Asian Americans in arts and entertainment

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Asian Americans have been involved in the entertainment industry since the first half of the 19th century, when Chang and Eng Bunker (the original "Siamese Twins") became naturalized citizens.[1] Acting roles in television, film, and theater were relatively few, and many available roles were for narrow, stereotypical characters. Early Asian American actors such as Sessue Hayakawa, Anna May Wong, and Bruce Lee encountered a movie-making culture that wanted to cast them as caricatures.

Bruce Lee abandoned Hollywood in the early 1970s and achieved worldwide fame in Hong Kong. On another level, frustrated with the limited opportunities given to them, seven Asian American actors formed East West Players (EWP), a Los Angeles-based Asian American theater company, in 1965, to produce their own shows, and the company continues today.

More recently, young Asian American comedians and filmmakers have also found an outlet on YouTube and the Internet, allowing them to gain a strong and loyal fanbase. Notable YouTubers include comedians such as Ryan Higa, Kevin Wu, entertainers such as Dan Chan and Christine Gambito; musicians such as Far East Movement, Sam Tsui, David Choi, and Kina Grannis; and the filmmaking group Wong Fu Productions. These entertainers have gained notable followings, mainly with young Asian American students, through solo and collaborative videos, short films and tours.

19th century[edit]

Chang and Eng Bunker had a stable career in entertainment.[1]



Margaret Cho, comedienne

Anna May Wong was the first actor of Asian descent to be the leading star of an American television series when she starred in the television series The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong.[2]

George Takei and Pat Morita became famous for supporting roles in Star Trek and Happy Days. In 1976, Morita starred in the first American sitcom centered on a person of Asian descent, Mr. T and Tina and went on to become widely known as the mentor Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid movies of the 1980s. Other Asian Americans from this period include Bruce Lee on the Green Hornet and Jack Soo of Barney Miller. Also noteworthy was Keye Luke, who portrayed Master Po in the television series Kung Fu, and was the voice of Charlie Chan in the 1972 animated series The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, which featured a mystery solving Chinese American family.

Margaret Cho, stand-up comedian and actress, had a leading role in her own television comedy series All American Girl in the 1990s. Her character was a Korean-American (as is Cho), who struggled with her family and cultural issues in San Francisco. The show included other Asian American actors such as Amy Hill, who played Cho's grandmother, who has starred in numerous television and movie roles throughout her life, including in episodes of Six Feet Under and Desperate Housewives. Despite being a breakthrough in prime-time television, All American Girl show was cancelled after one season due to low ratings. After its run, due to the way it was handled and the pressures that were forced on her to conform to vague mainstream expectations to try to make the show a success, Cho suffered a huge psychotic break and self-disappointment that led to her drug and alcohol addiction. (Later, it would be revealed that female stars of even successful sitcoms go through similar trials as related by Roseanne Barr in her story for New York Magazine in 2011.[3]) Cho has since regained popularity and success from her 2000 one-woman show I'm the One That I Want and through her current involvement in Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime.

Lucy Liu had a major part in the television series Ally McBeal from 1998 to 2002 before going on to lead roles in feature films. Daniel Dae Kim and Sendhil Ramamurthy have achieved some recognition as sex symbols for their respective roles on Lost and Heroes as has Jon Gosselin from the reality show Jon and Kate Plus 8; B. D. Wong, who starred in the Broadway production of M. Butterfly and is the only actor to have won a Tony, a Drama Desk award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, among others currently stars on Law & Order: SVU after being featured in the critically acclaimed series Oz.

Daniel Dae Kim currently stars in the CBS crime drama Hawaii Five-0 alongside fellow Asian-American actors Grace Park (rising to fame in Battlestar Galactica)and Masi Oka and Sendhil Ramamurthy recently starred in the USA action spy series Covert Affairs.

Kal Penn was formerly a regular on the popular medical television series House M.D. in one of his best known roles. Asian American actor Charlyne Yi was also a regular on House, and was with the show from 2011 until it ended.

Mindy Kaling has been a regular on the critically acclaimed and immensely popular US version of The Office since the beginning of the show in 2005 until 2012 and now is the series lead and creator of her own television series The Mindy Project which is also the very first U.S. television series starring a South Asian American series lead.[4][5]

After landing a role on As the World Turns, Ming-Na starred as Dr. Deb Chen in the medical drama television series ER from 1995 to 2004 and played a lead in The Joy Luck Club. She went on to star in other successful television series such as Stargate Universe and lent her voice to the protagonist in the animated film Mulan.

Parminder Nagra (British Asian) was featured as a cast member on the medical drama ER as Dr. Neela Rasgotra for five seasons from 2003-2009 all the way until the end of the series.

