Daily Dose: 1/17/12

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Daily Dose

January 17, 2012



Japanese Inspired Adaptations, without Asian American Actors


Americans have grown to love and obtain inspiration from Japanese pop culture, especially manga and anime.

But with inspiration and adaptation comes change, or at least that is what Hollywood seems to think.

In two upcoming feature films based off of Japanese material there are strong rumors that white American actors will be casted as characters originally written as Japanese characters.

This idea of “whitewashing” is not a new concept, ie Dragonball: Evolution, Speed Racer and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Kent A. Ono, who is a professor of Asian American studies at the University of Illinois, offered reason as to why Hollywood finds it acceptable to cast Asian characters to white American stars. “Animation and anime are these interesting contexts, because casting directors, producers and directors can say, ‘Well, the anime character is fictional and not a real live body … and to cast them as another race is OK,’” said Ono. 

Tom Cruise is rumored to play the lead role in the Warner Bros. adaptation of Japanese novel “All You Need is Kill,” which was originally about a Japanese main character. Rumors also circulate about graphic novel, Akira, that the actors rumored for consideration are white Americans.

The argument is that by changing Japanese characters in film adaptations, it cheapens and disrupts the culture the story was meant to have.

For more information, visit: http://inamerica.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/13/is-hollywood-whitewashing-asian-roles/




Asian American Civic Alliance joins forces in response to Liu

John Liu has stimulated some serious teamwork between Asian American organizations and civic leaders but not in the most positive of circumstances.

It was last month when federal authorities arrested a fundraiser for the New York City comptroller, on charges that he illegally funneled $16,000 into the comptroller’s campaign coffers.

The responsive group is calling themselves Asian American Civic Alliance. They are working together in order to start a legal referral hotline for businesses or individuals contacted by the FBI or other agencies connected with the ongoing investigation of Liu’s fundraising operation.

They also intend to hold workshops to help educate citizens on laws concerning campaign-finance, said Cao K. O, the executive director of the Asian American Federation. He also provided explanation to why leaders are taking the time to do all of this.

“There are more people contributing to political campaigns than ever before so we want to make sure that what’s happening with the investigation of campaign contributions will not discourage participation.”

For more information, visit: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204542404577159261685492898.html




Son is charged for the death of Asian American Advocate

Reyna “Yuki” Rogers, past president of Houston’s Asian Chamber of Commerce, was recently shot and police say it was by her son, James Alan Rogers.

James Alan, a 26-year-old military veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, is being held for the shooting Yuki Rogers in addition to fatally shooting two domestic pets.

Yuki Rogers was best known in the Houston, Texas community for her Asian American advocacy. Her roles also included executive director of the International Trade Center; board member of Asian American Family Services Agency; co-chair of a nonprofit Dance of Asian America gala and in 2009 the Asian Pacific Heritage Association gala; in 2006 she was named by H Magazine as one of Houston’s 25 Most Beautiful People.

Her friends, family and peers recognized Yuki for all of her work and dedication to the Asian American community. Chief executive officer of Asian American Family Services, Kim Szeto put it best. “While some may know her by her glamour, beauty and smile, it is her inner beauty, her giving spirit, her dedication to the causes she believed in that shone through and touched the lives of so many,” Szeto wrote. “Yuki lived a life of dignity and beauty. Let’s honor her and remember her for all that she has done for our community.”


About the Author

Majoring in journalism (print and online) and minoring in international relations at San Francisco State University. A&E reporter for SF State's Golden Gate Xpress.