Netflix Accused Of White Washing By Using Jared Leto In Yakuza Film
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The Yakuza is a notorious Japanese organised crime syndicate that has been operating on the Asian island for hundreds of years. They've been portrayed in television shows, films and video games as this sinister, not-to-be-messed-with group that shouldn't be crossed.
But a new Netflix film has been accused of white washing after making a white American dude the central plot line of a Yakuza related environment.
Jared Leto will play Nick Lowell in The Outsider, an American prisoner of war in Japan after the end of the Second World War. He shares a cell with a bloke from the Yakuza and they hatch a plan to escape, but Leto, in exchange for his freedom, has to join the crime gang to repay his debt.
People seem to be pretty pissed that the Netflix funded project has decided to use a Caucasian actor to be the centre of the action, who ends up being a killing machine that fucks up the Yakuza.
I thought the whole white washing thing was ridiculous for the Ghost in the Shell live action, but it's not ridiculous in Jarred Leto playing a yakuza gang banger. This doesn't have a dances with wolves or a last samurai feel. Don't know how Netflix got away with this.
- Chris Osborne (@GaijinDragon22) February 24, 2018
Dear @Netflix - replacing an Asian character/actor with a Caucasian character/actor is a form of white washing. Two of your most hyped up recent additions have this problem, and it's upsetting to watch.
- Yaya Han (@YayaHan) February 6, 2018
Seriously!?! Another one of those movies where the Asian actors are props and the story--set in JAPAN--revolves around the ONE Hollywood actor?!?
- Abdul R. Siddiqui (@PakistaniPepper) February 23, 2018
Look, it's worth focusing on the fact that the movie's title is The Outsider, meaning that Leto's character is obviously supposed to not fit in with the Yakuza, both physically and emotionally.
Technically it's not white washing because it's not like the role of Nick Lowell was written as Asian and then they decided to cast a white guy. That has been seen in plenty of Hollywood produced films that should have had a more ethnic cast.
People angry over The Outsider would point towards Matt Damon's lead role in The Great Wall, which was controversial to say the least. Damon wasn't the only Caucasian cast for the film set in medieval China and continued this 'white saviour' narrative.
Another famous criticism of white washing went to Ghost in the Shell, a film adaptation of a Japanese manga series that cast Scarlett Johansson as the lead role. While the people behind the original series were happy with Johansson's portrayal, it didn't stop people from far and wide being angry.
Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton copped a lot of criticism, along with director Ridley Scott for casting the actors, for their roles in Exodus: Gods And Monsters, a film set in Ancient Egypt. There were plenty of Caucasian actors included in the film and it was torn to shreds for not being authentically Egyptian.
Liam Neeson was badass in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, however his character of Ra's al Ghul is of Arab descent in the comic books.
If you're not outraged by Leto's role in The Outsider, you can check it out on Netflix on March 9.