THR: Japanese fans aren’t upset with Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Ghost’ casting

scarjo ghost

Earlier this week, we discussed the whitewashing drama that surrounds the Hollywood adaptation of the popular manga property Ghost in the Shellgo here to review Monday’s post. Interestingly enough, it seems that Americans and Europeans are the ones most upset about Scarlett Johansson’s casting as a character who was originally a Japanese woman. While Americans – specifically Asian-Americans – think this is just another terrible case of Hollywood whitewashing, it seems like ScarJo’s casting has been met with a shrug in Japan. The Hollywood Reporter did an interesting story about the reaction of Japanese fans to both Scarlett’s casting and the American whitewashing criticism.

The casting of Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi in the Paramount/DreamWorks adaptation of Japanese anime hit Ghost in the Shell has drawn accusations of “whitewashing” and sparked fierce debate on social media across the Western world. But in the home of the manga and anime cult classic, the reaction to the media firestorm was mostly surprise as many Japanese had already assumed that the lead role in a Hollywood version of the story would go to a white actress.

The original manga, written by Masamune Shirow, was published in 1989 by Kodansha, which licensed it for Mamoru Oshii’s seminal 1995 anime feature, a number of Japanese spin-off films and anime series, and most recently for the Hollywood live-action version.

“Looking at her career so far, I think Scarlett Johansson is well cast,” Sam Yoshiba, director of the international business division at Kodansha’s Tokyo headquarters, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “She has the cyberpunk feel. And we never imagined it would be a Japanese actress in the first place…. This is a chance for a Japanese property to be seen around the world.” Yoshiba recently returned from a visit to the New Zealand set of the movie, where he says he was impressed by the respect being shown for the source material.

Many ordinary Japanese manga fans are also nonplussed at the outrage over the casting. “If you want a Japanese cast, then a Japanese company should make the film in Japan,” said long-time manga fan Tetsuya Kataoka. Interestingly, the casting of an Asian-looking actress may have avoided the “whitewashing” accusations and likely placated some fans in Europe and America, but provoked a worse reaction in Japan.

“It’s a shame they didn’t choose a Japanese person to tell such an interesting story. But at least they didn’t cast a Chinese actress, like they did in Memoirs of a Geisha,” said Ai Ries Collazo, another manga fan. “[Zhang Ziyi] actually did an amazing job, but it was like: really? Again, can’t they find a Japanese actress? Though casting an Asian actress would probably have gone down better in America.”

Japanese manga and anime fans pointed out that similar “race-bending” casting takes place in reverse for domestic productions. Two live-action movies based on the Attack on Titan manga, also originally published by Kodansha, were released last year. The characters in the manga by Hajime Isayama were Western, but the cast for the movies was all Japanese.

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

I guess it probably bodes well that Japanese manga fans don’t care that a white woman was cast, and I also see their point about “well, at least they didn’t cast some vaguely Asian actress in lieu of getting a Japanese actress.” I agree that it would have been worse if they hired a Chinese-American or Korean-American actress, like all Asian ethnicities are interchangeable. But still…despite what these manga fans and Japanese fans say, I still think this is pretty egregious whitewashing.


Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet, Dreamworks.

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78 Responses to “THR: Japanese fans aren’t upset with Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Ghost’ casting”

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  1. jinni says:

    So I guess that makes the whole whitewashing okay then? This article and everyone involved with this movie is still getting the side eye.

    • Tiffany27 says:

      Right! So your point is what THR????

    • partoftheproblem says:

      “everyone involved with this movie is still getting the side eye.”

      Same here!

      and lmbo at some of the comments here.

    • Pri says:

      Asian Americans are not a minority in Japan, they are a minority in America. Thus, they, along with other minority groups, are more than right to protest the lack of visible minority in American films.

      The same thing happened with the Ashton Kutcher Pop-Chips ad. People in India didn’t care. But they needed to as that ad perpetuates horrible stereotypes they have to face if they go abroad.

      Having ads with Anglo-Saxon models is the norm in Asia, you rarely see a Japanese model on Vogue Japan’s cover, it is a bit sad.

    • Anners says:

      I’m just going to leave this link here – it’s a beautiful analogy of why whitewashing characters is so despicable and unecessary:

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Of course it’s okay? The anonymous Asian person in Japan said so!

