I’ve commented before that I get a kick out of Anime’s portrayal of America and Americans. Here’s a glimpse into China’s through the guy that always plays the American character in Chinese movies:

“I’m the American; I’m this rich guy who’s arrogant. And I come to China arrogantly, and I fall in love with an oriental beauty, and I pursue her for however long – 10, 12, 20 episodes. But in the end she makes the right choice and sticks with her Chinese boyfriend,” he says.

He even plays that role in the historical dramas so beloved of Chinese television viewers — for instance, in Princess Deling, where Kos-Read courts a Qing dynasty princess who works at the imperial court. Another of the roles he often plays can be summed up as the China ingenue, or as he puts it, “The fool, who comes to China, and is disdainful — ‘Man, China sucks’ — but then, through his exposure to the awesomeness that is China, he slowly realizes how wrong he was.”

As a veteran of 90 different Chinese showbiz projects, Kos-Read has drawn his own conclusions on the view of Americans in Chinese popular culture.

“Usually the Americans are stereotyped as the good guy,” he says. “I can’t think of an evil character that I’ve played who was American,” he says. “For the most part, the evil characters are French and English, and the dumb characters are German.”

Category: Theater

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One Response to Our Man in China

  1. web says:

    I’m reminded of the ridiculous portrayal of America as brought forth in the recent “Karate Kid” debacle featuring Will Smith’s unwatchable spawn.

    Specifically, all the various little propaganda bits the Chinese communist government insisted on having thrown in, including of course Jackie Chan’s nonsensical little “get switch, save world” rant.

    The xenophobia and racism of the Chinese is actually commonly documented, such as the experience of Benjamin Haas being censored out of China’s most popular show because… well… he won and he’s not Chinese.

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