It's been a while since I talked about film and racism in Hollywood in relation to East Asian stuff. . . so I'm going to do that now.
|In this satirical College Humour sketch Nicholas Cage's agent is desperately trying to save Cage from himself to little avail. You can watch the sketch here. It's actually pretty funny.|
|A poster for the 1995 release of Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell which is credited as being an early mainstream success for anime in the American market.|
In any case, apparently it's now been confirmed that miss Johansson will in fact be playing the lead role of agent Motoko Kusanagi in the upcoming film.
Let that sink in for a second. . .
Scarlett Johansson is playing Motoko Kusanagi.
Johansson. . . sounds Nordic to me. . . Kusanagi. . . well if that's not a Japanese name I dunno what is . . . oh. dammit! Why do they keep doing this?!
|I suppose it doesn't help my argument that Anime characters tend to look racially ambiguous. . . but yeah Kusanagi. . . Kusa-frickin-nagi. In kanji that's 草 frickin' 薙. (草薙 素子Kusanagi Motoko)|
Naturally I'm not the only one vexed by this and myriad folks have taken to voicing their disdain or support for the project in droves. The argument for the casting choice I've seen most often used is nothing new. "Well who else is going to to play Kusanagi? Who else has enough star power to carry this film if not Scarlett Johansson?" A fair question perhaps, only that by asking it people are, even perhaps inadvertently admitting that there are currently no actors of East Asian decent working in Hollywood right now with enough star-power to carry the film on their own. Rinko Kikuchi is a name which seems to be popping up here and there and I think that could be an interesting choice but lets face it; casting her in a supporting role in Pacific Rim was risky enough by Hollywood standards and it's safe to say that she was likely not the main draw for most who decided they were going to see that film, she's also not a local which is important to consider for my next point.
Meditate on this and you shall find the answer. . . which is systemic racism. Unconvinced of the existence of systemic racism? I just provided you with an example. Think you can come up with another reason for the disproportionate lack of A-list Asian-American celebrities in Hollywood that isn't related to systemic racism? You can't. Not one that will satisfy me anyway. . . if I didn't think I was right I wouldn't publicly post my opinions on the internet for all to see.
|Just one of the many photo comparisons on google images right now.|
|I'm not even entirely convinced Rinko Kikuchi would be the best fit for Kusanagi (and she's also not Asian-American) but this makes a lot more sense to me visually than the picture above at any rate and, ya know, film is a visual medium and all.|