Portrayal of East Asians in Hollywood

Portrayal Of East Asians In Hollywood

Portrayal of East Asians in Hollywood

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East Asians have not always been accurately represented in Hollywood. Many times, Asian characters were portrayed predominantly by white actors, often while artificially changing their looks with makeup in order to approximate East Asian facial characteristics.

These portrayals are considered an example of the racism in the United States and overt racism common to the times. During the late 19th Century and early parts of the 20th, numerous anti-Asian sentiments were expressed by politicians and writers, especially on the West Coast, with headlines like "The 'Yellow Peril'" (Los Angeles Times, 1886) and "Conference Endorses Chinese Exclusion" (The New York Times, 1905) and the later Japanese Exclusion Act. The American Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of Asians because they were considered an "undesirable" race.

Early Asian American Actors

Lee Tung Foo was a well known singer due to his performances in vaudeville around the 1910s.

Around the same time, Sessue Hayakawa began appearing in films. Sessue Hayakawa: The Legend Signed to Paramount Pictures, he had roles in more than 20 silent films including The Wrath of the Gods (1914) and The Typhoon (1914). When Hayakawa's contract...
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