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Divided LensesScreen Memories of War in East Asia$
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Michael Berry and Chiho Sawada

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824851514

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824851514.001.0001

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Continuity and Change in Hollywood’s Representations of American-Asian Relations in War and Peace

Continuity and Change in Hollywood’s Representations of American-Asian Relations in War and Peace

Chapter:
(p.126) Chapter 6 Continuity and Change in Hollywood’s Representations of American-Asian Relations in War and Peace
Source:
Divided Lenses
Author(s):

Robert Brent Toplin

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824851514.003.0007

In “Continuity and Change in Hollywood’s Representations of American-Asian Relations in War and Peace” Toplin examines Japanese, Chinese, and to a lesser extent, Korean characters in American films from the 1930s to the 2000s to reveal a “pattern of flexibility and quick adjustments” corresponding primarily but not exclusively to geopolitical shifts. The chapter explores how depictions of Japanese characters radically shifted after Pearl Harbor and again after the American Occupation of Japan. Toplin also traces shifting characterizations of Chinese characters. During much of the 1930s and 1940s Hollywood portrayed them as hearty hard-working peoples who eked out a living from an unforgiving land; after the “Loss of China” and the outbreak of the Korean War, they suddenly became tyrannical Communists who heartlessly massacred their enemies and were hell-bent on destroying the Free World.

Keywords:   Asian-American, Hollywood Cinema, war cinema, Pearl Harbor, American Occupation of Japan, race, war brides, orientalism

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