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Asian American, Pacific Islander & Native Hawaiian Heritage Month

May is Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian (AAPINH) Heritage Month. Every year, this is an opportunity to listen and learn about the diversity within AAPI communities as well as how deep the connections are to all facets of American history.

Collage of diverse human activities: two men talking, a woman's portrait, elderly women at an event, protesters holding signs, a traditional dance, and a man speaking passionately.

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian (AAPINH) Heritage Month. Every year, this is an opportunity to listen and learn about the diversity within AAPI communities as well as how deep the connections are to all facets of American history.

Programs and Specials

American Masters "Nam June Paik: Moon Is the Oldest TV"

See the world through the eyes of Nam June Paik, the father of video art and coiner of the term “electronic superhighway.” Born in Japan-occupied Korea, Paik went on to become a pillar of the American avant-garde and transformed modern image-making with his sculptures, films and performances. Experience his creative evolution, as Academy Award nominee Steven Yeun reads from Paik's own writings.

Betrayed: Surviving an American Concentration Camp

Discover the story of a group of Japanese Americans and their incarceration by the U.S. government during World War II. Through the compelling voices of survivors of Minidoka, a concentration camp in the Idaho desert, Betrayed tells a universal story about unjust internment and the loss of civil rights.

American Experience "Plague at the Golden Gate"

Discover how an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1900 set off fear and anti-Asian sentiment in San Francisco. This new documentary tells the gripping story of the race against time by health officials to save the city from the deadly disease.

American Masters "Becoming Yamazushi"

In 1986, a small Japanese restaurant opened its doors and became the first of its kind in Durham, North Carolina. Years later, Yamazushi, operated by George and Mayumi Yamazawa, transformed into an experience that many would say is the first of its kind in the American South. Hip hop artist G Yamazawa reveals the essence of his family’s story and the art of being unapologetically authentic.

Fanny: The Right to Rock

Co-founded by Filipina American and queer teenagers, Fanny is the first all women band to release an album with a major record label (Warner/Reprise, 1970). Revered by David Bowie, meet the most groundbreaking rock group you've never heard of... yet.

Waterman – Duke: Ambassador of Aloha

Narrated by Jason Momoa, discover the inspiring story and considerable impact of five-time Olympic medalist Duke Kahanamoku. He shattered swimming records and globalized surfing while overcoming racism in a lifetime of personal challenges

POV "Liquor Store Dreams"

In Liquor Store Dreams, two Korean American children of liquor store owners reconcile their own dreams with those of their immigrant parents. Along the way, they confront the complex legacies of LA's racial landscape, including the 1991 murder of Latasha Harlins and the 1992 uprisings sparked by the police beating of Rodney King, while engaged in current struggles for social and economic justice.

Girl Talk: A Local, USA Special

Set in the cutthroat, male-dominated world of high school debate, GIRL TALK tells the compelling story of five girls on the diverse, top-ranked Massachusetts team at Newton South. Often talked over, underrepresented and judged differently than their male counterparts, each girl learns to navigate gender biases, reminding us that equal rights and freedom of expression are worth fighting for.

American Masters "Anik Khan: Street Level"

Filmmaker Sofian Khan explores the music of Anik Khan, the Bangladesh-born, Queens, NY-raised hip-hop artist whose music sketches the immigrant experience with rare poetic flare and incisive depth, with a whole masala of influences at his fingertips.

American Masters "Anna May Wong: The First Asian American Movie Star"

Anna May Wong, the first Asian American woman movie star, had a long and varied career spanning silent and sound film, stage, radio, and television, while resisting racism and typecasting in Hollywood, and the practice of having white actors in yellow face play the roles of Asian characters.

Viewfinder "Delano Manongs"

The story of farm labor organizer Larry Itliong and a group of Filipino farm workers who instigated one of the American farm labor movement’s finest hours – The Delano Grape Strike of 1965 that brought about the creation of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW).

New Mexico in Focus "Asian American Violence & UNMH Stroke Center"

Host Gene Grant talks with members of the local Asian American/Pacific Islander community about the rise in violent incidents here in New Mexico.

Film School Shorts: Prom

A blossoming romance between an Indian American teenager and his white date is derailed by racism. Adapted from a true story by Hasan Minhaj ('The Daily Show'). A film by Imran J. Khan.

