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Ghost In The Shell Erasure

Decent Essays
Ghost in the Shell, Iron Fist, Death Note, Doctor Strange, and many others like them have this in common: Erasure of Asian Americans. Whitewashing isn't a new phenomenon in film/tv; however, they all contribute to the basic issue of erasure. In Ghost in the Shell, a white woman plays Japanese character’s role. The same happens in Death Note, Doctor Strange, and Iron Fist where a white actor is put in place of an Asian role, filling the shoes of a culturally insensitive, white-savior based, orientalist role.

What this erasure does is remove Asian-American characters and actors from film and TV shows. As a result, people are unable to see us in these mediums. Characters that would provide an opportunity for audiences to see an Asian American
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These responses are used as a justification for the casting choices being made. They attempt to silence those of us who have problems with them by pointing to some “other group” as being more of an authority than we are. With Ghost in the Shell, people point to an interview with the Anime’s original director, Mamoru Oshii, to counter whitewashing critiques. This leads to the identity erasure issue at the heart of this problem for me.

I’m an Asian-American; specifically, I’m a 4th-generation, mixed race, Japanese-American. The problem with response 1 is it attempts to erase my Asian identity. By saying, “Japanese people in Japan don’t have a problem with Scar Jo in Ghost in the Shell,” what people are actually saying is “REAL Asians don’t care”. This response erases my Asian identity by saying I’m not ACTUALLY Asian because if I were, then I wouldn’t care. Now, let’s ignore the problematic nature of this response in that it groups ALL Japanese people into holding a single opinion which, obviously, is not true. Let’s also ignore the problem that this response conflates the Japanese cultural experience with the Japanese-American cultural experience, which is not at all the same. However, the harm from this response comes from saying that I’m not Asian enough. If I was more Japanese, like those living in Japan, I wouldn’t care. And, since they don’t care, I shouldn’t
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