Masi Oka and James Kyson Lee are two lead Asian actors that are on the popular television series Heroes. Oka, a math major when he attended Brown University, is also the only lead actor on the show to be nominated for either an Emmy or Golden Globe Award. Sonja Sohn was a series regular on the entire run of the critically acclaimed television series The Wire. Tila Tequila was the star of the two-season MTV show A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.

Olivia Munn, from Oklahoma of Chinese descent on her mother's side, is an actress, model, and television personality is best known as a correspondent on The Jon Stewart Show. She co-hosted G4's Attack of the Show!, and enjoyed roles in movies such as Iron Man 2. South Korea-born SuChin Pak was a news correspondent frequently seen on MTV News and now the host of G Word for Planet Green. Reiko Aylesworth was part of the cast of the critically acclaimed hit television series 24. Kirk Acevedo was a lead actor on various television and was known for his regular roles on popular television series such as Oz, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, and Fringe.

Both Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Jennie Kwan in the past were both popularly known to the teen and children audiences for their roles on television series Saved by the Bell and California Dreams respectively both aimed at youth in the 1990s. The late Thuy Trang is probably a familiar face to many children and young adults for her role as Trini Kwan, the original yellow ranger, in the hit youth television show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and since Thuy there have been many Asian American actors who have succeeded her in the Power Rangers Franchise. Brenda Song is a Thai-Hmong American actress known to younger audiences for starring in several Disney Channel productions including The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior 1 and 2, Stuck in the Suburbs, The Suite Life on Deck, and, most recently, The Social Network.

Recently the hit US television series Survivor created teams along racial lines during Survivor: Cook Islands. People of East and Southeast Asian ancestry composed the Asian American tribe.[6] Asian American Yul Kwon won the season.

Korean-American actresses Yun Jin Kim and Sandra Oh (Asian Canadian) of the ABC television series Lost and Grey's Anatomy, respectively, were during their series' runs the main two Asian American actors in lead roles on network television (the latter is still on air), although both part of large-ensemble casts, where minority characters are more likely to be found. Korean-American actor Steven Yeun plays one of the leading roles oa Glenn in AMC's The Walking Dead.

Jenna Ushkowitz, Darren Criss, and Harry Shum, Jr. of hugely popular teen-hit Glee are also prominent Asian American actors currently on network television. Darren Criss is a half-Filipino actor who also recently gained fame through the viral hit A Very Potter Musical.

Danny Pudi and Ken Jeong are series regular on the popular cult NBC comedy series Community and through the run of the show Pudi's character became the show's breakout character mainly due to the character's personality, pop culture references, and style of meta comedy. Aziz Ansari former star and co-creator of the famed cult sketch comedy Human Giant is currently a series regular on the critically acclaimed and exceptionally popular NBC political satire & comedy television series Parks and Recreation. Amy Hill is also currently a series regular on the critically acclaimed cult HBO comedy series Enlightened. Lucy Liu plays lead Joan Watson alongside Jonny Lee Miller (Sherlock Holmes) in Elementary.

Chloe Bennet is a Chinese-European American who gained fame as a pop star in China under the name, Wāng Kěyíng (汪可盈). She stars in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as one of the main leads alongside Ming-Na Wen.

Film and television actor, Daniel Henney, who is half Korean, had been a recurring guest-star on CBS' Hawaii Five-0 and guest-starred in NCIS: Los Angeles. Also a recurring guest star in Hawaii Five-0 is Ian Anthony Dale, who starred in The Event and stars in Murder in the First.

Ryan Potter first rose to prominence in the hit kid's TV show, Supah Ninjas and has since lent his voice for the animated film, Big Hero 6 alongside Daniel Henney. He has also starred in some of Wong Fu Productions' short films and a music video for Kina Grannis's Write it in the Sky (Ken Loi Remix) with Arden Cho. Arden Cho is a Korean-American actress, singer, and model, starring in the prominent TV show, Teen Wolf as Kira Yukimura.

Jamie Chung is a Korean-American actress and former reality television personality. She first gained fame in 2004 as a cast member on the MTV reality series, The Real World: San Diego and appearing on its spin-off show, Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno II. She is regarded by many as the Real World alumna with the most successful media career. She has since been a recurring guest star on Once Upon a Time as Mulan.

Jadyn Wong is a Chinese-Canadian actress who is one of the main leads on the new CBS hit show Scorpion which centers around people with genius-level IQs solving crimes as part of Homeland Security's new think tank. It is inspired by the life of Walter O'Brien who is portrayed by Elyes Gabel who is of Algerian, French, Spanish, Dutch, Anglo-Indian, Irish, and Portuguese descent. The English actor has portrayed Dr. Gupreet "Guppy" Sandhu in the BBC medical drama Casualty, Dothraki Rakharo in the first and second season of the HBO series Game of Thrones, Rob Cleaver in the BBC drama Waterloo Road, and Detective Adam Lucas in Season 3 of Body of Proof.