The Ito Sisters

Explore the lives of three Nisei sisters from the Sacramento Delta, from their childhood on a farm in the Delta to their internment during WWII and beyond.

America ReFramed "Far East Deep South"

Charles Chiu and his family’s search for their roots takes them on an eye-opening journey through the Mississippi Delta, uncovering otherwise unknown stories and the racially complex history of Chinese immigrants in the segregated South. This Chinese American family’s unforgettable story offers a poignant and important perspective on race relations, immigration and American identity.

Great Performances "Lea Salonga in Concert"

Captured in peak performance with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga performs the beloved songs she made famous throughout her Broadway career, as well as her signature songs from the animated movie blockbusters “Aladdin” and “Mulan” from the Sydney Opera House.

No Passport Required "New Orleans"

Chef Marcus Samuelsson discovers how Vietnamese cuisine and culture have influenced the city in delicious ways. From pho to banh mi, he learns how young chefs are taking culinary traditions and translating them for a new, multicultural generation.

American Masters "Ethan Lim: Cambodian Futures"

This is Culinary Futurism. Filmmaker Dustin Nakao-Haider follows Chicago-based chef Ethan Lim as he creates vibrant dishes inspired by the rich, complex history of Cambodia. Drawing on his family’s culinary legacy of over half a century, Lim’s award-winning cooking imagines how Cambodian cuisine might have evolved had the civil war not paused its growth.

The Registry

This film breaks open the hidden history of the US Army's Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during World War II -- a story made possible because of a few aging Japanese American veterans with a little Internet savvy and a lot of determination.

Rogue History "The Obscure History of Japanese Sea Lords"

For 200 years, Japanese waters were ruled by self-proclaimed Sea Lords. They held immense political power and even helped integrate Japan into the early global economy. Despite this, medieval Japanese society labeled them “kaizoku,” or “pirates.” In this episode of Rogue History, we dive into the origins of Japan’s Sea Lords and explain how one family solidified their legacy.

Subcultured "How Did Anime Go From Geek to Cool?"

In this episode, join Josef as they visit AnimeNYC, an anime convention in New York City, to learn about the anime fandom, cosplay, and how the genre suddenly became so cool. We're also joined by the team behind @Beyond The Bot, a group of friends that love anime and make videos about it on their own YouTube channel. How did anime become so popular?

Great Performances "Now Hear This 'Andy Akiho Found (his) Sound'"

Experience the creation of music from this Japanese American composer with host Scott Yoo using “found” instruments. To develop a music video, the two visit New York City and explore the creative process with an interactive light show and more.

POV "Standing Above the Clouds"

Standing Above the Clouds follows Native Hawaiian mother-daughter activists as they stand to protect their sacred mountain Mauna Kea from the building of the world’s largest telescope.

Independent Lens "Hidden Letters"

The bonds of sisterhood, and the parallels of struggles among generations of women in China, are drawn together by the once-secret written language of Nüshu, the only script designed and used exclusively by women.

Historian's Take "What Is The Asian Himbo And Why Is This Character So Popular"

There’s a new type of character in Hollywood: The Asian Himbo. These hunky male characters who are sweet but not the brightest bulbs have come a long way from stereotypes that date all the way back to the 1800s. We break down how Hollywood’s least sexy character went from completely undesirable to leading love interest.

American Masters "Queen Lili‘uokalani - The First and Last Queen of Hawai‘i"

Queen Lili‘uokalani (1838-1917) was the first sovereign queen, and the last monarch of Hawai‘i, who assumed the throne in the midst of a government takeover by American business owners supported by the U.S. military. After being deposed and placed under house arrest, she fought to preserve native Hawaiian rights and traditions.

FRONTLINE "A Thousand Cuts"

With press freedom under threat in the Philippines, "A Thousand Cuts" goes inside the escalating war between the press and the government. The documentary follows Maria Ressa, a renowned journalist who has become a top target of President Duterte's crackdown on the news media.

Local, USA "A Tale of Three Chinatowns"

A TALE OF THREE CHINATOWNS explores the survival of urban ethnic neighborhoods in three American cities: Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Boston. Through the voices of residents, community activists, developers, and government officials, the film looks at the forces altering each community and the challenges that go with them, including the pressing issue of urban development and gentrification.

