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Meet “Ji-Young” – Sesame Street’s First Asian American Puppet

Most if not all of us grew up watching Sesame Street as children, and for some of us it was where we first learned how to understand the Alphabet and how to count to 10. It was also a kids show which was early in understanding what cultural diversity means, with a range of hosts and guests who are of different skin colours and tones.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Asian Diaspora is quite proud of the addition of “Ji-Young” – the first Asian American puppet to be featured on Sesame Street. As Asian Aussies, we should be proud and for our children who will be growing up Asian in Australia to be able to see something like this. “Ji-Young” is a 7 year old Korean American and has two passions: rocking out on her electric guitar and skateboarding – how cool is she huh?

Here is “Ji-Young” explaining the origins of her name in an interview (via AP News):

“So, in Korean traditionally the two syllables they each mean something different and Ji means, like, smart or wise. And Young means, like, brave or courageous and strong,”

“But we were looking it up and guess what? Ji also means sesame.”

“Ji-Young” was formally introduced as part of the Sesame Street crew at a Thanksgiving special which was aired on HBO Max ( USA) called  “See Us Coming Together: A Sesame Street Special.” She was joined by some Asian celebrities and sports people like Simu Liu, Naomi Osaka and Padma Lakshmi among others.

Her puppeteer is also Korean American – 41 year old Kathleen Kim, who got into the puppetry trade in her 30s.

What a timely character to be introduced, in and amongst a difficult period to be Asian with the anti-Asian racism happening all over the world. Aussies – keep an eye out for “Ji-Young”!

Images via YouTube

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