Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

The Legend of Poison Jim, the Mustard King

In the Museum of Chinese in America, two blocks north of Canal Street in New York City, a small, illuminated tile informs visitors that “sometime before 1865,” a Chinese American squirrel trapper known as “Poison Jim” found the mustard plant “growing weedlike in the Salinas Valley.” By selling the seeds, he “unintentionally turn[ed] mustard into a commercial crop” in the United States. A textbook published in 2010 repeats the story, with Poison Jim making and selling mustard until it “became a major California product.”

“Poison Jim Chinaman” was first documented by the little-known writer Owen Clarke Treleaven, who published a six-page story about him in a 1919 [...]


Life After Koh Masaki

Koh Masaki was Japan's foremost gay porn star when he died one month ago today. "It must have taken him a lot of courage to decide to live in Japan. I've realized that recently," Masaki said, about his partner, Tenten, a model and Chinese expatriate that he met on a train home from a Lady Gaga concert. They were talking to the photographer Keiichi Nitta for a recent video series profiling gay couples for Vice Japan. In the video, Masaki, soft-spoken and with a close-cropped beard circling his angular face, never talks explicitly about his work in adult film, but his many fans would have had no trouble recognizing [...]