John Cho, most famous for starring as Harold in the film series Harold & Kumar alongside Kal Penn, has made headlines for starring as the romantic male lead - opposite Karen Gillan - in the TV show, Selfie which has unfortunately been cancelled after its first season.

The first American sitcom starring an all Asian-American family since Margaret Cho's All American Girl aired in February 2015, gaining overall critical acclaim among the TV show community. Among its cast is Randall Park, Constance Wu, Hudson Yang, and Ian Chen. It is based on food personality Eddie Huang's book, Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir.

Maggie Q, of Vietnamese, Polish, and Irish descent, achieved international fame when she starred as the title role in the TV show, Nikita. She has since portrayed Tori Wu in the film adaptation of Veronica Roth's book series, Divergent and starred as Lieutenant Beth Davis in the show, Stalker opposite Dylan McDermott.

Hayley Kiyoko is an American singer/songwriter and actress who is of Japanese, Scottish, and English descent. She was most notable for starring as Velma Dinkley in Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins and Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster and portraying Stella Yamada in the Disney Channel movie, Lemonade Mouth. She is currently starring in CSI: Cyber as Raven Ramirez.


Anna May Wong was the first Asian American to have become an international acting star.[7] She became a fashion icon during the silent film era, beginning with her success in the film The Toll of the Sea, the first color feature to be made in Hollywood. During her career she sought roles that portrayed Chinese and Asian Americans in a positive light, but these films never became famous except for a select few such as the film Daughter of Shanghai. Frustrated by being stereotyped and typecast during her career in the U.S. she moved to Europe, where she appeared in many critically acclaimed plays and films, the most notable of which was the British film Piccadilly. She later returned to the U.S. in an ironic twist, at a time when American studios were searching Europe for fresh new talent, despite the fact that she is an American. She returned with promises of leading roles, but these did not come about due to racism in the U.S. She eventually stopped acting in professional films and turned to stage, cabaret, B movies, and anti-Japanese propaganda films such as Bombs Over Burma due to her being an advocacy against the Japanese aggression in China. She was set to make her comeback with the 1961 film Flower Drum Song but was unable to due to failing health. Despite a prolific career Wong's only film to have ever been a truly big success was Shanghai Express.

Sessue Hayakawa was the first and one of the few Asian American/Asian actors to find stardom in the United States and Europe and was also the first leading Asian male actor in the USA. He became the first male sex symbol of Hollywood long before and the precursor to Rudolph Valentino.[8][9] His fame rivaled that of Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin.[10][11] His fame began during the silent film era, leading into sound pictures in his later life. He started acting after he wandered into a theatre in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. He became a film actor in a somewhat reluctant and accidental manner when the famous producer Thomas Ince saw the theatre's play called The Typhoon and wanted to turn it into a silent film and when it was released the film was an instant hit. With rising stardom he was eventually offered film contract by Famous Players-Lasky now Paramount Pictures.[12] His second film with the production company, The Cheat, was a success and made him a romantic hit with US female audiences. He became a leading man of romance films, considered a heartthrob and a sex symbol; many actresses wanted to work with him in films, in which he was often cast as the exotic male Asian lover that women desired. After years of being typecast as a villain and exotic Asian lover that white women could not have, he decided to start his own production company, where he eventually made 23 films; he produced, starred in, and directed them, and contributed to their design, writing, and editing. His films also influenced the way the USA viewed Asians.[11] He personally chose the highly popular American actress Marin Sais to appear opposite him in his films such as The City of Dim Faces and His Birthright. Hayakawa's collaboration with Sais ended with the 1919 film Bonds of Honor. In 1919 Hayakawa made what is generally considered one of his best films, The Dragon Painter. During this period Hayakawa was at his peak fame he was one of the highest paid stars of the era, making $2 million a year through his production company throughout the 1920s.[11] After some bad business he left the US and for the next 15 years he worked in Europe and Japan where he made many popular films and plays such as the films The Great Prince Chan and the play Samurai which he performed for the king and queen of England at that time King George V and Queen Mary and a stage play version of The Three Musketeers. His fame in France came from France's fascination with anything Asian.[11] In the 1930s with the rise of Talkies and growing Anti-Japanese sentiment due to World War II. During the war he tried to perform in Europe but eventually became trapped by the Germans and for years wasn't able to work as an actor until 1949 when Humphrey Bogart tracked him and down and offered him a role in the his film Tokyo Joe which became a hit and afterwards he did another successful film Three Came Home. After the war his image in films this time was as the honorable villain which he became typecasted as and from it he starred in what is considered to be his most famous film of his entire career The Bridge on the River Kwai for which he was nominated for both an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award. After the film he mostly retired from acting. During his time as a Hollywood sex symbol and a leading man in romantic films coupled with his good looks led to millions of American women desiring an affair with Hayakawa and from it his popularity, sex appeal and extravagant lifestyle angered the whites and blacks of American society, resulting in discriminatory stereotypes being created to make Asian men appear less appealing, fuelled with the belief of yellow peril. Many of these negative stereotypes continue to this day, affecting especially Asian men in American society.[12]

