That's right! Chinese actors. Who don't speak english. In an American film. Written by Arthur Golden, some white guy.
Then the whole thing seems too ridiculous to even get angry about. Clearly these people are totally confused.
Michelle Yeoh defended the casting, saying,
"Director Rob Marshall said he cast actors and actresses who are perfect for the roles rather than by their nationalities...And some of the biggest Japanese names are in the movie, too, like Ken Wanatabe and Koji Yakusho."
So now Japanese actors are tokens in a movie about Japanese people - geisha, for God's sake- set in Japan?
I read Memoirs of a Geisha. It was a pretty good book. Who knows how accurate it is --most Japanese people probably don't even know. There's a lot more to Japan than geisha and samurai, and most people don't get all obsessed by it the way some do here.
I have no problem with the fiction, except that yet again it is a white man telling the story. Of an exotic, economically, socially and sexually oppressed young girl. Japanese girl. Which would also be okay, if it weren't the time we'll see Asians on the big screen this year.
But it is. A few years ago it was The Last Samurai. Now this. Plus Crouching Tiger, Flying Daggers. The only represention of modern Japan in recent Hollywood memory is Lost in Translation, and that whole "lip my stockings" scene blew it.
So here we go again. Chinese, Japanese, what's the diff? They'll be speaking in English anyway. Zhang Ziyi doesn't speak english? no problem, she just has to look pretty. It's about geisha, it'll sell. White guys will flock to it like vultures to a carcass.