CMU School of Drama

Friday, August 01, 2014

Critics accuse opera of depicting yellowface

MSNBC: A classic play now being performed in Seattle is raising stark questions about racial and cultural attitudes toward Asian Americans. Richard Lui joins to discuss the controversial performance of the opera “The Mikado”.

1 comment:

Janine Rogers said...

I am an Asian American, and I've seen Mikado performed. I wasn't deeply offended by it, but the fact that Japanese culture was being portrayed in this way was definitely problematic.

Due to my own personal background, I am somewhat removed from this issue. I'm only half Asian (my father is white), I've lived in America all my life, I am white-passing (in most contexts, people generally assume I'm fully Caucasian). While my family observes some Chinese customs, I lead a pretty whitewashed life. Thus, when presented with something like Mikado, it doesn't quite hit me deep down.

However, I am still a member of the Asian American community and I am still sick of modern attitudes towards Asian culture. In addition to operas such as Mikado still being popular, there are still perceptions of Asian culture such as in the weeaboo and otaku communities. In America, there has been a recent fascination with Asian culture to the point of belittlement and fetishization, and Mikado is just one example of this phenomenon.