We had the good fortune of connecting with David M. Moriya and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Stories need a voice to tell them. Sometimes it’s our responsibility to take on stories as artists. Tell the truth about the world. As an artist and historian, It is my responsibility to turn a mirror back onto the world while holding a window into my own life. Not only do I tell the story of my people, but a clear message against war and for peace.
The way I want to tell it, Film and television are two of the most easily consumable mediums to learn and enjoy. The media has the responsibility to tell the truth about the world, and if we’re not telling the truth, then history and culture are being erased. Filmmaking is my medium to convey the stories I want to tell. It’s also my contribution to ethnic studies here in the United States.
Why Strong Asian Lead? I see how Asian-American stories are told on the screen. The Asian-American people want these stories, so we must bring the stories to them with proper representation and spoken by the communities who deserve to tell them. We must build our table in Hollywood and lend a helping hand to others.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What’s interesting about my work to me is that it’s never been done before. I’m taking that risk on myself to put in all the work towards building a new Hollywood model for Asian entertainment while simultaneously using my project as a test case. I’m proud that I’ve come this far, even though I feel like I’ve not done enough every day.
It’s not been an easy road. I’ve often wanted to quit, but there’s no where else I want to be. I’m thankful for all the luck in my life and the people who’ve supported my work. Without either of those, I wouldn’t have so much to be grateful for. I am here to take chances, make mistakes, and get into deep conversations about life and society.
I want the world to know about my story because I cannot help who I am as a middle-class, mixed-race, cis-presenting, Japanese American man. That’s the life I was born into. But what I can do with my privileges is to use them to help others. I am not on this earth to help myself, gain fame, or live luxuriously. I’m here to use what I know and the abilities I have to make the world a better place.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Having been out in New York City for the past five years, I know much more about NYC than I do Los Angeles and could give you a whole run-down of where to visit and paint a clear picture of the week’s itinerary.
Honestly, I still need time to explore LA myself, but the one area I do know is Little Tokyo. I’m a history nerd about my culture, and I find it so fascinating to learn about many of the fantastic Asian Americans that have paved the way throughout history. If my friend is into history and could stand me gushing over all the stuff I learn, I’d take them to the Japanese American National Museum. Such a great spot for education and history of the Japanese American community.
I’d then take them through the shopping center for some curry buns at the Yamazaki Bakery. Super delicious. We’d also head over to Fugetsu-do, the longest and oldest running Mochi and Manju shop since 1903.
We could then also walk right over to Chinatown and peruse through the outdoor Vietnamese street market. It’s such a magical place of colors, fabric, and general shopping; who knows what you’ll find. It’s pretty hidden, and I only recently found out about it. I couldn’t even tell you where it is right now, so anyone reading this will have to find the magic on their own.
Moving out of the downtown area, we could always go to Santa Monica Beach, which is a staple, but I’d instead take you up an extra 30 minutes to Malibu beach. It’s quiet, spacious, and the parking is pretty smooth. I love just spending time on the beaches to soak in the sun rays. As much as I love New York City, California does have some of the best beaches.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents are definitely on the top of this list. Without their unconditional support, I don’t know how far I would’ve been able to go. Yes, I’ve done a lot of things on my own, but them letting me live at home during the pandemic, supporting my work even if they don’t understand, and having my back anytime I need them, they deserve endless thanks and love.
Emi Lea Kamemoto also deserves a huge shout out. Her belief in me and the Defiant Changemaker healing that she does, really made me believe in the projects that I do. It’s so hard to start a business on your own, but when someone believes in your idea, it’s a truth pleasure and partnership.
Sarah Marie Mayo Jatearra Richie Paul Lai