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"Yellow Peril"

Related: Asia - China - Hong Kong - Japan - Orientalism - racism - stereotype

"The Yellow Terror In All His Glory", 1899 editorial cartoon
Image sourced here. [Dec 2005]

"The back cover of SCREEN WORLD #28, Fall 1981, which contains the first half of an episode-by-episode narrative of the DRUMS OF FU MANCHU serial. The image is a German poster for installment 2 of the serial." -- Robert E. Briney (Email May 1, 1998
Image sourced here.


The Yellow Peril figure has, without question, been a negative one in Western culture. As recent events involving American spy planes have shown, anti-Asian & anti-Chinese bias continues to remain close to the surface of the American psyche, over 80 years after the introduction of the insidious Dr. Fu Manchu. One of the most interesting examples of this bias is the Yellow Peril/Fu Manchu figure, which has appeared in several forms over the decades. What most people do not realize, however, is that the Yellow Peril figure significantly predates Arthur "Sax Rohmer" Ward's writings; Fu Manchu, while the most archetypal of the Yellow Perils, stands as the high point for the stereotype, neither at the beginning nor at the end of the stereotype's history. --http://www.violetbooks.com/yellowperil.html [Jul 2005]

Yellow Peril (sometimes Yellow Terror) was a phrase that originated in the late 19th century with greater immigration of Chinese and Japanese laborers to various Western countries, notably the United States. The term, a color metaphor for race refers to the skin color of east Asians, and the fear that the mass immigration of Asians threatened white wages, standards of living and indeed, civilization itself. The phrase "yellow peril" was common in the newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst.

Many sources credit Kaiser Wilhelm II with coining the phrase "Yellow Peril" (in German, "gelbe Gefahr") in September 1895 and popularizing it by circulating a lurid illustration of a menacing, airborne Buddha riding a dragon across Asia towards Europe, carving a path of destruction and trailing thunder clouds. While immigration of Asians was not a major issue in Europe, the rise of Japan as a major world power was a cause of anxiety for some Europeans.

1898 M. P. Shiel published a short story serial The Yellow Danger. Shiel took the murder of two German missionaries in Kiau-Tschou 1897 to spread his anti-Chinese feelings. In later editions the serial was named The Yellow Peril. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_peril [Jul 2005]

Romance and the "Yellow Peril": Race, Sex, and Discursive Strategies in Hollywood Fiction (1994) - Gina Marchetti

Romance and the "Yellow Peril": Race, Sex, and Discursive Strategies in Hollywood Fiction (1994) - Gina Marchetti [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
Hollywood films about Asians and interracial sexuality are the focus of Gina Marchetti's provocative new work. While miscegenation might seem an unlikely theme for Hollywood, Marchetti shows how fantasy-dramas of interracial rape, lynching, tragic love, and model marriage are powerfully evident in American cinema. The author begins with a discussion of D. W. Griffith's Broken Blossoms, then considers later films such as Shanghai Express, Madame Butterfly, and the recurring geisha movies. She also includes some fascinating "forgotten" films that have been overlooked by critics until now. Marchetti brings the theoretical perspective of recent writing on race, ethnicity, and gender to her analyses of film and television and argues persuasively that these media help to perpetuate social and racial inequality in America. Noting how social norms and taboos have been simultaneously set and broken by Hollywood filmmakers, she discusses the "orientalist" tensions underlying the construction of American cultural identity. Her book will be certain to interest readers in film, Asian, women's, and cultural studies.

About the Author
Gina Marchetti is Assistant Professor of Film at the University of Maryland. Product Details

Many of these films linked the yellow peril to white slavery and the various ... --page 3

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