American Masters "Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir"

The story of the author whose first novel, “The Joy Luck Club,” was published to great commercial and critical success. With the blockbuster film adaption that followed as well as additional best-selling novels, librettos, short stories and memoirs, Tan firmly established herself as one of the most prominent and respected American literary voices working today.

America ReFramed "Curtain Up!"

In New York City's Chinatown, the theater club of PS 124 is staging an adaptation of the film "Frozen.” As the 5th graders gear up and rehearse for the musical production, nervous excitement and flubbed lines brush up against cultural stereotypes, family expectations, and post-graduation uncertainties. CURTAIN UP! shares a kid’s-eye view of the wonders of discovering art, culture and identity.

Origin of Everything "Why Do We Say 'Asian American' Not 'Oriental'?"

The word Oriental is hundred of years old, so why do Americans no longer use the word “Oriental”? And how did the word “Asian American” take its place? Watch this week’s Origin of Everything to find out.

American Masters "Tyrus"

Until his death at the age of 106, Tyrus Wong was America’s oldest living Chinese American artist and one of the last remaining artists from the golden age of Disney animation. The quiet beauty of his Eastern-influenced paintings had a pioneering impact on American art and popular culture.

Rising Against Asian Hate: One Day in March

Explore the fight against Asian American hate following the March 2021 mass shootings at three spas in Atlanta. Examine how this critical moment of racial reckoning sheds light on the struggles, triumphs and achievements of AAPI communities. The film is narrated by Sandra Oh with music by Jon Batiste and Cory Wong.

Rogue History "Anne Bonny to Zheng Yi Sao: The Notorious Women of Piracy"

Why is the woman pirate Zheng Yi Sao not as well known as the male pirate Blackbeard? Zheng Yi Sao had a fleet of 1,200 ships at the height of her powers whereas Blackbeard had just four or five. Join us as we explore the incredible and unsung stories of history’s most notorious women pirates.

Stories From The Stage "Growing Up Asian"

Every day, millions of people are creating their own definitions of what it means to be Asian American. Suzanne works with a parents association to organize during Boston's busing desegregation crisis and gains strength from the women; David travels to China for the first time to connect with his roots; and after being held at gunpoint in her family’s store, Eson learns the definition of love.

Reel South "The Space Between You & Me"

A Korean-American filmmaker from Alabama explores the complexities of international adoption through the stories of her birth mother and another adoptee in New York. ‘The Space Between You and Me’ is an effort to reclaim a stolen identity while searching for belonging between the worlds of the Jewish South, the Korean-American diaspora, and a fraught legacy of Korean adoption programs.

Sound Field "Why K-Pop Is More Complex Than You Think"

K-Pop has become a global phenomenon. While K-Pop may seem like traditional pop music, it's actually more complex. It borrows from a variety of genres like R&B, EDM, and Hip-Hop while maintaining it's own distinct sound. Nahre Sol investigates why K-Pop is different from other styles of Pop music, speaks to K-Pop producer and songwriter David Amber and attempts to create her own K-Pop track.

If Cities Could Dance "How Hula Dancers Connect Hawaii's Past and Present"

For Native Hawaiians, the origins of hula are deeply spiritual and rooted in Hawaii’s creation stories and the history and culture of their kūpuna or ancestors. Many sacred dances have been passed down through centuries of kumu hula, or hula instructors, like Honolulu’s Snowbird Puananiopaokalani Bento, who trained decades to master the language, choreography and protocols.

Historian's Take "Why Was Everybody Kung Fu Fighting In The 70s?"

Black Kung Fu films were wildly popular in the 70s, a welcome response to the anger many people felt against societal injustice. What was happening in the 70s that led to the growth of Black films and the popularity of Hong Kong Kung Fu flicks? In this episode, we unpack the history of how Black Kung Fu films became a sensation and why their themes are making are making a return today.

American Masters "Maia Cruz Palileo: Becoming the Moon"

Filmmaker Ligaiya Romero amplifies the life and work of Maia Cruz Palileo, the multi-disciplinary, Brooklyn-based artist who explores themes of migration and the permeable concept of home in their works, inspired by the oral history of their family’s arrival in the United States from the Philippines.

