled in Tokyo. Aoyama’s first release in the music world was a collaboration on DS455’s single “Summer Paradise: Risin’ To Tha Sun, feat. Aoyama Thelma”. The single reached #46 on the Oricon charts. On September 9, 2007, Aoyama made her solo debut with the single “One Way”. This single debuted at #98 on the Oricon charts. Two weeks later, Aoyama was featured on the hit single “Koko ni Iru yo” with fellow J-Soul artist SoulJa. The single stayed on the charts for many weeks. Despite only reaching up to #6 on the charts, the single has sold over 100,000 copies. In early 2008, Aoyama released an answer song to the single “Koko ni Iru yo” by SoulJa with her own single titled: “Soba ni Iru ne” which also featured SoulJa. Both of the songs are similar, and both share the same chorus. However, the song “Soba ni Iru ne” proved to be more popular than the song “Koko ni Iru yo”, debuting at #3 in its first week on the Oricon charts, and in its second week, reaching #1 on the charts. “Soba ni Iru ne” stayed in the Top 5 ranking for 7 consecutive weeks. It became the highest-selling female single (strictly a duet song) on the Oricon 2008 yearly charts. Her debut album, Diary, was released in Japan on March 26, 2008.
33. Osama Elsamni, Egyptian father and Japanese mother
Osama Elsamni (Japanese: エルサムニー・オサマ Erusamunī Osama, Arabic: أسامة السمني) (born 29 September 1988) is an Egyptian-Japanese footballer who plays as a striker for YSCC Yokohama. During his youth career, Osama was the top scorer at the Japanese Youth Championship. His performance attracted attention from teams around the world and after several team try outs, he signed with the Czech FK Teplice. By the end of 2009–2010 season, Elsamni had scored 8 goals for FK Teplice B, and 1 goal for FK Teplice first team. In 2011, he joined the Japanese Montedio Yamagata and in 2012, he joined his current team, the Japan Football League YSCC Yokohama.
34. Marie Nakagawa, Senegalese French father and Japanese mother
Marie Nakagawa represented Japan in the modeling competition “Asia’s Next Top Model” season 2. After coming in first place in 3 of the episodes, she was eliminated in the second to last episode which put her in 4th place out of the 16 Asian competitors. This shocked many viewers who expected her to at least be in the top 3 based on her strong performance throughout the entire competition.
Although Nakagawa was born and raised in the big city of Tokyo, she has often been mistaken for a non-Japanese due to her mixed heritage from her Japanese mother and Senegalese – French father. As a result of her skin color, Marie was often bullied by her peers during much of her childhood with many terrible and traumatic experiences but through the Asia’s Next Top Model experience, she hopes that the world now sees how glad she is to be a Japanese and that Japan is proud of her.
35. Aska Cambridge, Jamaican father and Japanese mother
Asuka Antonio “Aska” Cambridge (ケンブリッジ 飛鳥), born May 31, 1993 is a Japanese sprinter who competes in the 100 metres and 200 metres. His personal best for 100m of 10.10 seconds is Japan’s 9th fastest time. He is a two-time East Asian Games gold medallist, and a silver medalist at the 2016 Olympics. Cambridge won a silver medal in the 4×100 m relay for Japan at the 2016 Summer Olympics by setting a new Asian record of 37.60 seconds along with teammates His father is Jamaican and his mother is Japanese. His given name Asuka generally signifies “flying bird” in the Japanese language, and has also been a city name and period name in Ancient Japan.
36. Musashi Suzuki, Jamaican father and Japanese mother
Musashi Suzuki (鈴木 武蔵 Suzuki Musashi), born 11 February 1994, is a Japanese footballer who plays for the J1 League team Albirex Niigata. He is a striker who is usually deployed on the left wing as a wide forward to exploit his speed. His father is Jamaican and his mother is Japanese. He was born in Jamaica but grew up in Ōta, Japan.
After playing for his school football club, in the 2011 season, the team advanced to the All Japan High School Soccer Tournament. Suzuki was also a member of the U-17 Japanese National Team for the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup hosted by Mexico. After graduating High School in 2012, Suzuki signed full professional terms with Albirex Niigata. On 4 April 2012, Suzuki made his first team debut against Shimizu S-Pulse in the J. League Cup as a 46th-minute substitute. He also came on again in the League Cup as a substitute as Albirex went on to win the match 4–3 against Omiya Ardija, where he scored his first goal.
