By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent
A newspaper that has served the Japanese American community for more than 100 years is in danger of closing.
In an urgent letter to its readers, Rafu Shimpo announced it has lost $750,000 over three years. This year the deficit is projected to be $350,000.
“If the situation does not improve this year, The Rafu will be forced to close in December of this year,” states the letter to its readers.
“This would mean the end of a tradition that started in 1903, and would mark the extinction of Japanese American daily vernaculars in the United States.
“The staff and management of The Rafu are passionate about their work. We feel that the Japanese American community is stronger with an independent news publication. Every story is written with the belief that we make the community stronger by keeping it connected and informed.”
It has kicked off a subscription drive to pick up 10,000 new subscribers which would bring in approximately $500,000 in new revenue.
The possible closure of the paper is not an idle threat. In 2009, two Japanese American publications shut down in the same year. Hokubei Mainichi, a bilingual newspaper out of San Francisco closed shop as did the Nichi Bei Times. The daily would reemerge a short time later as the Nichi Bei Weekly. It would no longer publish in Japanese, but continued publishing in English.
In December, the monthly magazine KoreAm Journal printed its final edition. It joined a long line of Asian American publications that have shuttered including Asian Week, San Francisco Journal, East West, Yolk, and A. Magazine.
Rafu Shimpo has been able to survive with help from the Komai family trust which has covered its losses, but the paper realizes that is not sustainable for the long run.
It’s important for the community to rally around the Rafu if it would like to see it continue. Subscriptions are just $15 per month or $149 per year. Senior and student discounts are available.
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