AsianWeek: The 25 Most Infamous Yellow Face Film Performances (Part 1 & 2) San Francisco-based AsianWeek recently did a two-part story on “The 25 Most Infamous Yellow Face Film Performances (part 1, part 2)”  You ask, what is “yellow face”?:

 “It may be hard to believe, but there was once a time when Hollywood would routinely turn to non-Asian actors to portray Asian characters in films. Often, these “yellow face” performances both reinforced and embodied all the negative stereotypes — funny accent, slanted eyes, buck teeth, and enough “Orientalism” to send the yellow fever meter through the roof.”

I was glad to see that #2 on the list was Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Now I really liked this film (despite Mickey Rooney), but the first time I saw this movie, I *could not believe* the portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi by Rooney – I was disgusted. I found that Mr. Yunioshi’s character not be comic relief, but the very racist portrayal having nothing to do with the overall plot of the movie. (Note: I was also shocked to see George Peppard as the lead actor – I just remember him from the TV series, The A-Team !) If you’ve ever seen the movie, what are your thoughts on this? Am I over-reacting?

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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