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Sessue Hayakawa: Silent Cinema and Transnational Stardom / Edition 1
     

Sessue Hayakawa: Silent Cinema and Transnational Stardom / Edition 1

by Daisuke Miyao
 

ISBN-10: 0822339692

ISBN-13: 9780822339694

Pub. Date: 03/28/2007

Publisher: Duke University Press Books


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&rsquo

Overview


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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822339694
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
03/28/2007
Series:
a John Hope Franklin Center Book
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 8.88(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustration ix

List of Abbreviations xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

PART ONE: Emperor, Buddhist, Spy, or Indian: The Pre-Star Period of Sessue Hayakawa (1914-15)

1. A Star Is Born: The Transnational Success of The Cheat and Its Race and Gender Politics 21

2. Screen Debut: O Mimi San, or The Mikado in Picturesque Japan 50

3. Christianity versus Buddhism: The Melodramatic Imagination in The Wrath of the Gods 57

4. Doubleness: American Images of Japanese Spies in The Typhoon 66

5. The Noble Savage and the Vanishing Race: Japanese Actors in “Indian Films” 76

PART TWO: Villain, Friend, or Lover: Sessue Hayakawa’s Stardom at Lasky-Paramount (1916-18)

6. The Making of an Americanized Japanese Gentleman: The Honorable Friend and Hashimura Togo 87

7. More Americanized than the Mexican: The Melodrama of Self-Sacrifice and the Genteel Tradition in Forbidden Paths 106

8. Sympathetic Villains and Victim-Heroes: The Soul of Kura San and The Call of the East 117

9. Self-Sacrifice in the First World War: The Secret Game 127

10. The Cosmopolitan Way of Life: The Americanization of the Sessue Hayakawa in Magazines 136

PART THREE: “Triple Consciousness”: Sessue Hayakawa’s Stardom at Haworth Pictures Corporation (1918-22)

11. Balancing Japaneseness and Americanization: Authenticity and Patriotism in His Birthright and Banzai 153

12. Return of the Americanized Orientals: Robertson-Cole’s Expansion and Standardization of Sessue Hayakaway’s Star Vehicles 168

13. The Mask: Sessue Hayakawa’s Redefinition of Silent Film Acting 195

14. The Star Falls: Postwar Nativism and the Decline of Sessue Hayakawa’s Stardom 214

PART FOUR: Stardom and Japanese Modernity: Sessue Hayakawa in Japan

15. Americanization and Nationalism: The Japanese Reception of Sessue Hayakawa 235

Epilogue 261

Notes 283

Filmography 333

Bibliography 337

Index 365

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