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Yellow Future

Oriental Style in Hollywood Cinema

2010
Author:

Jane Chi Hyun Park

Yellow Future

Tracing the significance of oriental style in contemporary Hollywood cinema

Yellow Future examines the emergence and popularity of techno-oriental representations in Hollywood cinema since the 1980s, focusing on the collective fantasy of East Asia as the future. Jane Chi Hyun Park demonstrates how this fantasy is sustained through imagery, iconography, and performance that conflate East Asia with technology, constituting what Park calls oriental style.

Yellow Future’s emphasis on ‘oriental style’ is interesting and fresh. I can see other scholars in the field picking up this term and running with it, both in their writing and teaching. Jane Chi Hyun Park has written an excellent, useful book.

Lisa Nakamura, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Yellow Future examines the emergence and popularity of techno-oriental representations in Hollywood cinema since the 1980s, focusing on the ways East Asian peoples and places have become linked with technology to produce a collective fantasy of East Asia as the future. Jane Chi Hyun Park demonstrates how this fantasy is sustained through imagery, iconography, and performance that conflate East Asia with technology, constituting what Park calls oriental style.

Park provides a genealogy of oriental style through contextualized readings of popular films—from the multicultural city in Blade Runner and the Japanese American mentor in The Karate Kid to the Afro-Asian reworking of the buddy genre in Rush Hour and the mixed-race hero in The Matrix. Throughout these analyses Park shows how references to the Orient have marked important changes in American popular attitudes toward East Asia in the past thirty years, from abjection to celebration, invisibility to hypervisibility.

Unlike other investigations of racial imagery in Hollywood, Yellow Future centers on how the Asiatic is transformed into and performed as style in the backdrop of these movies and discusses the significance of this conditional visibility for representations of racial difference.

Yellow Future

Jane Chi Hyun Park is senior lecturer in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney in Australia.

Yellow Future

Yellow Future’s emphasis on ‘oriental style’ is interesting and fresh. I can see other scholars in the field picking up this term and running with it, both in their writing and teaching. Jane Chi Hyun Park has written an excellent, useful book.

Lisa Nakamura, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Yellow Future is insightful while remaining accessible, making it a valuable contribution to both the Asian American and film studies canons.

Afterimage

On its own terms, the book is a complete success, as it synthesizes the substantial critical work already available while providing a more fluid political future for study of “oriental style.” Park somehow manages to say new things about Blade Runner and The Matrix, in addition to doing some major work on the oriental buddy film. The enormous amount of precise and helpful context he offers make the reader pine for a parallel book that looks at oriental style in US independent film.

CHOICE

An informative and interesting book which should make an excellent springboard for class discussion.

Paradoxa

Yellow Future is a well-organized and compellingly argued book which provides a new theoretical framework in which to evaluate the cinematic representation of East Asia and Asian people in Hollywood movies during the era of globalization.

Journal of American Studies

This is a timely work, for it engages with several other recent entries that address similar topics of cross-cultural productions . . . with an innovative approach to and account of the history and politics of Asian America in film and a useful critical framework for addressing the understudied presence of oriental style in contemporary cinema.

MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Journal of the United States

Yellow Future

Contents


Introduction

1. Style, Visibility, Future

2. An Oriental Past

3. American Anxiety and the Oriental City

4. Oriental Buddies and the Disruption of Whiteness

5. Martial Arts as Oriental Style

6. The Virtual Orient

Afterword


Acknowledgments
Notes
Index