Miyoshi Umeki won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1957 for Sayonara. Haing Ngor won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1985 for The Killing Fields. Lou Diamond Phillips had leading roles in several motion pictures including La Bamba, Young Guns, Che, and Stand and Deliver.

Sho Kosugi achieved stardom in the United States and internationally during the 1980s. After playing the third lead in Enter the Ninja (1981), he was given the lead starring role in the follow-up film Revenge of the Ninja (1983). He would go on to star in 6 more films: Ninja III: The Domination (1984), 9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985), Pray For Death (1985), Rage of Honor (1987), Black Eagle (1988), and Journey of Honor (1991) which he also produced and co-wrote. He also received “special appearance” credit in Aloha Summer (1988) and Blind Fury (1989), and was the third lead in the Japanese film Kyokuto Kuroshakai (1993). Sho also co-starred in the NBC TV series The Master where he played double-duty as the lead villain and also doubled for actor Lee Van Cleef in most of the fight scenes. Along with his on-screen work, Sho also served as fight choreographer, ninja technical advisor, and stunt coordinator on many of his projects. He also directed two V-cinema movies in Japan starring his son Kane Kosugi. After 16 years off the silver screen, Sho returned as the lead villain in Ninja Assassin (2009) produced by Hollywood heavyweights the Wachowskis, Joel Silver and Grant Hill.

Lucy Liu, television and film actress

Lucy Liu was one of the lead actresses in the popular Charlie's Angels movie series and continued to hold her own in Rob Marshall's Chicago & Quentin Tarentino's Kill Bill: Volume 1 the latter for which she was paid $5.5 million. She also was the first Asian American woman to host Saturday Night Live[13] in 2000. She also recently had hit releases with the film Kung Fu Panda and its sequel.

Shin Koyamada became best known to audience after his co-starring role "Nobutada" in Warner Bros. Pictures Action epic The Last Samurai, starring Tom Cruise and also starred in Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior with Brenda Song.

John Cho, a Korea-born American actor, famously portrayed Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek reboot, as well as appearing in the first American Pie series and the Harold & Kumar series along with popular Indian American actor Kal Penn. Penn, who in addition to playing one of Dr. House's four fellows in the medical drama House from 2007 to 2009, also starred in The Namesake, one of his favorite books, taught a course and seminar on images of Asian Americans in the media at the University of Pennsylvania and appeared on 24 and How I Met Your Mother.

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa frequently fills film roles that require an Asian American star and has an extensive film and television appearance history. While often portraying a villain, such as the soul-stealing sorcerer Shang Tsung in the film adaptation of the video game Mortal Kombat, he was interviewed in the documentary The Slanted Screen (2006), directed by Jeff Adachi, about the representation of Asian and Asian American men in Hollywood.

The international star Joan Chen (Chong Chen) was featured in numerous films from China, the USA, Australia, and many other countries. She has won numerous awards for her acting and has also directed a film.

Claudia Kim, a South-Korean actress, recently starred in the blockbuster movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron as Dr. Helen Cho. Another prominent South-Korean actor is Lee Byung Hun, who has starred in numerous American production including Red 2, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and Terminator Genisys. Accomplished South-Korean singer and actor Rain starred in the American films, Speed Racer and Ninja Assassin. Rain became the first Korean-born actor to play a main character in a Hollywood movie. He won the Biggest Badass Award at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards for starring in the latter of the two films.

