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Was casting Chinese actresses in “Memoirs of a Geisha (Sayuri)” a blunder?

by Melanie Burton

Josh Chua
Student, 20
In Hollywood, it’s common for an actor of a certain ethnicity to play a character of another ethnicity. I don’t think Scots were in uproar over Mel Gibson in “Braveheart.” If anything, it says more about a lack of Japanese actors.

Marisol Dumas-Perreault
Student, 24
I thought it was a little odd. Some of the stuff doesn’t look so Japanese. I guess it’s an American movie, so most people in America wouldn’t notice. You can see the producers were going more for aesthetics than authenticity.

Waka Endo
Student, 20
It’s okay. In Japan, there aren’t any Japanese actresses who speak English well enough to take the part. The Chinese actresses weren’t so skilled at the traditional dance, but probably Japanese actresses aren’t either.

Mike Wheeler
Teacher, 32
It just seems so implausible that they can’t find a single Japanese actress to take any of the leading roles. It’s bad for Japan, but why this should upset China, I don’t know. The Chinese government’s stance is overblown.

Misako Kurokawa
Retail, 24
Great. In the film they spoke slowly in English, so it was easy to understand. If it was in Japanese, it would have been better. It would have been good if they’d used Japanese actresses, but Zhang Zihi is cute, so no problems.

Jonathan Knight
IC design, 39
Art shouldn’t be subject to political considerations, so if the director thought they were the people to cast, then that’s fine. There’s more positive things that could come out of showing the film, like greater cultural understanding.