famous asians

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Kinkakuji Temple by Patrick Foto ;)
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Kinkakuji Temple (The Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto, Japan

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Singapore city skyline by Patrick Foto ;)
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Singapore city skyline, Singapore’s business district, Singapore

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Kinkakuji Temple by Patrick Foto ;)
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Kinkakuji Temple (The Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto, Japan

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Eleanor Matsuura as Hippolyta (with Maxine Peake as Titania) in Russell T Davies’ adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Ghost In The Shell: An Ode To Kamikaze - Quill’s Scribbles

MAJOR spoilers ahead for the Ghost In The Shell movie, so don’t read if you haven’t seen the movie yet… which you’re not going to obviously because it’s a whitewashed, racist piece of shit and you would never support such a thing, would you? No, of course not.

I’ve been asked a few times to write something on Ghost In The Shell and up until now I’ve been reluctant to do so for two reasons. 1) I’m not really a fan of Ghost In The Shell. I know roughly what its about from what people have told me, but I just never really got into it, and 2) I’ve pretty much said everything I’ve wanted to say about whitewashing, mostly in my numerous Doctor Strange posts. If I started doing stuff on Ghost In The Shell, I’d run the risk of repeating myself. Whitewashing is bad, Hollywood are a bunch of racist opportunists and you shouldn’t pay money or support these kinds of projects in any way, shape or form. That’s pretty much it. I had no intention of watching Ghost In The Shell and neither should you. Enough said.

But then some rather interesting news came to my attention, courtesy of @gabriel-strange. VEEEEERY interesting news indeed. So interesting in fact that I honestly thought it was an April Fool’s prank. So I double checked. I triple checked. I quadruple checked. And I discovered to both my horror and delight that it was true.

But first, we have to set the scene.

Ghost In The Shell is a Japanese series of anime and manga titles that takes place in the year 2029 in a fictional city in Japan. In this cyberpunk future, the lines between humans and technology have been blurred, with people placing more and more reliance on cybernetic implants and prosthesis, and computer and electronics permeate every aspect of their lives. The main protagonist is Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg who works for the counter-cyberterrorist organisation known as Public Security Section 9. Her main job is to hunt down and capture cyberterrorists and hackers, who are especially dangerous in this futuristic society due to everyone’s over reliance on technology. It’s even possible for a skilled terrorist to hack into a person’s brain and make them act against their will.

The series has been heavily praised for its creativity and its philosophy, posing some very interesting questions. How do you define who or what is human in a world where a person’s mind can be copied and where body parts can be replaced with machine parts? Where do you draw the line? It’s a very rich and thought provoking subject matter, so naturally Hollywood wanted in on some of that. In 2009, Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks acquired the rights to make a live action Ghost In The Shell movie. Paramount Pictures agreed to co-produce the movie in 2015 and Rupert Sanders signed on to direct.

All they needed to do was find a talented, up and coming young Asian actor to play Motoko Kusanagi. Who did they go with?

Yep. Scarlett Johansson. An actor most famous for not being Asian. She was cast in the role when talks with Margot Robbie (another actor whose defined by not being Asian) fell through.

This, naturally, sparked a huge amount of controversy from both fans and people working within the industry, and as night follows day, people started to try and justify this bullshit. Some people (let’s be kind and call them idiots) posit that there was never any indication that Motoko Kusanagi was Japanese in the original manga.

Originally posted by elittlejoia

Right. Because why would one assume that a woman with a Japanese name, living in a Japanese city in a series originating from Japan would be Japanese? 

Guys, she’s about as Japanese as you can get! Wake the fuck up!

Others say that the race of the character shouldn’t be an issue because the themes the series covers are universal and can be applicable to everyone regardless of race. Oh good! In that case, she should definitely be played by an Asian actor. Well… if the themes are as universal as you suggest, the fact that she’s Asian shouldn’t alienate me, a white person, at all, should it? Unless you’re suggesting the themes are somehow more universal if the main character is white. If that’s the case, you may want to look up your definition of universal.

A popular excuse is that the Japanese fans have no problem with the casting of ScarJo, with many assuming that a Hollywood production would have chosen a white actor. Even Mamoru Oshii, the director of the original anime films, gave his blessing, saying there was no basis for an Asian actor to play the role. So if they don’t have a problem with it, why should we? Well first of all it’s kind of tragic that Japanese people just assume their beloved characters will be whitewashed because Hollywood have done this so often now they’ve basically gotten used to it. But it doesn’t justify it. A child might get used to an abusive parent over time. It doesn’t make the abuse okay. It’s still wrong. And as for Mamoru Oshii, Well, with all due respect, his opinion is fucking irrelevant. No, really! His opinion carries no weight whatsoever! He’s a Japanese man working in a Japanese industry in a country where 98.5% of the population are Asian. Here in the western hemisphere, Asian people are very much in the minority and, especially in the US, it’s very difficult for them to break into this industry. The last thing they need are white actors stealing all the good roles they could and should be playing. (And for the record, the most vocal people criticising this movie are Asian Americans who have become sick and tired of Hollywood constantly screwing then over, so fuck you).