Making waves in the entertainment industry, Korean-born, US-raised actor Ki Hong Lee rose to international fame as Minho in the film adaptation of James Dashner's book series, The Maze Runner. He has also starred in numerous Wong Fu Productions short films and portrayed Paul in The Nine Lives of Chloe King and Dong Nguyen in the Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Film directing[edit]

Ang Lee, director

Ang Lee is the much sought-after director of the critically acclaimed Brokeback Mountain, Eat Drink Man Woman, Sense and Sensibility, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Life of Pi, three of which have won Academy Awards. Although much of Ang Lee's work does not deal specifically with Asian people, themes or settings, Lee has made one film in his native Taiwan (Eat Drink Man Woman) and two films in mainland China (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Lust, Caution). In addition, his first two features, Pushing Hands and The Wedding Banquet, both set in the United States, deal primarily with Taiwanese and Chinese American characters and their attempts to navigate between the demands of their ancestral traditions and contemporary American culture. Pushing Hands deals with an interracial marriage where the man, of Chinese ancestry, has brought his traditional-minded father to live with the family, which is a source of tension with his wife until they learn to appreciate one another's cultures. The Wedding Banquet is a comedy that deals with a young, prosperous Taiwanese-born gay man who lives and works in New York, and his attempts to conceal his sexual orientation from his visiting parents, who are pushing him to marry.

M. Night Shyamalan has directed a number of movies, including Signs, The Village, Unbreakable, and the Academy Award-nominated The Sixth Sense.

Mira Nair has acclaimed movies including Salaam Bombay, Monsoon Wedding and The Namesake to her credit.

Director Justin Lin brought attention to the experiences of Asian Americans through his movie Better Luck Tomorrow, which included an almost exclusively Asian American cast. He has since directed The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, its prequel Fast & Furious, and the sequels Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6.

Cary Fukunaga, an American of Japanese and Swedish descent, won the directing and cinematography awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival for Sin Nombre. His 2011 film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender was also well received.

Wayne Wang is a pioneering director and writer of Asian American cinema, having made notable films such as Chan is Missing, Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart, Life Is Cheap... But Toilet Paper Is Expensive, Chinese Box, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, The Princess of Nebraska, The Joy Luck Club, and Eat a Bowl of Tea. He was very well known in the 90s for directing the hit Independent film Smoke and he has also had mainstream success with the films Anywhere but Here, Maid in Manhattan, and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

Gregg Araki is an influential American independent filmmaker of Japanese ancestry, who is especially noted for his often playful, punk-influenced work dealing with young, often gay, members of generation X trying to define themselves in the wake of the AIDS epidemic, rampant consumerism, and childhood trauma. His films such as The Doom Generation, The Living End and Nowhere were seen to exemplify the alienation and hedonistic abandon of their times, while his 2004 film Mysterious Skin, featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a dramatic role, was highly acclaimed for a dark and realistic portrait of the effects of child sexual abuse.

So Yong Kim is a Korean American independent filmmaker who was awarded the Special Jury Prize at Sundance for her debut feature, In Between Days, which was shot in Toronto, but was loosely based on her own experiences growing up in Los Angeles as a newly arrived immigrant who felt alienated from the surrounding world. In the film, the protagonist is a teenage Korean girl transplanted to North America who must take responsibility for her own life as her mother is not around much and her father is estranged from the family. A raw, largely improvised romance shot digitally with first-time actors, In Between Days received enough attention for Kim to make her next film, the childhood drama Treeless Mountain, in her birth country of South Korea. Her latest and third feature, For Ellen, is set in the United States and stars Paul Dano as a man going through a divorce.


See also: List of Asian-American writers. Major films have been based on Asian American novels, such as Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake (2007) and Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club. Others have been created based on stories about Asian American communities.[clarification needed]

Film and TV production and theater[edit]

Wah Chang was the designer for many of the props on the Star Trek series as well as The Time Machine, which received an Academy Award for special effects.