      Now go see the movie when it opens in theaters and buy two bags of popcorn.

  2. Sam says:

    My issue with the casting was that it kind of, subliminally, suggests that white people (or any non-Japanese people in general) will not go to see a film unless there is a white lead to whom they can “relate.” I’m a mixed person of no Asian background who enjoys anime and Japanese cinema – and I don’t need white people involved to make that so. Don’t insult me by suggesting that I need a white person in a movie to make it appealing to me. There are plenty of us who enjoy this stuff on the merits. There are tons of non-Japanese fans of this stuff who found it on our own and enjoy it. Putting a white woman front and center feels so shameless and a crass ploy to say, “Hey, we made this Japanese thing into something you white people will like, and it’s cool to watch it because you identify with the lead and there’s no scary subtitles or anything!” It’s patronizing.

    From the statements above, it seems less like the Japanese fans are thrilled about it and more that they kind of accept that a white lead was simply necessary to, you know, get the property made into an international film. They know what’s up.

  3. pretty says:

    the topic of race is just simply not relevant in these homogeneous societies. it is a foreign subject, just like marijuana and gay marriage, gay rights etc, all these advanced, progressive issues that get talked about a lot on a national sale in Western societies. it’s not that the Japanese are ~super cool~ about it, it is rather that they don’t have the context to all these race talk going on in the West.

    • annaloo. says:

      I don’t know.. I think Asian societies have a very complex relationship with race– including how they look at themselves, as well as other races. Japan’s Miss Universe did not have an easy go at acceptance in her country, and it’s well documented of how skin tone ranks your status in not only Japan, but Korea and China. The embracing of Western culture from beauty to film to architecture is seen all over the countries. Even as a military brat, I grew up knowing that mixed race kids are generally looked down upon in places like Korea or Japan and often ended up abandoned and in orphanages, the chatter around me with other hapas was always that it was better to be mixed white than black. While I respectfully disagree with your point of thinking the topic of race is irrelevant there, because there is definitely a position that they take. I do, however, absolutely agree with you that they do not have the context that the West does.

    • anna says:

      thank you! all this white guilt and pearl-clutching is ridiculous. now the outraged western audience is telling the japanese to be upset about the casting of a beautiful hollywood actress in a manga-based movie.
      btw i know the source material and johansson is a great choice.

      • Sam says:

        “I know the source material and Johansson is a great choice.” Yes because Johansson is Japanese which is why she’s a great choice. Just stop talking. If you know the source material you’d understand why people are so upset. It’s like making Jon Stewart (one of the Green Lanterns) white instead of black.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        Apologists on deck.

  4. missmerry says:

    I think the fact that the Japanese fans are more concerned with Chinese or Korean actors playing Japanese parts than they are of white actors getting Japanese parts is fascinating.

    • SilkyMalice says:


    • pretty says:

      well , because Japan or any other non-western countries don’t have the privilege of being seen as the default human being (white) in Hollywood. British Canadian Austrailian American and European actors can play each nationalities and no one really cares because they are already established. but when a story is about a non western country, that movie becomes something that almost.. represents(?) the country on a global stage. and so it’s different.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      If you need to understand why China and Japan are contentious to this day and feel insulted when you suggest they’re the same Google ‘War + Japanese Comfort Women’.

      But besides that they are different. It’s only in the Western World we lump them together because ‘Asian’.

      • annaloo. says:

        Thank you Eternal Side-Eye, you have nailed this and I wish to expand upon it:

        Missmerry – for your fascination, I would recommend studying the histories of the countries to understand the deep seated cultural rifts between the cultures, the disrespect between the countries come from century long histories of territorial wars, control, assassinations of leaders, exiles… so much. Even our US state of Hawaii plays out in its own microculture the mix of many Asian cultures living together. It is fascinating, but even more so howmost of the world is absolutely oblivious to great histories, contribution and inventions of these cultures to the world at large.

