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While the actor Sessue Hayakawa (1886–1973) is perhaps best known today for his Oscar-nominated turn as a Japanese military officer in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), in the early twentieth century he was an internationally renowned silent film star, as recognizable as Charlie Chaplin or Douglas Fairbanks. In this critical study of Hayakawa’s stardom, Daisuke Miyao reconstructs the Japanese actor’s remarkable career, from the films that preceded his meteoric rise to fame as the star of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Cheat (1915) through his reign as a matinee idol and the subsequent decline and resurrection of his Hollywood fortunes.

Drawing on early-twentieth-century sources in both English and Japanese, including Japanese-language newspapers in the United States, Miyao illuminates the construction and reception of Hayakawa’s stardom as an ongoing process of cross-cultural negotiation. Hayakawa’s early work included short films about Japan that were popular with American audiences as well as spy films that played upon anxieties about Japanese nationalism. The Jesse L. Lasky production company sought to shape Hayakawa’s image by emphasizing the actor’s Japanese traits while portraying him as safely assimilated into U.S. culture. Hayakawa himself struggled to maintain his sympathetic persona while creating more complex Japanese characters that would appeal to both American and Japanese audiences. The star’s initial success with U.S. audiences created ambivalence in Japan, where some described him as traitorously Americanized and others as a positive icon of modernized Japan. 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.

Latest News

  • Bridge the gaps in your knowledge

    07/18/15 ,via Charleston Post Courier

    1) Name the World War II movie, with a cast including William Holden, Alec Guinness, Sessue Hayakawa and James Donald, about a POW camp in Burma where the Japanese abuse their Anglo-American captives. 2) Name the World War II movie, with a cast 

  • What's on TV Monday

    07/06/15 ,via New York Times

    Sessue Hayakawa, the silent-film actor, plays the Japanese officer who, despite his cruel treatment of other captives, befriends Ms. Keith out of admiration for her literary talents — even while failing to save her from torture. “Played against

Twitter

@tnyfrontrow Ah I've never seen House of Bamboo - just looked it up and was excited to see Sessue Hayakawa's name - another great. 07/29/15, @OLiu1230
1918 Really one of the greatest silent screen stars also made his mark in talkies as well Sessue Hayakawa http://t.co/Nrf3Sqa2L9 07/29/15, @wallyreidjr
this movie also features a pre-THE CHEAT sessue hayakawa but he's in old age makeup & beard so you can't appreciate how babely he is 07/28/15, @salesonfilm

Books

  • Sessue Hayakawa

    Duke University Press. 2007. ISBN: 0822339692,9780822339694. 379 pages.

    DIVCritical biography of Sessue Hayakawa, a Japanese actor who became a popular silent film star in the U.S., that looks at how Hollywood treated issues of race and nationality in the early twentieth century./div

Bing news feed

  • Sessue Hayakawa on Turner Classic Movies

    07/26/15 ,via Alt Film Guide

    Tuesday, June 3, highlights on Turner Classic Movies: TCM continues with the not-to-be-missed "Asian Images in Film" series, with several silents and a couple of early talkies featuring East Asian characters. Several B-grade John Derek (photo, below right ...

  • Bridge the gaps in your knowledge

    07/18/15 ,via The Post and Courier

    (Hint: All but two of the answers contain the word “bridge”): 1) Name the World War II movie, with a cast including William Holden, Alec Guinness, Sessue Hayakawa and James Donald, about a POW camp in Burma where the Japanese abuse their Anglo-American ...

  • Asian American screentime

    07/16/15 ,via Bay Area Reporter

    You're stubborn, but you have no pride! You endure, but you have no courage! I hate the British!" Sessue Hayakawa was in his mid-60s when he created the role with which most Americans of my age will forever associate him, that of the sagacious, moody ...

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Sessue Hayakawa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sessue Hayakawa (早川 雪洲, Hayakawa Sesshū ?, June 10, 1889 – November 23, 1973) was a Japanese Issei actor who starred in American, Japanese, French, German ...

Sessue Hayakawa - IMDb

Sessue Hayakawa was born in Chiba, Japan. His father was the provincial governor and his mother a member of an aristocratic family of the "samurai" class.

Sessue Hayakawa - Biography - IMDb

Sessue Hayakawa was born in Chiba, Japan. His father was the provincial governor and his mother a member of an aristocratic family of the "samurai" class.

Sessue Hayakawa - Rotten Tomatoes: Movies | TV Shows ...

Sessue Hayakawa Celebrity Profile - Check out the latest Sessue Hayakawa photo gallery, biography, pics, pictures, interviews, news, forums and blogs at Rotten Tomatoes!

Sessue Hayakawa, June 10, 1889 – Nov. 23, 1973

Sessue Hayakawa, June 10, 1889 – Nov. 23, 1973

Sessue Hayakawa

Sessue Hayakawa

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