And finally there’s the age old excuse that ScarJo was the best person for the role and that casting an A-list actor would help to bring the franchise to a more mainstream audience. I mean there are no A-list Asian actors, right? Well apart from Jackie Chan and Lucy Liu (and they’re debatable), no. There aren’t any A-list Asian actors. And do you know why? IT’S BECAUSE YOU DON’T FUCKING CAST THEM! Of course there aren’t going to be any A-list Asian actors because you’re not giving any of them a chance! You keep handing over the roles to white people and depriving Asian actors of job opportunities that were intended for them in the first place!

The studios and filmmakers of course have been offering their own insightful comments, saying how this is a future world and that they’re depicting an international city. That seems to be their go to word. International. Code for ‘populated mostly by white people’. Even Motoko Kusanagi has been renamed as Mira Killian. Seriously, Ghost In The Shell is only a decade into the future. What happened between now and 2029 that the Asian population has somehow decreased exponentially?

And of course Scarlett Johansson doesn’t hesitate to get her thoughts heard, first by saying that this was about gender over race and how this was an opportunity to bring a strong female character to mainstream audiences. Now if you were wondering what White Feminism is, this is it. An actual feminist would encourage and celebrate the casting of an Asian actor in the role because it would be a massive step forward for women of colour. Old ScarJo clearly doesn’t meet those requirements. And then she said this:

“I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive.”

Uhuh. Okay. Dear readers, do me a favour. I want you to remember this quote for me, alright? Trust me. It’ll be very important later ;)

From Doctor Strange to Iron Fist to the upcoming Death Note adaptation, there seems to be this weird obsession in Hollywood recently of exploiting and fetishising Asian culture whilst surreptitiously telling the Asian community to go and fuck themselves. This Ghost In The Shell movie seems to be less of an adaptation and more like a white person’s self insert fanfic. And trust me, you have no idea how true that statement really is.

Which brings me to the interesting news I was telling you about. Again, massive spoilers for the movie ahead, so be warned.

Are you ready? Okay.

Well…

Turns out that Mira Killian is actually Motoko Kusanagi. She has the brain of a Japanese girl inside of her whose memory was erased in an effort to create the perfect soldier. There’s even a scene at the end of her meeting and hugging her Japanese birth mother and embracing her true identity as Motoko Kusanagi.

Oh yes! They actually went that far! Somebody actually thought this would be a good idea! And don’t get me wrong, it’s horrible. It’s racist as shit. I’m utterly disgusted by this, but at the same time I can’t help but admire the ballsiness of it. They chose to depict literal whitewashing in their movie. A Japanese girl is stripped of both her identity and any character traits that would identify her as Japanese and replaced with the body and mind of a white person in an effort to create somebody ‘perfect’. It practically borders on self parody.

But do you want to know the best part? Remember what ScarJo said?

“I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive.”

Tell me Ms Johansson. Do you know the Japanese translation for ‘lying, racist scumbag’?

Because let’s not deny it. What ScarJo said was a blatant lie. She is playing a Japanese character and now she’s quite rightfully being torn to shreds by the critics, most notably the Asian American Media Group. Yeah! Who’d have thought they’d have a problem with this?! Call it a hunch, but somehow I think there might be less demand for a Black Widow movie now after all this. So I wouldn’t hold your breath.

It also puts all those other claims to shame too. That the character’s race isn’t important and that this is an international city and that the themes are universal and so on. Let’s not forget that in the early days of production, they were considering using the same CGI from The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button to make their chosen white actor look Asian. The fact that they’re practically bending over backwards in a desperate and pathetic attempt to justify their whitewashing actually proves that the race of the character is actually important after all.

I can’t help but find this just a bit hilarious. I mean at least Doctor Strange didn’t pretend Tilda Swinton was Asian. At least they didn’t stoop THAT low. And the irony of it all is Rupert Sanders and co could have gotten away with it if they just kept their mouths shut. I know how gullible general movie going audiences can be. They probably would have blindly accepted a whitewashed Ghost In The Shell movie if the story and acting was good. But because the studio just couldn’t leave well enough, because they were so paranoid that they’d be accused of racism and that they’d upset the fans, they tried to tinker with it and ended up not only making the issue even more awkward than it already was, but also highlighted their racism in big bold neon lights. They haven’t just tied a noose around their necks. They’ve practically built their own gallows as well.