    • Mika says:

      I know I’m not japanese or korean or chinese, but I’m from Malaysia and I too would be insulted if, let’s say they casted an Indonesian actress to play a Malaysian character because it’s like “what, is there not anyone good enough in Malaysia to actually represent our country???” and “do they not realize that Indonesia and Malaysia are TWO separate countries???” We take our national pride very seriously in Asia, or at least in Malaysia. It’s also a sad thing to see people here idolize the half-whites. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with being half-white but it seems like half-whites get into the entertainment industry so much easier compared to the “locals”, they model for whitening products (when they are already naturally light-skinned!!!!), model for everything and somehow made the word “beautiful” hardly relatable for people who are darker-skinned. I think I’m straying away from the main subject but anyhoo…..

    • Norman Bates's Mother says:

      I fully understand that, even though I’m not Asian. I’m Polish, so white, but we have always been treated as the worse kind of white. Whenever there’s a Polish character in an English-speaking movie (usually someone super dumb, a thief or a prostitute) and is played by a French, German or even Indian (I saw a movie where that happened) actors, all is fine – there are not many Polish actors who made it and they just chose a human being to play the role, but when they cast a Russian to play a Pole or the other way round or make the Polish character speak with a super thick Russian accent, everyone is pissed off and super offended. That’s because the Western world seems to think we are interchangeable and likes to use the same hurtful stereotypes about us, when the truth is – we are very different and politically still very hostile. It has everything to do with the national pride and the sense of independence. I take it, that it’s the same with the Japanese and Chinese. Similar roots, two completely different nations – culturally and politically, and should not be lumped together.

    • Saks says:

      The reason is rooted in the History of those countries. So its not only that they feel interchangeable but that they have had a history of conflicts and delicate situations.

      This is typical Hollywood, acting as if we all have the same dynamics. That cultural empathy might apply to some groups like Latinos, I found myself saying exact the opposite to that manga fan when Olga Kurylenko was casted as a Bolivian in the Bond movie, my thought was “at least they should have casted a Latina actress”. But that definitely does not apply to everyone.

      • Diana B says:

        It happens with latinos too. I feel very irritated when they put a puerto rican as a mexican or a mexican as a colombian. We are not interchangeable and these countries have more than enough talented people to represent their respective culture. It is insulting, truly.

      • Saks says:

        Diana, I’m Mexican and I agree with you, but I don’t get mad when a fellow Latino plays a Mexican, mainly because I have had the opportunity to travel to some countries of Central and South America, and I find that we share important cultural/historical references. What I mean is that we understand each other in so many levels, so I don’t feel any other Latino might make fun or play my culture lightly.

  5. ell says:

    they assumed a white woman will be cast because that’s what’s expected, however it doesn’t make it right and nothing will ever change unless we talk about it!

  6. perplexed says:

    Weren’t there only 2 or 3 people quoted in this story? How do they truly know that “many” people weren’t outraged?

  7. Sally says:

    It wasn’t even a problem with the Japanese to begin with since they are well represented in Japan. It was a problem for the Asian-American community who is severely underrepresented in the US. It was never about Japan. Also the anime community is not the most progressive one out there as far as social justice causes go.

    • Lena says:

      Sally, i totally agree and wrote pretty much the same thing b fire seeing your comment!

    • Sam says:

      That’s part of the problem of making a film that is expected to play in multiple countries, though. You have to try to make it appeal to everybody. There’s been a ton of ink spilled about how movies get edited and re-done to be less offensive now to Chinese sensibilities, since almost all major pictures now debut in China.

      The studio is probably expecting GitS to bring in big money in Japan. They also know that casting an non-Japanese Asian American would probably cause great offense within Japan, due to their sensitive racial politics. So they decided to go with a white person instead. That cuts the difference – the Japanese will more readily accept a white American over a non-Japanese Asian American. It’s trying to serve all masters at once, and it doesn’t work.

      • Sally says:

        I don’t think the BO of Japan would count that much if it flops in the US, like all the other anime properties already did. You’d think that would be a clue for all those people oh SO SO concerned with ROI.
        Otherwise what’s the point of remaking them in the first place? Who are you remaking these movies for in the first place? The Japanese and the Chinese? The Japanese know the story already, I doubt seeing an crappy American version of the GITS, constitutes that big of a priority for them.

        Also there are a multitude of movies staring white actors that have flopped Stateside and elsewhere, and no one was blacklisting white actors for the foreseeable future. Asian-Americans of various backgrounds don’t even get the chance to participate in the selection process. So no I don’t buy the argument that studios need to make their money back when 95% they throw that money away on drivel starring white people. GITS is not going to compete with a Marvel property, box office wise either way. So all this is predicated on the assumption that it’s going to make a tone of money. Get back to me when it flops.

