Memoirs of a geisha and the cast controversy: the main actresses are not Japanese

Tonight at 9:30 pm on TV8 the historical-sentimental film will be broadcast Memory of a geisha, directed by Rob Marshall, at the time returning from the global success of the musical Chicago, earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. For his second film, however, some controversy arose over the casting of the actors.

In fact, Ken Watanabe, Youki Kudoh and Suzuka Ohgo – all of Japanese origins – were immediately hired for the film based on Arthur Golden’s novel of the same name, but Zhang Ziyi and Gong Li, Chinese towns, and Michelle Yeoh were also chosen in the main cast. , which is Malay and of Chinese origin. This fact raised at the time some controversy about cultural appropriation inherent in entrusting roles of a nation to actors from different cultural backgrounds. What bothered most was the fact that the main role, that of Chiyo Sakamoto / Sayuri, was played by a Chinese and not a Japanese actress.

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However, the decision was also supported and defended by Sandra Oh herself, who expressed herself in favor of interchangeability between actors of Asian origin: “Ralph Fiennes can play an English character, a German, a Pole, a Jew. He can play anyone, and no one questions him. He is a handsome man of Caucasian appearance. Therefore, to the American public, Europe looks like this. Europe doesn’t really look like this. But this is the image that has been presented for sixty years, so we accept it“, the actress told Bust Magazine.

Nonetheless, the film turned out a success with both critics and audiences arriving to gross over 160 million dollars and getting 6 Oscar nominations the following year, where he managed to take home 3: best photography, best set design and best costumes.


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