16.08.2015
Rising Sun, a novel by Michael Crichton about the cutthroat competitive tactics of a giant Japanese conglomerate, was accused of Japan-bashing.
The movie takes place in modern Los Angeles, where a Japanese multinational corporation operates out of one of those towering skyscrapers where the security guards seem to know everybody's business.
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Virginia Madsen is a mother named Gena who loses her son at the hands of a Japanese hit man during a planned job. Zhang Ziyi plays a Japanese woman who from a modest existence of a fishing village becomes a geisha in Kyoto. Before seeing Rising Sun and then reading the Michael Crichton thriller it’s based on, I happened to read four negative reviews of the movie, and was more than a little taken aback by them. I seriously doubt any of these reviewers meant to say that Rising Sun would be a better movie if it were more racist, but that’s the drift of their remarks. Certainly the movie draws on xenophobic impulses, but it never seems guilty of the contempt for Asians expressed in Sixteen Candles, for instance, by the character Long Duck Dong (Gedde Watanabe), and it even goes out of its way to point up the knee-jerk racism of one of the investigators (Harvey Keitel).
But in Kaufman’s mind, I suspect, the point of the movie is neither racism nor xenophobia. For Japanese Americans reading this passage I suspect the argument has a very familiar ring.


A more detailed expression of Yoshino’s objection to the movie, recently published in USA Today, comes from Karen K. Few such complaints are likely to be lodged against the movie, which uses the world of business as a backdrop for a much more conventional Hollywood plot, in which Sherlock Holmes and Charlie Chan meet "Basic Instinct." All of the real villains in the film are Americans, and few of the Japanese are developed much beyond the complexity necessary to make them interesting foils for the cops. You will receive a weekly newsletter full of movie-related tidbits, articles, trailers, even the occasional streamable movie.
Sex scenes provide the heat and passion in any movie, especially when it involves compelling characters in the thick of the drama. Chris Kenner also gets involved with a sexy Japanese woman named Minako Okeya who is the object of the crime boss' desires as well. Kaufman spreads corruption around among all the characters, heroes included, and diverts us with the gurulike pronouncements of the senior cop Connor (Sean Connery at his most elegant) to his junior partner Smith (Wesley Snipes) about the differences between Japanese and American problem solving. Yoshino, the midwest director of the Japanese American Citizens League, protests that in the movie “the Japanese . And even that movie is less responsible for racism in this culture than the ignorance and desire for generalizations that generated it and other films of its ilk.
Consider the complete lack of concern for, even interest in, the female murder victim who sets the plot in motion in both book and movie.
Movie plots definitely get more intriguing when they delve into the wonders of the Japanese culture.
The Japanese men are either inscrutable businessmen intent on taking over the USA by whatever nefarious means necessary or one-dimensional gangsters.
Japan-bashing resulted in the tragic 1982 murder of Vincent Chin by two men who blamed Japan for Detroit auto layoffs and mistook him for a Japanese. Audiences can grasp the familiar relationships that comes with sex no matter what world the movie explores.


Striving for positive generalizations is an understandable recourse given the prejudice and discrimination that most minorities in this country face and the callous demographic calculations that govern most Hollywood movies, but it generally plays havoc with how we see these films. So the LAPD turns to its "special liaison" unit and calls in a shadowy, legendary cop named John Connor (Sean Connery) and his partner, Web Smith (Wesley Snipes).From the moment Connor and Smith arrive on the scene, the movie turns into a variation on the cop buddy movie. In fact, it reaches all the way back to perhaps the earliest versions of the formula, Sherlock Holmes stories and Charlie Chan movies. For one thing, the noblest and most courageous act in the entire movie is performed by a Japanese character named Eddie (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) on behalf of Smith. The cops work with a computer video expert named Jingo (Tia Carrere), who is able to undo the computer dirty work, leading to the discovery of the person who may or may not be the killer, and certainly looks guilty as hell.In the midst of servicing this cooked-up plot, the movie genuflects occasionally in the direction of its ostensible subject, American-Japanese competition.
Most of the Japanese in the film have motives that are easily understandable and often blameless, and they don't seem to have tactics so much as the ability to make other people believe they have tactics. Much more is attributed to the Japanese here than is ever seen being done by them.What perturbs us the most about competition with the Japanese, I sometimes think, is that we don't resent their methods - we envy them.
Descriptions of Japanese business tactics are almost always linked with gloomy musings that we should be doing the same thing.The Sean Connery character in "Rising Sun" is seen to be good because he has spent much time in Japan, loved a Japanese woman, and absorbed so much of the Japanese character that he is damn near as smart as Mr. Even then it fails, because the alert viewer can easily determine the identity of the real killer by using my Law of Economy of Characters, which teaches us that since movie budgets cannot afford unnecessary salaries, any apparently unnecessary or extraneous major character is undoubtedly the villain (remember, for example, Whitney Houston's sister in "The Bodyguard")."Rising Sun" is, of course, a slick, goodlooking movie.



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