Hollywood has had an embarrassing legacy of racist stereotypes in film. One of the most common is Asian stereotypes–be it from "yellow peril" villains like Fu Manchu or buffoons like I.Y. Yuniyoshi in "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Here are nine of the most offensive Asian characters in movie history.
30s and 40s, there was a big trend of Asian detective films featuring Asian characters solving mysteries due to the success of the "Charlie Chan" movies. But it wasn't until the 1970s that Chan, a Chinese detective from Hawaii, was played by an Asian actor (Keye Luke, coincidentally) in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon series.
While Charlie Chan isn't really that offensive apart from being played exclusively by white actors, Moto embodies more than one Japanese stereotype that would definitely offend most audiences today. For one, Japanese detective Moto is a sneaky and duplicitous character who often infiltrates the underworld in disguise. And for two, and again unlike Chan, he will often engage in cold-blooded murder in order to get his man.
Another of the big Asian detectives, Wong is played by Boris Karloff (again) with the kind of dark ambiguousness that he's famous for. But why couldn't an actual Asian actor be cast in these roles? In today's society, that discrepancy alone is enough to make many of these characters offensive.
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