The Other Side of Lost in Translation


Are Japanese Girls Really Sluts? Part 2

The other film that created the other image of Asian women was
"The World of Susie Wong"

This is the second "Hong Kong" film of William Holden
who starred in "Love is the many splendored thing."
He met and fell in love with
a beautiful Chinese woman who happened to be a prostitute
and her name was Susie Wong.
Since the release of this film,
The women who seduce White men with sex had become
the other image of Asian women,
oriental sex kitten, oriental seductress,
oriental whore with low morality
who loves to eat White men.
Even "Susie Wong" had become the synonym to Asian women.

The actress who played the role of Susie Wong was
Nancy Kwan who was half Asian and half Cacasian.

The Chinese actress, Joan Chen
who was in "The Last Emperor" said that
She was puzzled when she came to Hollywood
because all the roles she got were
the women who seduced White men in very sexual ways.

So there are two stereo type images about Asian women.
One is that Asian women are not very pretty
but obedient and love to serve White men.
The other is that Asian women are exotic sluts and whores
who love to have sex with White men.

To be continued

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Are Japanese Girls Really Sluts? Part 1

About 10 years after I had come here,
I heard this very disturbing information,
the stereotype image about Japanese/Asian women is
that all of them are whores or sluts.
I was shocked and confirmed this to
many of my Americna friends and acquaintances.
Only one female friend said she knew but all men said they knew.
One of them explained his theory and according to that,
Many American men encountered Asian women for the first time
during or after the war in Asia like
Japanese women, Korean women and Vietnamese women.
And all those women swarmed to GIs as prostitutes.

I did some research on this subject
and came up with these two films.

< Sayonara > (1957)
During the U.S. occupation time right after WW2,
This handsome GI, Marlon Brand, went to Japan
and fell in Love with a Japanese girl
who is a star of all girl musical troup like Takarazuka.
But his senior officer told him that
he could not get married with a Japanese girl.
Marlon's fellow officer
who also had fallen in love with another Japanese girl
committed a suicide with her
after he had been forbidden to get married.
And Marlon was forced to leave his girl and Japan.

This is basically a variation of "Madam Butterfly"
which represents some subliminal themes.
1) Asian women love and love to serve White men.
2) Asia is supposed to be subordinate to the West.
3) Whites and Asians cannot get married because
Humans should not get married with Yellow Monkeys.

The actress who played the girl who committed a suicide was
Miyoshi Umeki, Japanese Jazz singer who came to U.S. in 1955.
Almost immediately she got a chance to appear in American TV
which lead her to act in "Sayonara".
And she became the first and only Asian actress who won Oscar
for that performance.
Interesting enough, Miyoshi was a very homely looking woman.

Then why she had such an instant success???
I guess it might have been the same reason
why ugly Black actresses got more parts than
the Black beauties like Lena Horne at that time.
Because ugly Blacks were more non-threatening
for White audience, who believed
Whites were supposed to be the most beautiful race.

The role Miyoshi played in "Sayonara"
became one of the stereo type images of Asian women,
which is Asian women are not very pretty
but very submissive, obedient
and love to serve White men.

Miyoshi had played more stereo type roles for a while
and eventually retired in 1972,
her second husband died in 1976,
and she died in her nursing home in 2007.
Since her retirement from showbiz,
She had not accepted any interview offers.

To Be Continued

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My New Project

Now I am doing a research work
about Korean community in New York.
Today I went to Flushing, Queens
where lots and lots of Korean and Chinese Immigrants live.
I talked to two people from Korean youth organization
and after that, I walked around and took some pics.

Until I became college age,
I had not known anything about those ugly facts of WW2
because nobody told me, parents nor teachers.
I did not know many Koreans were living in Japan either
because I grew up in very small town far away from any big cities.

Now each time I go to a Korean grocery store,
somewhere in my mind, somewhere deep inside,
it says "I'm so sorry for what we did"
even it happened before I was born.

Then things like horrible comments on 2channel really break my heart.
And I cannot trust Japanese medias' reports on Korea
Because I know they do not do good jobs on telling people
the realities of U.S. either.
More mutual and real understanding is necessary, I think.
So this is my little effort.
I like to write about
what is going on in Korean community in New York.

To be honest with you, I had a little fear.
Some people looked at me in a little suspicious way
as I was wandering aroung with my SRL camera hanging from my neck.
Even I passed infront of the old guy with a huge banner said
"Shut up, Shame on You, War crimminal Japan."

But people were kind when I asked them like
what that poster in Hungle(Korean letter)said.
You know, people feel fear
when they cannot tell what other people are thinking.
It will disappear when they understand others.

