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Sessue Hayakawa: Silent Cinema and Transnational Stardom

Without replicating existing research, Daisuke Miyao makes an important contribution to three developing areas within film studies: It is a work of great originality, a truly unique attempt not only to give a thorough account of the career of one of the first and most unusual stars of silent cinema but also to approach Hayakawa from the perspective of his identity as an ethnic Japanese gaining worldwide stardom.

Sessue Hayakawa | Duke University Press

That Daisuke Miyao is able to interrogate not only Japanese sources but the Japanese-language newspapers in the United States makes this perhaps the most thorough—and complex—treatment of the ethnicity of a movie star ever offered by a film historian. Allegories of Vision and Modernity. If you are requesting permission to photocopy material for classroom use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at copyright.

Please check the credit line adjacent to the illustration, as well as the front and back matter of the book for a list of credits. You must obtain permission directly from the owner of the image. Occasionally, Duke University Press controls the rights to maps or other drawings. Please direct permission requests for these images to permissions dukeupress.

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For book covers to accompany reviews, please contact the publicity department. Instructions for requesting an electronic text on behalf of a student with disabilities are available here. While the actor Sessue Hayakawa — is perhaps best known today for his Oscar-nominated turn as a Japanese military officer in The Bridge on the River Kwai , in the early twentieth century he was an internationally renowned silent film star, as recognizable as Charlie Chaplin or Douglas Fairbanks. Hayakawa himself struggled to maintain his sympathetic persona while creating more complex Japanese characters that would appeal to both American and Japanese audiences.

This unique history of transnational silent-film stardom focuses attention on the ways that race, ethnicity, and nationality influenced the early development of the global film industry. Sign up for Subject Matters email updates to receive discounts, new book announcements, and more.

Create a reading list or add to an existing list. Sign-in or register now to continue. Silent Cinema and Transnational Stardom Author s: Emperor, Buddhist, Spy, or Indian: A Star Is Born: The Noble Savage and the Vanishing Race: Villain, Friend, or Lover: The Making of an Americanized Japanese Gentleman: The Honorable Friend and Hashimura Togo 87 7. More Americanized than the Mexican: Sympathetic Villains and Victim-Heroes: It tapers away a little, but it's still worth the time.

Apr 23, Bruce rated it liked it. Although we judge history through a lens of modern day values, there's no denying that America and the world were racist places back during the s.

Sessue Hayakawa: Silent Cinema and Transnational Stardom

This was a time of D. While never a huge star, he was definitely a Although we judge history through a lens of modern day values, there's no denying that America and the world were racist places back during the s. While never a huge star, he was definitely an important one for a few years at Paramount.


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He then set up his own production company and produced quite a few starring films for himself. Hayakawa had to walk a fine line in his films.

Sessue Hayakawa : Silent Cinema and Transnational Stardom

There were miscegenation laws in most states, which said that different races could not intermarry. He usually couldn't even touch his female co-stars, much less kiss them or end up with them at the end of the movie. He tried to keep from being typecast by portraying Chinese, Asian Indian, Burmese, Egyptian and other ethnic characters. Unfortunately, after World War I, California became very anti-Japanese and the box office returns of his films plummeted. He traveled to Europe for a few years, and appeared in films there.

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In the s, he lived back in Japan. Miyao has definitely done his research. Besides reconstructing the storylines of many lost films from the s, he has mined Japanese film magazines for reviews of Hayakawa's films. The book is quite interesting as it gets into American's fascination with Japanese culture or at least stereotypical Japanese culture and Japanese audience's perception that Hayakawa was too "American".

The book's venture into describing Hayakawa's acting technique is confusing though. This is a good but not great book.


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I can recommend it to anyone who is seriously interested in silent film history, as well as anyone interested in American history and how one Japanese actor was able to make it as a movie star for a few years during the silent era. Ainur rated it it was amazing Oct 04, Gramarye rated it really liked it Sep 07, Stephen rated it it was amazing Jul 04, Brian rated it really liked it Mar 16, Emma F rated it liked it Jan 05, Elizabeth rated it it was amazing Dec 22, Lucaslu rated it really liked it Feb 07, James Bazen rated it liked it Apr 30, Jenni rated it really liked it Oct 18, Jessica Welman rated it it was ok Jul 26, Kit Fox marked it as to-read Nov 29, Kristopher added it Jul 30, Massimiliano marked it as to-read Feb 12, Sean Stevens marked it as to-read Jul 15, Cheryl Burkhardt added it Jul 26, Forn marked it as to-read Jan 04, Lewis marked it as to-read Jan 16, Ryann marked it as to-read Apr 20, Nancy Brake is currently reading it Aug 21, Daphne Vogel marked it as to-read Sep 12, Arminder Randhawa marked it as to-read Mar 20, Andrew marked it as to-read May 24, Jbondandrews marked it as to-read Oct 11, Kevin Suhendra is currently reading it Jan 28, Lisa marked it as to-read Jun 27, Eadweard marked it as to-read Jul 14,