James Wong, a Hong Kong-born writer raised in the US, was a writer, co-executive producer and consulting producer of The X-Files in its first, second and fourth seasons (1993-1997); co-creator, producer and writer of the TV series Space: Above and Beyond (1995-1996); and writer, consulting producer and co-executive producer of Millennium in its first and second seasons (1996-1998). Before The X-Files, Wong had worked as a writer on police dramas such as 21 Jump Street, The Commish, Booker and Wiseguy as well as on the script for the independent crime film The Boys Next Door (1984), starring Charlie Sheen in his first leading role. Wong later wrote, produced and directed horror and action films such as Final Destination (2000) and the Jet Li-starring The One (2001), and he was hired by 20th Century Fox to direct Dragonball Evolution (2009), although like other producers and crew members on that production, complained of having little creative input as the studio made all the major decisions. As part of the initial production crew on The X-Files, Wong was among the most influential four writer-producers who worked closely with X-Files creator Chris Carter to define the characters, plots and aesthetics of the new series (the others were Glen Morgan, Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa). Wong was responsible with his longtime writing partner Glen Morgan for introducing a number of elements that defined The X-Files throughout its run. Wong co-wrote "Squeeze," only the second X-Files episode ever produced, and the first "monster of the week" episode, which would provide a template for two thirds of the future episodes of the series; "Ice," the first episode to focus centrally on the Mulder/Scully relationship as the key to its plot; "Beyond the Sea," the first episode to receive notable critical acclaim beyond the science fiction genre, the first episode with serious character development for Gillian Anderson in her role as Dana Scully, and also Carter's personal favorite episode of the series; "E.B.E.," the first episode to introduce The Lone Gunmen trio of characters, whose popularity resulted in their own short-lived spinoff series (without Wong's participation) in 2001; "Tooms," the first episode to introduce the character of Walter Skinner, Mulder and Scully's boss, who would become a more central character over the remainder of the series, and also the first episode to give a speaking part to the Cigarette Smoking Man, the main nemesis of Mulder and Scully for most of the series' run; "Little Green Men," the first mythology episode to make use of voiceover and flashback; "Blood," the first episode to include a story contribution from Glen Morgan's brother Darin Morgan, who would become the most acclaimed X-Files writer and the only one to win an Emmy for his writing; "3," the first episode in which Mulder or Scully was involved in a sexual situation; "One Breath," the resolution episode for the abduction plot that was the foundation of the series' long running mythology; "Die Hand Die Verletzt," the first episode in which Kim Manners, who became the series' most prolific director over its nine seasons, was brought on board to direct, being an acquaintance of Morgan and Wong from their work with Manners on previous TV series; and "Home," the first episode to be preceded by a warning from the network that it was intended for mature audiences only due to its disturbing content. James Wong, in his directorial debut, also directed the episode "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man," for which he received an Emmy nomination, also becoming the first member of the series's regular writing staff (after Chris Carter) to direct an episode, as well as the only person of color to ever direct an X-Files episode. Wong's Emmy nomination for directing "Musings" made him the first Asian American to receive an Emmy nomination for directing anything on television; at that time, no Asian American and no person of Chinese descent had yet been nominated for an Oscar for directing a film. Wong was also, along with Chris Carter (nominated a year later) the only director of an X-Files episode to be Emmy nominated for his work. As part of The X-Files main production team in 1994-1995, Wong shared the show's first Golden Globe Award win for Best Dramatic Series, and also shared its second win (The X-Files would become the first series to win a Golden Globe three times) in the 1996-1997 season.

Mindy Kaling, a Dartmouth graduate, has been involved from the beginning in the production of the American series of The Office, having originally been the only female writer on a staff of eight; since the show's eighth season she has been an executive producer. She has since created her own show, The Mindy Project which she produces, writes, and stars in.

Lance Fong was the director of photography on recent Hollywood hits 300, The Watchmen, Super 8, and Suckerpunch.[14]

Mark Yoshikawa was the editor on several of Terrence Malick's films, including The New World, The Tree of Life, and will be on the forthcoming Knight of Cups.[15][16]

Curt Apduhan is a NATAS News/Documentary Cinematography Emmy awarded cinematographer for the Sundance Channel feature documentary Amargosa, about a dancer who performs regularly in an opera house in a California ghost town.

In 2007, Myx TV became the first Asian American music, entertainment and lifestyle network.


The musical Flower Drum Song was based on the 1957 novel, The Flower Drum Song, by Chinese-American author C. Y. Lee, which in turn was based on the San Francisco nightclub Forbidden City that was popular for military men in transit during World War II. Rodgers and Hammerstein adapted it into a musical produced on Broadway in 1958 and on film in 1961, and both starred a number of Asian American actors. Largely remembered for the hit song "I Enjoy Being A Girl", it would not be produced with an all-Asian American cast until a 2002 Broadway revival.

In 1965, frustrated with the limited opportunities given to them, actors Mako, James Hong, Beulah Quo, Pat Li, and June Kim, together with Guy Lee and Yet Lock, formed East West Players (EWP), a Los Angeles-based Asian American theater company – the first of its kind. They produced their own shows to allow Asian American actors the opportunity to perform a wide range of leading roles. As the need still exists, EWP continues today. Dozens of other Asian American theater companies have since formed in major cities throughout the USA, providing similar outlets elsewhere.[clarification needed]

In 1988, playwright David Henry Hwang's Broadway hit M. Butterfly won a Tony Award for Best Play, among other awards. Singer and actress Lea Salonga, who broke out in the lead role in the musical Miss Saigon, was also the first Asian to play the roles of Éponine and Fantine in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway, and is still active on Broadway.

Margaret Cho won the American Comedy Award for Best Female Comedian in 1994. Comedian Byron Yee's show Paper Son was awarded "Outstanding Solo Show" at the New York International Fringe Festival.[17][when?]


I.M. Pei, world-renowned architect

Notable works of world architecture have been designed by Asian Americans, such as the Louvre Pyramid (I.M. Pei), the World Trade Center (Minoru Yamasaki), and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Maya Lin). In commercial architecture, Gyo Obata is a founding partner of HOK (formerly Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum), which designed the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. and the Taipei World Trade Center. Fazlur Rahman Khan designed the John Hancock Center and the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), both in Chicago.

