Shota Imanaga

Why Shōta Imanaga's locker has name Mike Imanaga II on it

Imanaga's got jokes, but also exemplifies a growing dilemma for Asian-Americans

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Cubs starter Shōta Imanaga's locker plate didn't read his name at the Friendly Confines on Friday ahead of the team's series against the Cardinals.

It read "Mike Imanaga II."

Why?

Mike is the alias Shōta uses to get his coffee order because it's easier for him to use that name than his own.

And what about the "II"?

“It just sounds cool," Imanaga told Andy Martinez.

While a comical bit, Imanaga anglicized his name to conform to American norms, exemplifying the country's ignorance and lack of care for Asian Americans.

Recently, a California college professor demanded one of his students anglicize her name for his convenience calling on her in class. Her name is Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen. In two email exchanges between the professor and student, the professor made the ignorant request, saying her name likens "f--- boy."

The college placed the professor on leave and President Tammeil Gilkerson apologized in a statement from the school last week. The professor, Matthew Hubbard, apologized on X for his "two inappropriate emails" on Saturday before deleting his account.

It's not uncommon for Asian Americans to take it upon themselves to anglicize their names for the sake of convenience while living in America. It's a troubling matter for non-natives.

Maybe it's not a big deal to Imanaga, and it's possible he doesn't think much of it. Imanaga has an incredible sense of humor. But his experience isn't uncommon from other Asian Americans who have experienced troubling behavior.

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