Segments in this Video

Cultural Imperialism (05:16)


See clips of the U.S. Navy training film, "Our Enemy—The Japanese." Hollywood has a track record of depicting minorities in a stereotypical manner, giving white actors access to all lead roles, and changing Asian roles.

Interracial Relationships (05:19)

Nancy Wang Yuen discusses the use of blackface, yellow face, and red face in minstrelsy; it carries over into early Hollywood. The Hays Code forbids romantic suggestions between races on screen; anti-miscegenation laws forbid it in society. Interracial marriages become legal in 1967.

Asian Characters (04:26)

Sessue Hayakawa depicts an exotic, barbarous character in Cecil B. DeMille's "The Cheat." Frank Capra's "The Bitter Tea of General Yen" is about interracial lovers. Fu Manchu and Charlie Chan define Asian stereotypes.

WWII Era Films and Cartoons (06:10)

Movies depict Asians as the enemy and savages. Racist clichés dominate the screen in "Know Your Enemy-Japan." Joseph McBride and Yuen discuss the use of the films as propaganda and entertainment.

Japanese Internment (07:01)

During WWII, over 120,000 Japanese Americans are sent to detention camps; many lose their land and homes. Tamlyn Tomita discusses her family's internment in Manzanar .Some Japanese American men join the U.S. military despite their families' internment.

Society After WWII (05:45)

The U.S. government places restrictions on Japanese American movements before identifying Japan as an ally; Russia becomes the enemy focus. U.S. soldiers arrive in Okinawa. McBride discusses the U.S. Army's film "Japanese Bride in America."

Fantasy in Hollywood (07:33)

"Sayonara" is a romantic movie about an American soldier and a Takarazuka dancer; geisha are not prostitutes. Experts discuss Hollywood's cliché portrayal of Japanese women and men, and the use of yellow face.

Civil Rights Era Films (04:57)

Tomita reflects on Americans becoming more global and educated. "The Crimson Kimono" depicts a romance between a Japanese American man and a white woman. Samuel Fuller addresses complex social issues in his films.

"Come See the Paradise" (07:01)

In the late 1980s, Tomita acts in the film based on a true story. Experts discuss Asian American representation in Hollywood; film may be the only source of world education for some people. Asian stereotypes have been long-lasting.

Credits: Hollywood and the Yellow Threat (00:39)

Credits: Hollywood and the Yellow Threat

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Hollywood and the Yellow Threat

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The United States entered WWII. More than 110,000 citizens of Japanese origin were rounded up and dispatched to camps until the end of the war. Hollywood was quick to react with films from OBJECTIVE BURMA to THE BRIDGE ON RIVER KWAI and THE STORY OF GI JOE to KNOW YOUR ENEMY: JAPAN. Already in 1941 Warner, who was manipulating public opinion in favor of entering the war, had released DIVE BOMBER with Errol Flynn. It showed very clearly that America was threatened from the Pacific region. In almost all of these films, the enemy is vilified, we see particularly ugly Japanese in THE FIGHTING SEABEE. With the arrival of the Cold War, the enemy image had to change quickly and Hollywood obliged; this is well explained in Naoko Shibusawa's The Geisha Ally. This program features interviews with film critic Joseph McBride, Reel Inequality author Nancy Wang Yuen, Japanese film history specialist Dan Akira, and more.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL203145

ISBN: 978-1-64867-569-0

Copyright date: ©2019

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.