Entertainment NewsAnna Sawai Challenges Hollywood's Typecasting of Japanese Women in Shōgun

Anna Sawai Challenges Hollywood’s Typecasting of Japanese Women in Shōgun


Key Takeaways:

– Rising Anna Sawai is quickly making a notable name for herself within Hollywood, recently playing Elle in “F9” and the dynamic Lady Mariko in “Shogun”.
– Sawai is using her increasing influence to advocate against the ‘submissive' stereotype of Japanese women in western media.
– She wants to see more depth and reality in characters, particularly those of Japanese descent.
– Anna's performance in “Shogun,” a revolving around historical , has left audiences impressed and eager to see her future .

Anna Sawai: Reshaping the Image of Japanese Women in Hollywood

Taking the Hollywood by storm, rising actress Anna Sawai is making remarkable strides in the . Known for her in some of the big-name action flicks like “F9”, she proved her versatility by portraying Lady Mariko in the historical mini-series “Shogun”.

Discussions on Hollywood Stereotypes

In a candid conversation with the AV , alongside her fellow star Hiroyuki Sanada, Sawai delved into her experiences of working on the historical set of “Shogun” and how she viewed the challenges of bringing such an epic story to life. The conversation eventually turned to more critical issues, a broad concern – Hollywood's portrayal of Japanese women.

In her outspoken perspective, Sawai highlighted a damaging stereotype in Western media – the submissive, reticent Japanese woman. Unfortunately, such parts often pigeonhole these characters into being timid, excessively gentle, or overly accommodating. This stereotype is not reflective of the broader range and depth of Japanese femininity, according to Sawai.

Sawai's Stand Against Stereotypes

Sharing her personal experiences in Hollywood, Sawai revealed that she is often suggested for roles that support this damaging stereotype. However, rather than complying with such trend, she is committed to seeking characters that defy this stereotype and demonstrate the resilience and multifaceted nature of Japanese women.

Responding to the question from the AV Club about the significance of adapting “Shōgun” in the current times, Sawai said, “I believe it's important to share Toda Mariko's story as she's different from any characters usually portrayed in Western media, especially when it comes to Japanese women. We are still categorized to play submissive, quiet ladies—or the ones who perform action scenes or epitomize sexiness. I want to see female characterizations expand in depth, reflecting more reality.”

Inside ‘Shogun'

“Shogun”, based on the 1975 novel by James Clavell, offers viewers a deep dive into the center of feudal Japan marked by contending clans and shifting power dynamics. The series unravels around John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis), an English marooned due to a shipwreck. Blackthorne happens to land in a world entirely removed from his native surroundings.

Challenged by the distinct social order of Japan, Blackthorne faces numerous hardships. Despite this, he manages to attract the attention of Lord Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada), an ambitious feudal lord. The attention brings him new struggles and adventures as he tries to navigate through Japanese customs while decoding the language.

Lady Mariko's (Anna Sawai) character serves as a bridge between Toranaga and Blackthorne. Delivering a compelling performance, Sawai captivates audiences, leaving them waiting in anticipation for her next move. As the narrative of “Shogun” continues to unfold on Hulu and FX, Anna Sawai continues her mission to shift the stereotypical representations of Japanese women in Hollywood.

Megan Dianehttps://www.projectcasting.com
Hi, I'm Megan Browne, the Head of Partnerships at Project Casting - a job board for the entertainment industry. As Head of Partnerships, I help businesses find the best talent for their influencer campaigns, photo shoots, and film productions. Creating these partnerships has enabled me to help businesses scale and reach their true potential. I'm excited to continue driving growth by connecting people with projects they're passionate about.


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