The Asian Question : Why Not Us?

Does he look white?

Hollywood, you did it again.

Just when I was psyched with the great representation news from Moana. You went and pulled this stuff.

Hollywood had just announced an adaptation of super popular Japanese comic Death Note. It features high schooler Light Yagami who comes into possession of a powerful notebook that kills anyone he writes his name on, with this, he eventually takes the law on his own hands – with devastating consequences.

Sounds good right? So what’s the problem?

He’s going to be played by a white dude. Paper Towns heart-throb, Nat Wolff to be exact.

This is coming also from the news that Hollywood is going to be adapting anime masterpiece Ghost in The Shell, and guess what?

Its going to star basically the most Caucasian actress ever,  Scarlett Johansson.

This seems to be a problem with Hollywood in general. They want Asian stories and Asian narratives. But they don’t want the skin colour. Why? Is it skill based? Because there are no actors of colour that could pull it off?

What about Ki Hong Lee? Or Daniel Henney? Yoshua Sudarso? Ryan Potter?

Or Arden Cho, Tao Okamoto, Bae Doona, Fan Bing Bing, Malese Jow, or hell, even Lucy Liu?

That’s even from the top off my head. What about the others that would come from a casting call?

Don’t they deserve a chance?

This seems to be a precedent that seemed to stem from Tom Cruise action vehicle “Edge Of Tomorrow”, where the main character of that story – Keiji Kiriya is renamed Will Cage and he’s been aged up. Despite the clear white-washing of the issue, Edge Of Tomorrow ended up being the No. 3 top grossing opening film of the time and got $ 369 million dollars of revenue.

Of course the same would be reflected in all these movies. Scarlett Johansson is going to play a renamed Motoko Kusanagi and Wolff playing a renamed Light Yagami.

Its frustrating that this still happens because it’s unfair. These are their stories, geographically and narratively locked to their experiences as a culture and as a people. Why would they take it away? Is there not enough stories already populated by a white lead? There are literally no acceptable answers to this question and its depressing that Hollywood keeps on doing this.

Its shameful practice, and it shouldn’t be the newest trend.



7 thoughts on “The Asian Question : Why Not Us?

  1. Pink Flamingo

    Asian as minorities have been overlooked so often in Hollywood it’s exhausting. It seems that Hollywood basically grouped all ‘minorities’ together, and gave themselves a pat in the back when they cast ‘enough minorities’ in their movie to represent ‘diversity’


  2. Pingback: Racism Is Over: The Martian | NORMAL ISN'T NORMAL

  3. onlypussiescatcall

    It’s actually getting ridiculous. If they really reallyyyy need to cast an asian person, they’d cast someone partially asian e.g. Keanu Reeves. It’s sad because every time I do see them cast an Asian, I’m shocked because it’s like … an Asian… like that never happens. Yay for Arden on Teen Wolf.


  4. Shirley

    This is hilarious – reminded me of the dragon ball incident a little while back. Have you heard of the series “Fresh off the boat”? Basically a comedy show about an asian family living in white America. It’s a huge play off stereotypes (is that all asians are limited to in western pop culture?). If you have seen it, would love to get your thoughts on that!


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