Skip to content

Min Jin Lee’s Quest to Make Us Pay Attention to Anti-Asian Hate

The Pachinko and Free Food for Millionaires author is using her platform to offer a more nuanced picture of Asian-American life.

Lee in her home library.

Lee in her home library.

Photographer: Wayne Lawrence for Bloomberg Businessweek

Until recently, Min Jin Lee was primarily known as the bestselling author of Pachinko, a novel that follows a family of Korean immigrants in Japan through the 20th century. (The Apple TV+ adaptation premieres on March 25.) But over the past two years, as violence targeting people of Asian descent in the U.S. has surged, Lee, who grew up in Queens and lives in Manhattan, has turned her Twitter feed into a record of anti-Asian racism. In an interview with Diana Suryakusuma, Lee explains why and how she hopes speaking up will lead to greater equality for all. Here are edited excerpts from their conversation:

The news has been increasingly filled with horrifying stories of violence toward Asian Americans. What motivates you to speak out about anti-Asian hate?