      • Pinky says:

        The Japanese would more readily accept a quite person over a Japanese person. And that’s the real issue pretty much everywhere….


    • OhDear says:

      Yeah, THR seems to imply that the two (Asian-Americans and Japanese people in Japan) are one and the same, which is problematic in and of itself. “Well, the Japanese don’t have a problem with it, why do you?”

  8. Margred says:

    My biggest problem with the casting is that I don’t think that Scarlett suits the role of the Major! She lackskor something, don’t know what butter something!

  9. Lena says:

    I think the different reaction might also be because Japanese people (living in Japan) don’t feel underrepresented in their daily lives in the way Asian-Americans or Asian-Europeans do. Whether it’s politics, TV music or film, theirs plenty of mainstream examples for them to identify with. So a Hollywood production changing the race doesn’t have the same impact to them. However, seen in the context of the obvious under representation and narrow representation of Asian-Americans in the U.S. , this feels different to Asian-Americans,

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Exactly. Two major Asian American actresses (as well as many others) came out in protest of this casting and how it’s hurting them to see their stories consistently made unimportant unless told by a white person.

      Funny how the THR didn’t bother to interview them.

      • Sally says:

        It’s like they’re trying to make that story with the yellowface go away by making up straw-men like this one.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        Exactly and its so gross.

        “If we find people of the same nationality who say its okay then clearly it’s not a problem”

  10. MexicanMonkey says:

    This always comes as a surprise to Americans when they realise their issues aren’t prevalent around the world.
    I’m Egyptian and this was my exact same reaction during the God’s of Egypt debacle. I can tell you straight up that literally no one cared about the whitewashing in that film either. The only things I saw about the movie on social media (full of other Egyptians who are fans of Hollywood films, so the ones most likely to discuss it) was jokes about how the name was changed to Kings of Egypt and making fun of the outrage surrounding the film.

    Honeslty for me, I understand what these fans are saying about how it’s better than a Chinese actress. Because I saw the same with Gods of Egypt. People were outraged about Gerrard buttler but not about Chadwick Boseman, because he’s black? In modern day Egypt at least you’re as likely to find someone who looks like buttler as you are to find someone who looks like Boseman.

    And other people were suggesting names like Oscar Isaac. Who is Latin. How is he a more acceptable substitute for an Egyptian? You can’t limit people just to the colour of their skin.

    This divide of ‘White’ and ‘People of colour’ barely works in America and it doesn’t work any where else. We’re not interchangeable.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Tbh it’s not that I don’t think the issues aren’t prevalent overseas or to some ethnicities it’s that I think people don’t appreciate how dangerous it is to have a society openly stereotype, mock, and devalue you until a politician gets on stage and screams about them all being rapists and building a wall to thunderous applause and overwhelming political support.

      Blacks know more than any other race respect is paid for in blood and suffering and Hollywood will not change on its own. This is fine for markets like Asia where they do have strong markets like Bollywood but for Mexican Americans and Asian Americans the lack of representation and respect is hurting those groups. Do you ever want things to change or are you content for them to stay the same?

    • Saks says:

      Yes, in a lot of cases is just about the color of the skin. Like Charlie Hunnam who is going to play a (white) Mexican-American in his upcoming movie about a drug Lord…

      • Ennie says:

        Just to point out that he might be white but in Mexico there is colorist, but not a real divide in “race” as in white or whatever color other Mexicans have… Dark? Unless there is a clear difference, like a “foreign/ non Spanish” last name or a definitive look from a different race, thee is not such divide to call the Barbie “white”, he is just fair to us.

  11. Hejhej says:

    I once read that to the Japanese the characters in mangas aren’t seen as Japanese or Asian. They’re simply seen as humans. It’s us in the West (painting with a broad brush here) that see characters drawn with a race. I think that’s a beautiful way of seeing the world – trust Hollywood to abuse it though..

    • Algernon says:

      The counter point to that is that many people see anime/manga designs as perpetuating Western beauty standards over Eastern ones.