Above the Noise "Should More Anti-Asian Violence Be Sentenced As Hate Crimes?"

Since the pandemic began, violence against Asian-Americans has skyrocketed. Anti-Asian hate crimes grew nearly 150% in major U.S. cities and those numbers are probably underreported as many folks don’t report what happened to the police. We teamed up with PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs to explore why it's so hard to get racist violence charged as hate crimes.

American Masters "Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio: This Is the Way We Rise"

Filmmaker Ciara Lacy documents Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, a Kanaka Maoli wahine poet, activist and academic, and her continued work towards justice for Hawaii’s native population.

POV "Delikado"

Palawan is a tropical island paradise and one of Asia's tourist hotspots. But for a tiny network of environmental crusaders struggling to protect its spectacular forests and seas, it is a battlefield. Delikado follows three land defenders as they brave violence, death threats and murder while trying to stop politicians and businessmen from destroying the Philippines’ last ecological frontier.

American Experience "The Cancer Detectives"

The Cancer Detectives tells the untold story of the first-ever war on cancer and the coalition of people who fought tirelessly to save women from cervical cancer: a Greek immigrant, Dr. George Papanicolaou; his intrepid wife, Mary; Japanese-born artist Hashime Murayama; Dr. Helen Dickens, an African American OBGYN in Philadelphia; and an entirely new class of female scientists.

A People's History "Are You “AAPI” or “Asian American”? It's Complicated."

How many A’s in AAPI? Dolly & Adrian hear from South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander voices to explore the pros and cons of disaggregating Asian American as a statistical category.

The Race Epidemic

The Race Epidemic is about another outbreak caused by Covid-19 – An epidemic of racism against Asian Americans. With a politicized pandemic sweeping through the country and a president calling it the Chinese Virus, the rise of attacks and hate against Asian Americans is not surprising.

POV "Wisdom Gone Wild"

A vibrant tender cine-poem, a filmmaker collaborates with her Nisei mother as they confront the painful curious reality of wisdom ‘gone wild’ in the shadows of dementia. Made over 16 years, the film blends humor and sadness in an encounter between mother and daughter that blooms into an affectionate portrait of love, care, and a relationship transformed.

Popular Series

Asian Americans

Asian Americans is a five-hour film series that will chronicle the contributions, and challenges of Asian Americans, the fastest-growing ethnic group in America. Personal histories and new academic research will cast a fresh lens on U.S. history and the role Asian Americans have played in it.

Family Ingredients

Get an introduction to interesting people and riveting stories linked by a family recipe, starting from a base in Hawaii to locations such as Japan and Puerto Rico. Find the rich and sometimes surprising connections to a treasured family dish.

Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders: A Philadelphia Story

Explore the local history and unique experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Asian American Stories of Resilience

While Asian Americans have faced a double pandemic of COVID-19 and anti-Asian racism, the rise of solidarity efforts within Asian American and other BIPOC communities gives us moments of joy, resilience, and hope as we rebuild our lives. The series of seven documentary shorts move beyond the pandemic and reflect the complexities of Asian American experiences in this critical moment.


Chef Yia Vang takes us inside chef's kitchens as they serve up stories of cultural heritage through the universal language of food.

Pacific Heartbeat

Pacific Heartbeat is a national public television series of critically acclaimed documentaries that provides an authentic glimpse into the Pacific Islander experience. Creative and beautifully told stories about arts, culture and intimate human stories, the series features a diverse array of programs intended to draw viewers into the heart and soul of Pacific Island culture.

The Story of China

Travel from the Silk Road to the Yellow Sea with host Michael Wood as he explores the history of the world’s newest superpower. A thrilling and moving epic of the world’s oldest continuous state with the landscapes, peoples, and stories that made today’s China.

be/longing: Asian Americans Now

When misinformation about the coronavirus led to a spike in violence against Asian Americans, it also drew attention to a painful reality. Even when born and raised here, Asian Americans often are treated as perpetual foreigners. What does it mean to belong? Exploring Hate profiles Asian American trailblazers from across the US in five stories about standing up, speaking out, and confronting hate.