Already they’ve started to feel the effects. On its opening weekend, Ghost In The Shell pulled in less box office earnings than DreamWorks’ Boss Baby. And I don’t know about you, but I would love to have seen how that conversation played out to the studio execs. Your movie is losing to an animated film featuring Alec Baldwin voicing a talking baby. LOL. In fact I’m almost tempted to go and see this movie for myself just to witness it commit cinematic suicide live, right in front of me. This has got to be one of the most glorious kamikaze moves I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

And I can’t think of a more appropriate way to end this Scribble than with the ironic use of this classic from the 80s. Enjoy :)

anonymous asked:

What exactly would a clan head in Naruto do? For instance, Shikamaru who is working for Naruto all day, Ino runs a flower shop, and Choji goes off on ninja missions, those things take up most of the day without much time for other things. Before the villages they had to keep their families alive and doing missions. Now they don't have to worry about those things and focus their attention on other things.

Ok let’s pretend for a moment that the Naruto worldbuilding makes more sense and is more coherent than it actually is, and that therefore one can reasonably extrapolate from what occurs in canon based on comparable real world cultures.

So we’re gonna go way back to the Warring States era, pre-hidden villages. This era is called Warring States, seemingly inspired by several famous eras in East Asian history that were called Warring States, but it would more accurately be called Warring Clans era from the perspective of ninja. Basically we’re told that various feudal lords–a daimyo is just a term for a large land owner–and other warlords who were not ninja would hire various clans of ninja to fight for them. These clans had no allegiance specifically to any feudal lord or country except what allegiance they might have by way of being hired repeatedly by a lord and having a good relationship. With me so far?

So in this kind of society, the clan is everything. There’s no national loyalty, there’s no sense of ethnic loyalty that we seem to see in canon.

Some people have argued that child soldiers don’t make much sense in this environment. I don’t agree. The issue that it’s a waste of resources to send children out to fight when they’re not fully trained is a good point. But chakra users are so much better than non-chakra users that even a genin-level child ninja can be reasonably expected to be able to kill an adult non-chakra user fairly easily. This makes child ninja useful for some mercenary tasks. Also, children are small, enabling them to complete some tasks in tight spaces, and children don’t seem threatening, enabling them to get access. Considering in the real world what horrible and dangerous jobs adults have used children to do, and still do, including child soldiers, I’m not going to say that child soldiers in Naruto are necessarily irrational from a worldbuilding perspective. In particular if you think of this era as an arms race and a world of extremely short-term thinking. A world in which everyone is just thinking, “I just have to live through this week. The results are for future me to worry about.”

So. In this era, the clan leader is responsible for his (let’s be real, his) kinsmen. He chooses the jobs to take, he chooses who fights, he oversees training, he ensures payment, he invests, he arranges marriages.

Then Hashirama and Madara have this idea of bonding different clans together into a village. Rather than hundreds and thousands of competing clan loyalties, you now have something like a dozen or two hidden villages–a big drop. Plus, with the Hidden Villages functioning as a sort of shinobi union, they have more pull in setting prices and preventing people from skipping payment, etc. Also, the clans pool their resources to do things like training–voila, ninja academies.

But you wouldn’t expect the clan leaders who agree to join in on this new system to surrender all of their sovereignty, and what we see in canon is that they don’t, the best example being the Hyuuga.

As of original flavour Naruto, which occurs maybe 50-60 years after the founding of the villages, Hyuuga Hiashi has more or less absolute control over the internal workings of his clan. Nobody does anything to challenge his right to inflict the cursed seal on fellow clan members, nor his right to use those seals to inflict pain on them for disobedience, nor his right to choose to train or not to train his oldest daughter, nor his right to choose his successor. He can do whatever he wants.

Ah, remember when Naruto literally never shut up about how he was going to change the shinobi system and be a reforming Hokage?

So here we basically see the reason why the manga by the end and in Boruto is afraid to touch the issue of what clan heads do now. We don’t want to pick up the issue of clan heads and clan leadership beyond maybe a little bit of aesthetic window-dressing because it would mean bringing reader’s attention back to how the shinobi system hasn’t changed an iota and how, as far as we know, Hyuuga Hiashi can still scramble his kindred’s brains at will, he just magnanimously chooses not to.

Originally posted by oblivionic

Good gravy.

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Toji Temple by Patrick Foto ;)
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Wooden pagoda of Toji temple, Kyoto Japan