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Updated by Saren Sakurai on Nov 13, 2015
Headline for Legendary Actors in Japanese Yellowface Roles
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Legendary Actors in Japanese Yellowface Roles

A handful of big name actors playing Japanese yellowface characters. To be (a little bit) fair, all of these roles are from an era when America was still extremely stupid about race.

Marlon Brando in The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956)

The Teahouse of the August Moon is a 1956 American comedy film satirizing the U.S. occupation and Americanization of the island of Okinawa following the end of World War II in 1945. The motion picture starred Marlon Brando and was directed by Daniel Mann.

Alec Guinness in A Majority of One (1961)

A Majority of One is a 1961 American comedy film adapted from the play of the same name by Leonard Spigelgass. The cast was changed from the original, which had Gertrude Berg and Cedric Hardwicke in the roles of Jacoby and Asano.

Mickey Rooney as I. Y. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

I. Y. Yunioshi is a fictional character in Truman Capote's 1958 novella Breakfast at Tiffany's . Mickey Rooney's portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi in the 1961 film version of Breakfast at Tiffany's has been the subject of extensive critical commentary and review since 1990.

Ricardo Montalban in Sayonara (1957)

The film's screenplay was adapted by Paul Osborn from the novel by James Michener, and was produced by William Goetz and directed by Joshua Logan. Unlike most 1950s romantic dramas, Sayonara deals squarely with racism and prejudice. The supporting cast also features Patricia Owens, James Garner, Martha Scott, Ricardo Montalban, and Miiko Taka.

Shirley MacLaine in My Geisha (1962)

My Geisha is a 1962 American comedy film directed by Jack Cardiff, starring Yves Montand, Shirley MacLaine, and Edward G. Robinson, and released by Paramount Pictures. The film was produced by MacLaine's then-husband Steve Parker, and written by Norman Krasna, based on Krasna's story of the same name.