Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Photo by Nancy Wong

Frank Abe has written the first review of Frank Chin's The Confessions of a Number One Son for The International Examiner. Founded in 1974, The International Examiner has long maintained a mission "to serve the Asian Pacific American communities by providing accurate, in-depth, timely, and sensitive coverage of local, regional, national, and international issues which affect us." It should be noted that Abe has special insight into Frank Chin's writing, as he was not only a founding member of Chin’s Asian American Theater Workshop in San Francisco, but he later worked with the author in creating the first Day of Remembrance in Seattle. Read below for a taste of Abe's review before jumping over to The International Examiner for the full story.

The emergence 40 years later of a tightly edited, slimmed-down version of a long-lost novel from the writer who first defined Asian American literature is an unexpected gift.

That’s because to read The Confessions of a Number One Son in 2015 is to peel back the decades and discover the creative foundation of the plays and later fiction of Frank Chin, in the moment before he became consumed with the polemics of separating the real from the fakery in the work of others.

In an early 1970s America where the postwar generation was just coming of age—where the world still celebrated the model minority, the Chinese Christian autobiographies of Betty Lee Sung and Pardee Lowe, and the movie stereotype of Charlie Chan—Frank Chin was putting a self-proclaimed Chinaman voice at the center of his stories. It was an act of self-invention he was perfecting in tandem with his better-known stage plays, The Chickencoop Chinaman and Year of the Dragon.

Read the full review here: http://www.iexaminer.org/2015/03/review-a-first-look-at-frank-chins-great-chinese-american-novel/

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Welcome (Back) to RONIN ON EMPTY!

Tony Leung Chiu-Wai in Wong Kar-Wai's 2046

Hi, welcome to Ronin on Empty, the home of my personal blog. In the early days, this was intended to be a site dedicated to Asian and Asian American pop culture, albeit with a heavy emphasis on cinema. Ronin on Empty was previously housed at LoveHKFilm.com, and after a long hiatus, it returned briefly to its original home on Blogger.com. I've retained the handful of reviews I wrote during that short period, but from this point forward, the blog will be much more free-form -- occasional news, reviews, musings, and much more -- especially since I now have some works of my own to share!

For those who might be curious, the title of this blog goes back to my college days. When I was an undergraduate at Oklahoma State University, I wrote a detective novel titled Ronin on Empty. Because of graduate school (among other things), I had to move on to other academic and creative projects, but the good news is that I will be revisiting the book this summer and may even attempt to convince someone to publish it! But for now, I'm more than happy to use it as the title of my blog (and Twitter handle!). So, that's the backstory...

Hope you enjoy Ronin on Empty!