Fashion design[edit]

Many Asian Americans have made their mark in the fashion world. Vera Wang, friend to Anna Wintour, and Anna Sui have been working as highly accomplished and awarded fashion designers for years. Philippines-born Monique Lhuillier's dresses are on the Hollywood red carpet and Vietnamese-American Chloe Dao won Project Runway in spring 2006. Other designers include Phillip Lim, 2006 CFDA Emerging Talent Award Winner Doo-Ri Chung, and 2005 Winner Derek Lam; all three have been featured in Vogue magazine several times. At the Fashion Institute of Technology, 23 percent of the nearly 1,200 students now enrolled are either Asian or Asian American.[18]


With the advent of YouTube, young Asian Americans have become more prominent, gaining large followings through filmmaking, comedy, or music. This includes video bloggers/comedians such as The Fung Brothers, Kevin Wu, Ryan Higa and the filmmaking group Wong Fu Productions. The latter's growing influence is evident especially in Wong Fu Productions' annual concert series, International Secret Agents (ISA), which often sell out, and in which many popular Asian American guest performers appear, including Far East Movement or Poreotics. Kevin Wu's recent appearance on the 17th season of The Amazing Race marked another significant venture into mainstream media.[19] These along with other rising Asian American talents have shared and documented their journey in Asian American blogs, including[20] Amped Asia magazine,[21] Hyphen magazine, and Mochi.[22]

Brothers Jimmy Wong and Freddie Wong also own popular YouTube channels, with the former acting in and the latter producing the web series Video Game High School.


Asian American writers have received numerous top awards in fiction and nonfiction writing. Women writers have been particularly prominent for their work of telling a wide range of stories of immigrant experience, changing cultures and aspects of Asian American imagination, spanning continents, eras and points of view. Maxine Hong Kingston won the National Book Critics Circle award in 1976 for her memoir The Woman Warrior. Bharati Mukherjee won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1988 for her short-story collection The Middleman and Other Stories. Jessica Hagedorn won a 1990 American Book Award for her novel Dogeaters. Chang-Rae Lee received the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for his novel Native Speaker (1995). Amy Tan has received popular acclaim for her work and had a novel produced as a film. Jhumpa Lahiri received a 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her short story collection The Interpreter of Maladies. Kiran Desai won the British Man Booker Prize (2006) and National Book Critics Circle Award (2006) for her second novel The Inheritance of Loss. Her mother Anita Desai has also been nominated for major awards for her novels. Naomi Hirahara won a 2007 Edgar Award for her novel Snakeskin Shamisen.

Graphic artists[edit]

Jim Lee is considered[by whom?] to be one of the most popular comic book artists and is one of the founders of Image Comics. Adrian Tomine's cartoons are featured in The New Yorker.

Dave Halili (of Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, Pacific Islander, and European heritage) is a contemporary American fine arts illustrator, graffiti writer and graphic designer of album cover paintings, posters, logos, T-shirts and other graphical merchandise. His best-known works are the CD /record covers for Ice-T and tour apparel for bands such as No Doubt, Stone Temple Pilots, Kurtis Blow, Fishbone and others.


Hip hop and R&B[edit]

Asian Americans are increasingly enjoying success in mainstream hip hop and R&B. A few notable examples are multi-racial Amerie, Cassie, Ne-Yo, who is one-quarter Chinese, Filipino-American of The Black Eyed Peas, and Jin. There are many more Asian Americans represented in local hip-hop scenes, including rising acts like Baiyu and the Blue Scholars. In 2010 and 2011, half-Filipino singer-songwriter Bruno Mars broke into the Top 10 with his singles "Just the Way You Are" and "Grenade".[11][23] In October 2010, Far East Movement became the first Asian American band to break into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 with their single "Like a G6", which eventually reached No. 1.[24] There are also major underground hip hop artists who have developed a following, such as the Pakistani American rapper Bohemia who is known as the creator of Punjabi rap music.


Norah Jones is an Indian American Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, pianist, keyboardist, guitarist, and actress.

In popular music, Asian Americans are a sizable influence, including pop divas such as part-Filipino Vanessa Hudgens, Utada Hikaru, Lea Salonga and Nicole Scherzinger. Folk singer-songwriter and Christian Dawn Xiana Moon was the first to blend traditional Chinese music with Americana, pop, and jazz[when?], and Vienna Teng is notable for a folk/pop sound without the Eastern influences.

