Asian-American Cinema Part V - The 1960s

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 24, 2009 04:58pm | Post a Comment
 The fifth of a nine part series on Asian-Americans in front of and behind the camera

The 1960s also the growth of minority-minded civil rights like AIM, the Black Panthersthe Brown Beretsand the Yellow Brotherhood. With Asian-themed musicals no longer in vogue, Asian actors struggled to find work in the entertainment industry. As a result, Asian theatre blossomed, beginning in earnest with Los Angeles' East West Players in 1965 and followed by San Francisco’s Asian American Theatre Workshop, New York’s Oriental Actors of America and Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, and Seattle’sTheatrical Ensemble

The theater groups performed Asian-created works by the likes of Edward Sakamoto, Frank Chin, Hiroshi Kashiwagi,  Momoko Iko and Wakako Yamauchi.

On TV, Asian American actors continued to be nearly non-existent with Green Hornet, Hawaii Five-O, Hong Kong, I Spy and Star Trek being exceptions. 

In film, the fetishization of Asian women continued. More shocking was the way films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Thoroughly Modern Millie still represented Asian men in the most hateful ways.


Bill M. Ryusaki Brian Tochi Chao Li Chi
               Bill M. Rusaki                                                Brian Tochi                                                Chao Li Ch 

 Gina Alajar Harold Sakata Irene Tsu
                   Gina Alajar                            Harold Sakata                                                     Irene Tsu 

Jack Soo Joanne Miya John Fujioka 
                      Jack Soo                              Joanne Miya                                                John Fujioka 

June Kyoko Lu Kieu Chinh Lloyd Kino
             June Kyoto Lu                                            Kieu Chinh                                                    Lloyd Kino 

Lynne Sue Moon Miko Mayama Nancy Kwan 
                  Lynne Sue Moon                                  Miko Mayama                                                Nancy Kwan                                  
Pat Morita Soon Tek Oh
                        Pat Morita                                                              Soon-Tek Oh

Not pictured: Alicia Li, Arthur Song, Brian Fong, Hans William Lee, James Shen, Lee Kolima, Linda Ho, Marc Marno, Reiko Sato, Tiko Ling, Tina Chen, Tsuruko Kobayashi, Willard Lee and Yoshio Yoda 

Mountain Road Walk Like a Dragon World of Suzie Wong  Bridge to the Sun Cry for Happy Flower Drum Song Operation Bottleneck A Girl Named Tamiko Confessions of an Opium Eater The Road to Hong Kong Satan Never SleepsWomanhunt Diamond Head TamahineThe Ugly American Man in the Middle Dimension 5
 Paradise Hawaiian Style 
  Kill a Dragon 
Nobody's PerfectThe Wrecking Crew 

Asian American Related Films of the 1960s:

Hell to Eternity, The Mountain Road, The Wackiest Ship in the Army, Walk Like a Dragon, The World of Suzie Wong (all 1960), Bridge to the SunCry For Happy, Flower Drum SongOperation Bottleneck, Seven Women from Hell, Visa to Canton (all 1961), A Girl Named Tamiko, Confessions of an Opium Eater, Girls! Girls! Girls!, The Horizontal Lieutenant,The Road to Hong Kong, Satan Never SleepsWomanhunt (all 1962), Diamond Head, Donovan's Feef, TamahineThe Ugly American (all 1963), Man in the Middle (1964), Dimenson 5, Paradise, Hawaiian style, 7 Women, Walk Don't Run (all 1966), The Final War of Olly Winter, Kill a Dragon, The Mystery of the Chinese Junk, The Sweet and the Bitter,Thoroughly Modern Millie (all 1967), The Green Berets, Nobody's Perfect (both 1968) and The Wrecking Crew (1969)
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