I will talk to more Koreans this week.
A little effort from me.



Oh English, how come it's so difficult? part 1

Most of Japanese believe that
they can learn fluent English
if they live in U.S. for a few years.
And that's far far far away from the truth.

But then, how come Japanese media does not tell us that?
They are always flooded with infos about U.S.
Then why can't they tell us
this simple very important information?
Well, because America is supposed to be
a dream land for Japanese,
it's supposed to be a glamourous, trendy, fashionable,
exciting and shocking fantasy to give Japanese
a relief from their daily realities.
Therefore all the infos possibly to crush
those fantasies are carefully sealed away,
like racism, stereotyping and descrimination against Japanese.
And this English thing is one of them.

For Japanese, speaking fluent foreign language is like a magic.
Most of them study English at least six years
during middle and high schools.
And additionally, many of them learn it at colleges
and at private English schools as well.
But after spending so many hours and so much money,
nobody speak English.
Why don't they realize something seriously wrong with this picture?
First of all, there is no hope to speak that language
if you learn from teachers who do not speak that language.
Well, I will talk about this some other time.

Anyway, the reason that
Japanese likes to believe they can learn fluent English
if they stay in U.S. for a few years is
because that is the fantasy they love to believe.

After one year sicne I came to New York,
I thought my hearing English ability had improved
when I watched TV news show.
Then, I tried to understand what they were saying
with my eyes closed.
But I was so disappointed that I almost cried
as I could not tell anything.
Actually it took about four years to understand it
for me, even though still it was not fully.

The biggest difficulty for Japanese
to learn to speak English is the lack of sounds in Japanese,
which exist in English.
non existnce of the diference between R & L is
the most famous one, but still many others like that.
Also a few vowels are missing in Japanese as well.
If you can not hear the difference,
pronouncing them is very difficult.
Basically Japanese has partial hearing and speaking impairment
when it comes to learning English.
And that makes it so hard for Japanese to learn English.

To be continued



My Phoebe, Phoebe Snow

Yesterday, I went to the free outside show of Phoebe Snow.
First time I heard her record,
I was still a high school kid in a very small town of Kyushu.

She sang my favorite song "Harpo's Blues"
It brought back so many memories.

"Harpo's Blues"

I wish I was willow
And I could sway to the music in the wind
And I wish I was a lover
I wouldn't need my costumes and pretend
I wish I was a mountain
I'd pass boldly thru the clouds and never end
I wish I was a soft refrain
When the lights were out I'd play
and be your friend
I strut and fret my hour upon the stage
The hour is up
I have to run and hide my rage
I'm lost again
I think I'm really scared
I won't be back at all this time
And have my deepest secrets shared
I'd like to be a willow
A lover, a mountain or a soft refrain
But I'd hate to be a grown-up
And have to try to bear my life in pain
I wish I was a soft refrain
When the lights were out I'd play
and be your friend
I strut and fret my hour upon the stage
The hour is up
I have to run and hide my rage
I'm lost again
I think I'm really scared
I won't be back at all this time
And have my deepest secrets shared
I'd like to be a willow
A lover, a mountain or a soft refrain
But I'd hate to be a grown-up
And have to try to bear my life in pain

In those days I did not know anything about realities of life.
Since then I have learned some.
But this song still brings back the kid in me
when I dreamed about life, dreamed about love.

I'd hate to be a grown-up
And have to try to bear my life in pain
This song reminds me of the fact
that I am an eternal Peter Pan.

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The Good Old Stereotyping!

This is so awful, just awful!
I just watched it for the first time.
This show is about the stereotype, Japanese are supposed to be super wackkkyyyyy.
Needless to mention about something like these contestants staying st the house with the RED TORII Shinto Shrine gate, which is rediculous enough, Japanese audience in the studio were obviously instructed to laugh very loud when American contestants failed even if it was not very funny, which can make some American TV audience think Japanese are cruel and horrible.
Yes, the concepts of those Japanese shows are about laughing at someone getting a public humiliation, which is pretty horrible, but the most of the time, contestants are people in showbiz and they know these show are supposed to be funny and they do that to get laugh, so does audience.
But that concept is not well translated as these American amature contestants appear to be doing this so seriously in the Reality TV format that they make a comment like “These Japanese people must be crazy, they are killing me”.
I am sure these Americans know what they are doing and acting, but because the usual concepts of American Game shows are that someone challenges the game seriously and audiences praise, the seriousness of these contestants can confuse the hell out of American audience.
Yeah, yeah, of course this is what Amercian TV likes to see, the Good Old Stereo Typing.

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