Life is what happens when you are making other plans~ John Lennon
An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind~Gandhi
The time is always right to do what is right~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sessue Hayakawa

Sessue Hayakawa

Name: Kintaro Hayakawa
DOB: June 10, 1889
Where: Minamiboso, Chiba, Japan
DOD: Nov. 23, 1973
Where: Tokyo, Japan

-Japanese and American Issei(first generation Japanese) actor who starred in American, French, Japanese, German and British films
-He was the first and remains one of the few Asian stars to find stardom in the US and Europe, where Asian actors and actresses may not be held in such high regards
-He had devilishly good looks, and was often typecasted as being a sinister, evil person with a powerful sexual dominance that made him a heartthrob among American women and he was considered the first sex symbol of Hollywood before Rudolf Valentino came on the scene
-In the time he was popular, he was as popular as Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, but today his name goes mainly unknown to general public. Hardly anyone knows just who this mystery man is.
-During the time of his popularity, he had sex appeal and an extravagant lifestyle. This caused tension in American society, which resulted in the stereotyping and desexualizing of Asian males in media
-He left Hollywood and decided to go into movies in Europe, where he would be popular, along with his female counterpart Anna May Wong
-His best known English language film is Bridge on the River Kwai, where he played Colonel Saito.

Early Life
-Born in Nanaura Village, in Minamiboso City, in the Chiba Prefecture, Japan.
-Early on, he was being groomed for a career in naval service. At age 17, he took a dare from a school friend to swim to the bottom of a lagoon and he ruptured his eardrum. Because he failed the Navy's strict physical exam, the relationship between him and his father became strained.
-This relationship drove the young man to attempt seppuku(ritual suicide). One night after dinner, he entered a garden shed, locked his dog outside and spread a sheet on the floor of th shed. He then stabbed himself in the abdomen more than 30 times to uphold his family's Samurai history. The dog's barking ended up saving his life as his father ran out side and took an axe to the door in time to save his son.
-After the failed suicide attempt, he entered the University of Chicago to try and obtain a degree in political economics. Since it was obvious that he would not become a naval officer, they figured he could become a banker. He lived in the US from 1911-1923 and from 1925-1931

Daughter of the Dragon

-At the end of his second year of education, he decided to quit and return to Japan. He decided to go to Los Angeles and try to make it in movies. When he began acting with the Japanese Theatre in Little Tokyo, he began using the name Sessue Hayakawa
-One of his movies was called The Typhoon, in 1914 and another movie he made was called The Wrath of the Gods, and it starred his wife, fellow Issei Tsuru Aoki.
-In 1915, he starred in a movie called The Cheat, with Fannie Ward. Following this film, he became known as a leading man for romantic dramas, and later on, moved to Westerns and action films
-Most of the films he starred in pretty much influence the way Americans look at Asians
-In 1919, he starred with Tsuru Aoki in The Dragon Painter.
-During this time, he was at his peak, his fame rivaling Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and William S. Hart.
-When the 1930s rolled around, his career began to flounder with the arrival of talkies, or movies where the actors talked and people heard them.
-His sound film debut was with the film Daughter of the Dragon in 1931. It was also where he starred opposite Anna May Wong
-In 1961, he became a Zen master, along with a private acting coach.

Bridge on the River Kwai

Racial Barriers
-He was in a special position due to the fame he acquired in the English world. Due to anti-miscgenation laws, he could not marry someone of another race or become a citizrn. In 1930, the Production Code came into effect, meaning it forbade portrayals of other races bad. It meant that unless Hayakawa played opposite someone who was really Asian, he would not be able to do a romance with her.
-Through out his career, he would often come upon the "yellow peril" which would highly affect the way Americans view Asians. This made Hayakawa be typecast constantly as a villain or forbidden lover and unable to play parts that were normally given to white actors such as Douglas Fairbanks
Personal Life
-On May 1, 1914, he married fellow Japanese actress Tsuru Aoki. She died in 1961, which had Hayakawa moving back to Japan to become a Zen master.
-While attending university in Chicago, he learned to play football, being the quarterback. He was penalized for using jujitsu to bring down an opponent

-Retired from acting in 1966
-After his wife died, he returned to Japan to take up Zen martial arts and become a drama coach
-Died in Tokyo on Nov. 23, 1973 from a cerebral thrombosis, caused by pneumonia.
-Buried in Chokeiji Temple Cemetery in Toyama, Japan
-To this day, he is one of the few Asian stars to get a romantic icon status


1 comment:

  1. He was great in one my favorite movies, Bridge on the River Kwai.