      • Sisi says:

        that’s not a counter point, that’s actually exactly what hejhej says in the third sentence.
        Most people who consider manga & anime characters western are western, they are projecting and consider white the default.

      • Algernon says:

        No, I mean there are a lot of people who see them drawn as Western-ish characters because the Japanese/Asian artists are privileging Western standards of beauty over Eastern standards. That it’s a deliberate choice to say Western is “better.”

      • Sam says:

        The other counter-point is that anime is a style that has heavy overlap with the fantasy/sci-fi genre – and thus, a really large percentage of anime characters are not human, thus making their racial presentations malleable and up for grabs. I remember when Dragonball Evolution came out and white people freaked out about a white man playing Goku. But I also remember a lot of Japanese fans pointing out that in the magna and series, Goku is a humanoid alien, so in reality, he’s not constrained by human ideas of race. Technically, the movie didn’t whitewash him (the movie sucked for a variety of reasons, but it actually had a nearly 100% Asian cast among the human characters, with the exception of Bulma). So it’s a really complex question to try to answer. Anime is notoriously not constrained by racial limitations.

    • Ai says:

      Actually, all Japnese anime and manga characters by default are Japanese despite whatever unique character styling (because it is a way to express a character and a point of differentiation) and in the end, they are made by Japanese for Japan). Having said that, in many anime and manga when there is a foreign character it is clearly explained or represented in character profile etc. To assume that since these characters don’t look Japanese that the must be white is a false projection. This article explains better.

      • Sisi says:

        Yes exactly. The Batou character from Ghost in The Shell is a perfect example of making the non-asian characters clear by name and facial bonestructure. No one else looks like him.

      • cyn says:

        Yes, but Annie is written to be a little red-haired freckle-faced white girl but I have no problem with the latest remake. Bond is a white dude, but I pray to God that Idris is picked for that role. I don’t understand the big deal. The part should go to the most talented.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:


        But things aren’t fair and things don’t go to the most talented. Jobs go to the whitest or the closest proximity to white and everyone else suffers as a result. Both Annie and Idris being Bond have faced backlash because media that has white characters is supposedly untouchable but when it comes to Asian property then suddenly it’s fine to not honor the source material.

  12. itsme says:

    theyre actors. they act. as in pretend to be someone/something they are not. didn’t someone remake Steel Magnolias with an all-AA cast? and wasnt there talk of remaking a film and casting a female in a traditional male role, or vice versa? how is this any different?

  13. shewolf says:

    Because believe it or not the rest of the world isn’t offended by everything because they have lives and don’t sit around waiting to see how westerners have offended them again.

    • Marty says:

      Yeah, because God forbid Western Asians actual care about things like representation in the media and racism in Hollywood.

  14. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    Aww that’s nice. I’m happy they got those 2/3 people to give them a vote of confidence for continuing to avoid representing them, mimic their works, and try to profit off their stories AFTER a suitably white character has been made the focus of course. Ha.

    This is like the bull Bill Maher argued about how it’s really the racism overseas that’s driving Hollywood to make these decisions casually forgetting Hollywood isn’t appealing to China by adding more Chinese actors. It’s appealing to China by flooding their markets with action films nearly exclusively featuring white people. If China was to demand more representation Hollywood would. drag. it’s. feet.

    There’s also a very real divide between Asians in Japan who have a market exclusively geared towards their own actresses and representation ve. Asian Americans who don’t and are unhappy. Two major Asian American actresses from Agents of Shield and Fresh of the Boat have been doing public talks about how they’re a disposable property in America between not even being an option for GITS to being mocked by Chris Rock on stage. So this pathetic article and everyone involved with the movie can still go to hell.

    • partoftheproblem says:

      Which blogs do you follow? I’m very glad that people like you show up in these kinds of threads because I don’t even know how to try and explain-I would end up yelling. So I laugh instead.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        I almost sounded like Palin there for a second by saying I read a little bit of everything but I like to bounce around different news collections websites and read a sampling of all the different stories. I’ll try to find the articles that had the two actresses (and others) discuss how this casting has hurt them.

        I find it pathetic THR looked for anonymous people to interview rather than speaking to two prominent Asian American actresses who have done public talks about this specific issue.