37. Ariana Miyamoto, African American father and Japanese mother
Ariana Miyamoto (宮本 エリアナ 磨美子 Miyamoto Eriana Mamiko) born 12 May 1994 in Sasebo, Nagasaki, is a Japanese beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss Japan 2015. She will represent Japan at the Miss Universe 2015 pageant. While the international beauty pageant community has applauded Japan for a bold and progressive choice with Miyamoto, some Japanese have been critical of having a mixed-race woman represent Japan. Some beauty pageant experts have predicted that Miyamoto could place in the top 5 at Miss Universe if she receives proper training. Miyamoto is the first mixed-race woman to be named Miss Japan.
Miyamoto was born to a Japanese mother and an African American father. After attending elementary school in Japan, she moved to the United States and attended high school there and also worked as a bartender. After high school, she returned to Japan to begin her modeling career. See more about Miyamoto at this prior post.
38. Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence, African American father and Japanese mother
Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence, a 2016 class Harvard undergraduate student, is the writer and director of the play “I, Too, Am Harvard”, which has gained national attention for illustrating the personal experiences of Black students at Harvard. Matsuda-Lawrence, created the multimedia project and campaign as an independent study project (under the direction of Professor Glenda Carpio during the fall of 2013) that interviewed minority students about their experiences at Harvard. They reported feelings of alienation about the Harvard campus, being the lone black student in some classes, or feeling uncomfortable about comments and social interactions with other students on campus. The student’s comments were kept anonymous and Matsuda-Lawrence used them to write a play. To promote the play, she assembled a group of students to help create the multimedia project that appears on Tumblr at itooamharvard.tumblr.com. The Tumblr project consists of photos taken of students holding signs with racially insensitive and offensive remarks by peers and/or responses they would like to make.
Many of the images in the “I, Too, Am Harvard” photo project have gone viral, sparking similar discussions across other college campuses in the US and around the world, including Yale University, Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, McGill University, University of Oxford. and University of Sydney.
39. Naomi Osaka, Haitian father and Japanese mother
Naomi Osaka (Japanese: 大坂 なおみ) born 16 October 1997 in Osaka, Japan, is a Haitian-Japanese tennis player. She is an up and coming professional women’s tennis player who turned pro in 2012 at the age of 15 and won the 2018 US Open! Naomi has a career-high Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) ranking of No. 4 in the world, which she achieved in October 2018. She has won two titles and reached four finals on the WTA Tour. Keep an eye out for Naomi Osaka! See more about Naomi at this prior post.
40. Julian Jrummi Walsh, Jamaican father and Japanese mother
Julian Jrummi Walsh, born September 18, 1996 in Kingston, Jamaica, is a Japanese sprinter. He is the son of a Jamaican reggae drummer, who married a Japanese woman and has lived in Japan for almost 20 years. Walsh moved to Japan as a toddler and grew up in Higashimurayama. He led off the Japanese silver medal winning relay team at the 2014 World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon. He participated in the 2016 Olympic in the 400 meters and the 4×400 meter relay for Japan.
41. Rui Hachimura, Beninese father and Japanese mother
Rui Hachimura (八村 塁 Hachimura Rui) born February 8, 1998 currently plays basketball for the Gonzaga University Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I. Listed at 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) and 230 lbs (104 kg), he plays both the small forward and power forward positions. He averages over 22 points a game is considered one of the top prospects for the 2019 NBA draft. Born in the Toyama Prefecture, Hachimura achieved success at the youth level in Japan, leading Mesei High School to three straight All-Japan High School Tournament titles and being a top player for the Japanese under-17 and under-19 national teams in FIBA international basketball competition. He joined Gonzaga in 2016 as the fifth Japanese-born men’s NCAA Division I player ever and in 2017 became the first Japanese native to play in the NCAA Division I men’s tournament. If he joins the NBA, he would be only the 3rd Japanese born NBA player.
42. Abdul Hakim Sani Brown, Ghanaian father and Japanese mother
Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (サニブラウン・アブデル・ハキーム Saniburaun Abuderu Hakīmu), born March 6, 1999 is a Japanese sprinter. Sani Brown has a Ghanaian father and a Japanese mother. Sani Brown currently is most known for winning the 100 meter dash and 200 meter dash at the 2015 World Youth Championships held in Colombia. In the 100 meter dash, he set the championship record of 10.28 seconds in the final, and in the 200 meter dash, he set the championship record of 20.34 seconds, breaking the previous record set by Usain Bolt. A thigh injury left him unable to compete in the 2016 Olympics, but keep an eye out for him!