One of our readers sent in a comment about our article about the “yellowface” issue regarding the Mikado. This was the letter:
Relative to the ongoing discussions about Yellowface: I’ve always been interested in the fact that anime portrays its Asian characters as having giant round blue and green eyes, ala Margaret Keane, and wondering why that isn’t an offensive portrayal. I’m interested in hearing the view(s) of you and/or your writers.
It’s a good point, right? So what is up with those anime eyes?
Issues of brownface (see the article by Zach Bryan on page 1) and yellowface (google Mikado if we haven’t already overloaded you with it already) have stirred up nice editorial material. So now, instead of yellowfacing, we can focus on “Westernization” (if that is even the right term) in extremely popular anime. It’s weird. We are applying huge goggle eyes and eyelashes on characters that are supposed to resemble… us. Maybe the best way to discuss this is to illustrate it.
This is what Gong Li looks like without, and then with, anime eyes:
You would totally recognize her (eyeroll with anime eyelashes and sweepy hair). Yes or no?
And just for fun, this is what our intern looks like without, and then with, anime eyes:
Does this represent us?
Who needs to yellowface or brownface when you can have anime eyes?
Thank you, Diane, for bringing it up. And thank you, readers, for giving us your opinion. And make sure you tell us what color your eyes need to be when you send in that headshot. (end)