  15. mkyarwood says:

    I thought it might turn out this way. The main character can assume any form she likes, so it’s tough to automatically call it whitewashing, I still think there are ONE TRILLION better actresses for this part, though. Scarlett is excruciating.

  16. htmb says:

    I’ve also heard that people who aren’t from predominantly white countries aren’t that bothered about cultural appropriation either. I think it’s all to do with experience. In the west, minorities are often targeted or ridiculed for the same parts of their culture that white people later adopt for trendy purposes. Likewise, we grow up seeing mostly white people on tv and in movies, and so we’re hurt and upset when minority characters are whitewashed, or when white people begin wearing mehndi or dreads/cornrows etc. People who aren’t from pre-dominantly white countries just don’t share the same experience w stuff like this and that’s probably why they don’t see it as a big deal. That’s my take anyway.

    • Veronica says:

      Well, I agree somewhat when it comes the specific issue of white colonialism, but most countries very likely have their own ethnic disparities that just don’t register to us because they’re specific to that particular culture. Whitewashing is a big deal in the United States because we’re a demographically diverse culture with a power structure that is skewed predominantly in favor of whites. Portrayals of non-whites are extremely limited, and whitening a character removes one more piece of diversity from a cast.

      IMO, the bigger issue with adapting foreign movies is that you have to be aware of the cultural context in which they were made and be able to isolate what characteristics can be reproduced in a different cultural landscape and what has to be outright discarded and rewritten. For example, the overarching theme of GitS – the idea of spiritual and intellectual dualism, the increasing conformity of action due to the omnipresence of technology and media – can be transported into an American context, BUT…with the way movies are made in America, is that kind of nuanced philosophical expression something that will actually be expressed on screen? Can Americans – highly individualistic and idealistic by nature – going to be able to swallow a story about the increasingly parallel nature of human thinking? Or is it going to dump all of the cerebral elements for an action movie? Because that would be a real shame.

  17. Dana says:

    The fact that THR put that article out is 10 steps backwards. I’ve heard the real argument that Hollywood studios have always placated to Asian film market. Most $$ is strategized around buying potential in China mainly. Which means the inherent cultural issues that exist in Asia with white actors being preferred or superior is supported by Hollywood executives for bigger box office potential. But honestly, this ancient and antiquated fascination needs to be met with education and cultural progression. As much as people that that Amerians rule Hollywood, we don’t… but that doesn’t mean Americans and Europeans can’t take a stance with blatant disregard for important cultural relevance as it pertains to diversity and equality. Saying… Well they don’t mind if we trample all over Asian culture for a buck is NOT progress. Its offensive to everyone involved. Basically, Hollywood is saying shuck and jive and pretend like we don’t know this is completely backwards. But Studio Execs won’t change at ALL unless general public stops going to these films. They will only chase the money not the political correctness of cultural honesty.

  18. Ayra. says:

    Probably because Japanese, heck even Chinese, Indians and Koreans are well represented in their own respective media. Maybe?
    You’ve got Korean and Indian soap operas, Japanese live action movies ect.. And in some of those you don’t ONLY see Asian actors.. I highly doubt they’re particularly focused on what the media across the ocean portrays, as THEY are being represented in their home country. They know what Motoko Kusanagi represents.

    I still hopes this flops and goes into the “reasons Hollywood shouldn’t whitewash” pile, but the pile is overflowing and no one seems to be paying any attention to it.

  19. OriginallyBlue says:

    Well it’s doesn’t sound like they aren’t mad, they just already assumed that it would go to a white woman, which is still pretty bad.

  20. TOPgirl says:

    Scarlett better do a good job acting Asian because there were other half Asians / half white actresses who should’ve been cast and would have fit the role better since it’ll be in English anyway. I love Ghost in a Shell.

  21. Marty says:

    I’m so glad that THR took the time to interview every Japanese person to get a fair perspective on the issue….oh wait…

    This is some high level lazy journalism right here.

  22. me says:

    Yeah so did they ask EVERY single fan before coming up with this conclusion?

  23. Tig says:

    Isn’t this being directed by Rupert Sanders? If yes, talk about karma bring a b#^*h. His big comeback- if he’s directing, too busy to check- and this is all going south bef it even has a trailer!

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Oh is it? Damn, this isn’t going to end well.