Asian Americans play in a handful of "all-American" bands, including quarter-Indonesian Eddie Van Halen, James Iha of The Smashing Pumpkins, Keralan Indian Kim Thayil of Soundgarden, part-Filipino Kirk Hammett of Metallica, Satomi Matsuzaki of Deerhoof, Indian Tony Kanal of No Doubt, half-Japanese Miki Berenyi of Lush, John Famiglietti of HEALTH, Richard On of O.A.R., Joey Santiago of Pixies, Kenny Choi of Daphne Loves Derby, Hoobastank's Doug Robb and former member Derek Kwan, and Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda a Japanese American and Joseph Hahn, a Korean American. Mike Park is prominent in the independent music sphere as a member of Skankin' Pickle, The Bruce Lee Band, and The Chinkees, as well as being the founder of Asian Man Records.

Don Ho was a Grammy Award-winning Hawaiian pop singer and entertainer. Tia Carrere is a Hawaiian singer, actress, and former model best known as Cassandra Wong in the Wayne's World movies and for her leading role on the television series Relic Hunter; her album Hawaiiana was nominated for an Grammy.[when?][25] Singer-songwriter Norah Jones is also very successful. Nadia Ali, singer-songwriter and the former front-woman of iiO is prominent in the electronic dance music genre, with her work having attained both critical and commercial success.

Internationally, US-born Leehom Wang is a well-known musician in mainland China and Taiwan, and also played a part in Ang Lee's 2007 film Lust, Caution. In the heavy metal genre, Aja Kim, has achieved notoriety as lead vocalist in the role of Bruce 'Lee' Chickinson for the tribute band, The Iron Maidens. Also US-born is singer Ailee, whose captivating voice caught the attention of Korean R&B singer, Wheesung. Her vocal prowess and captivating voice won her many awards and is the reason she is dubbed the "Korean Beyonce."


Yo-Yo Ma, world renowned cellist

In classical music, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and conductor Zubin Mehta are examples of significant Asian American figures. The classical violinists Sarah Chang and Midori Gotō have each been awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, as has Ma. The composer Bright Chang has received extensive recognition for his work, including being invited to be composer-in-residence at the New York City Ballet. Hunan, China-born New York City resident Tan Dun is a contemporary classical composer, well known for his Grammy and Oscar-award winning scores for the movies Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero.


Asian American jazz is a musical genre and movement in the United States begun in the 20th century by Asian American jazz musicians that has produced a number of very prominent artists. It is currently the only musical genre to have been created by Asian Americans.

Fine Arts[edit]


Indian-American Faris McReynolds is a Los Angeles-based artist and musician. Sueo Serisawa helped establish the California Impressionist style of painting. Los Angeles-based artists James Jean and David Choe have received domestic and international recognition within the Lowbrow art scene.


Herb Tam is the curator and director of exhibitions at the Museum of Chinese in America.[26][non-primary source needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b We Are Siamese Twins-Fai的分裂生活
  2. ^ Corliss, Richard (29 January 2005). "Anna May Wong Did It Right". Time Magazine. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  3. ^ Barr, Roseanne (2011-05-15). "Roseanne Barr on the Lack of Change in the TV Industry - New York Magazine". Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  4. ^ Retrieved: September 26, 2012
  5. ^ [1][dead link] Retrieved: September 29, 2012
  6. ^ Tyson votes himself out of Survivor and, worse, saves Russell, Survivor, Heroes vs. Villains March 25th, 2010. (archived from the original[dead link] on 2008-06-14)
  7. ^ Gan 1995, p. 83.
  8. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  9. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  10. ^[dead link] Sessue Hayakawa: Silent Cinema and Transnational Stardom by Daisuke Miyao, published 2007.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Asian American: Far East Movement No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 Goldsea". 2010-10-21. Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  12. ^ a b Silent Era: People: Actors: Sessue Hayakawa
  13. ^ Lucy Liu - Biography - IMDb
  14. ^ Larry Fong on[unreliable source?]
  15. ^ "Knight of Cups". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  16. ^ "Mark Yoshikawa". IMDb. 
  17. ^ Paper Son - Chinese American Stand Up Comedian Byron Yee's Solo Show
  18. ^ Wilson, Eric (September 4, 2010). "Asian-Americans Climb Fashion Ladder". The New York Times. 
  19. ^ ""The Amazing Race" Cast Announced". CBS News. [dead link]
  20. ^
  21. ^ Amped Asia magazine
  22. ^ Mochi
  23. ^ Bruno Mars far east movement lead asianamerican pop music
  24. ^ [2][dead link]
  25. ^ Tia Carrere - Biography - IMDb
  26. ^ "Press Release (05/10/11): MOCA Announces Appointment of New Curator & Director of Exhibitions | Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)". Retrieved 2016-01-30.