The movie “Ghost in the Shell” and “Death Note” have caused uproar among the Asian-American community. Both movies are based on Japanese mangas but the majority of the cast is “white”. Lots of Asian-American actors and directors are discontented with the way the Industry likes to take Asian stories to “whitewash” them. Being in America for many generations they feel and breathe American. Many actors of color are facing lots of stereotyped role offers, feeling limited in the way they do film-making or being represented in film boards. Despite of the fact that an increasing number of film investment in Tinseltown is coming from the Asian world, we seem to be far from equality. Hiroki Jimbow, an award-winning actor and director from Tokyo, Japan has been living his American Dream for the last five years.
“If we are open-minded, we can be part of the change”, Hiroki Jimbow (45). Back in Japan he worked as an actor and has starred in the award-winning film “Tokyo Gore Police”. "Being a filmmaker had always been my goal", says Jimbow. He has moved to Los Angeles to found his production company Triumph Pictures. When he is not producing and directing, he loves to ride his motorcycle in the hills of Malibu. Films like “Meditation”, “Door” or the award-winning “Spiral” are from him. “Creating films in Hollywood is more diverse”, says Jimbow. “We have a variety of scripts and different kinds of actors available. It is more exciting to work with actors from all other the world. Hiring actors from overseas in Japan is doable but it depends on the budget of the production”. And even more skilled staff members would be needed in Japan. In Hollywood he could draw on unlimited resources.
Whitewashing lies in the eye of the beholder “Hollywood has always treated me nice. I have been able to work with the people I wanted to”, remembers Jimbow. “Of course the Industry is dominated by the old families and grown business relationships but there is a great change coming up”. The Japanese filmmaker and actor sees a great opportunity for Asian or Asian-American filmmakers right now. Investment groups from different parts of Asia like China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan are investing and co-operating with US studios in large blockbuster and TV productions. "The latest scripts I have been offered are so much stronger and more self-confident compared to what I have been auditioning for when I have arrived. The rethinking has started”, says Jimbow. He personally knows no skin color while working in film. His talent agent is Afro-American/Native American, his favorite DP is from Spain and his favorite composer is from Mexico.