      Despite all the (rightful) backlash these types of movies always miss the mark. Most American comic book films turn off fans of the original story but are lucky enough that the characters themselves are prominent in the cultural zeitgeist. “Everyone knows who Superman is”

      When you take something that has a much smaller more specific fanbase and then turn them off while attempting to market to people who don’t have any cultural connection you’re just asking for a bomb.

      The only thing that makes me happy is the millions lost and the careers hurt by such openly stupid movies.

  24. Sam says:

    Next thing you know Warner Bros is going to bring Ryan Reynolds back to play Jon Stewart instead of Hal Jordan. At this point nothing would surprise

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Wait, Ryan Reynolds was playing Jon Stewart???

      How did I miss that? Wtf…

      • Jae says:

        No he wasn’t.

      • Sam says:

        No he wasn’t. My point is that this situation would be similar to Warner Bros saying they’re moving ahead with a Jon Stewart Green Lantern movie and then casting Ryan Reynolds to play the role.

  25. serena says:

    “If you want a Japanese cast, then a Japanese company should make the film in Japan,”
    I get their point, really, I do. They assumed it was ‘normal’ to hire a white actress in Hollywood, because it is the reality of things. It’s not pretty or right, but it has been happening for who knows how long. It’s a reality they’re used to, since they don’t live in a multi-ethnic society like americans.
    Why can’t Hollywood finance movies where the idea was created and cast locals? God forbids!

  26. cd3 says:

    Folks, let’s all boycott this lame-shi!t excuse of a movie and its pathetic white-washing. Money talks in Hollywood… it will only change if we as a consumer public show that we are not willing to spend our hard-earned dollars on racist trash like this.

  27. Jane says:

    Oh, so THR speaks for the entire population of Japan plus the countless millions of people of Japanese origin living outside of Japan? Just because they found one Japanese person to say “I’m personally not offended’ doesn’t mean there aren’t Japanese fans who think it’s offensive.

    It’s pretty damn racist how they act like Japanese people are some kind of hive mind. It reminds me of people who say “I can’t be racist, I have a black friend.” “This casting can’t be racist, the one Japanese person we spoke to said it’s okay!”

  28. Itsme says:

    Max Landis posted an informative YouTube vid that breaks it down pretty concisely.

  29. Veronica says:

    I feel like it’s more egregious because they kept the character’s VERY JAPANESE NAME, which is just flat out bizarre. And so very lazy. Like, if you want to adapt it, go ahead, I don’t really have a problem with that. However, the story does have a lot of culturally relevant aspects to it that will need to be altered for an American audience. This is a big part of why I think those adaptations fail to land here – the cultural implications just isn’t relevant to our experience.

  30. Mousse says:

    I am Asian and this does not offend me. What the Japanese creator was saying was, in Japan they don’t hire western actors to play the western parts, it’d be hypocritical to lash out when America does the same.

    There’s been plenty of Romeo & Juliet movies made where they don’t hire Italians to play the part either.

    This reaction is just too much.

  31. Jwoolman says:

    The Major’s body is fully synthetic, FYI… 🙂 There are hints that her body has been male on occasion.

    A lot of anime characters, including in Ghost in the Shell, don’t look too Japanese regardless of their names in the original. The Major has always seemed in that category to me. Her synthetic face looks maybe partly Japanese, not sure if it’s intended to match her original face- she was a young child when her body was replaced. That might also be why Japanese fans aren’t bothered. Maybe she doesn’t look so Japanese to them, either.

    Generally if there is any ethnic matching in movies, it’s pretty vague. Actors may be chosen who can pass for whatever the ethnicity is only if you don’t know people of that particular ethnicity… If you do know a lot of people in that particular ethnic group, you can generally see right away that they don’t match. They do this with European types as well. All Asians don’t look alike. Neither do all Europeans or Africans.

    It seems impractical to make exact matches anyway. Our long term goal should be to not worry about the matching at all, in the U.S. any of us can have an appearance that doesn’t match our last names. The real problem is lack of acting opportunities for various ethnic groups, even when the actor’s ethnicity is irrelevant (as is usually the case). That’s what does need to be opened up. I don’t know if the actress chosen for the Major is a good choice but her face isn’t the deciding factor for me – can she play the character as written? It’s a difficult role.