12 Movies With Japanese and Black Couples or Blasians

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Many people do not realize that from 1959 until now in 2015, there have been at least 12 feature-length movies made with Japanese and Black couples or Blasians. Many of these movies were produced in Japan, and even the ones which were produced in the US, often had extensive involvement from Japanese movie professionals or were partially shot in Japan. While most Asian countries only have a handful of movies with Blasian couples or Blasians, Japan has clearly been far more receptive and curious about Japanese and Black relationships. This does not necessarily mean that Japan has been totally accepting of Japanese and Black relationships, as many of the movies illustrate, but compared to other Asian countries, it does point to a certain interest in Japanese and Black relationships and fewer barriers to complete these movies. Japan has also attracted a small number of Black actors who live in Japan, speak fluent Japanese, have married Japanese women, and have had successful acting careers in Japan such as Dante Carver, Bobby Ologun, Chuck Johnson, and a few of the Black mixed martial artists who live in Japan such as Bob Sapp and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (who has since moved back to the US with his Japanese wife). Korea on the other hand currently only has one prominent Black actor living in Korea making a career from acting, Sam Okyere, Ghanaian. Okyere who speaks fluent Korean, recently co-starred in Korea’s first feature-length movie with a Korean and Black couple – see the post about 나의 절친 악당들 (Intimate Enemies). The Philippines which generally is one of the more accepting places in Asia for Black and Asian relationships, rarely has Black actors in Filipino movies in any capacity, let alone in romantic relationships. Blakdyak and Elizabeth Ramsey used to appear in Filipino movies, but both of their acting careers are in decline at the moment. Finally regarding China, while some Chinese and Black couples have appeared in movies made outside of China, very few have appeared in any Chinese movies in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan.  So far, we have only found two Hong Kong movies with Chinese and Black couples – Rumble in the Bronx in 1995, and Silver Hawk in 2004. Japan clearly stands out in Asia for both the number of movies with Japanese and Black couples or Blasians, and the time span over which these movies have been made since 1959.

Below is the listing of the 12 movies with Japanese and Black couples or Blasians in chronological order. The descriptions are purposely light in order not to spoil the movies in case you are able to view the movies at some point. For those who want deeper reviews of the movies, just Google them. While pictures of the movies are shown below, movie trailers, if they exist, can be found at Asian and Black Couples In The Movies. Also for the movies that are currently available on Amazon either by streaming or by DVD / physical media, we have included the Amazon link below. Note that some of the titles are in limited supply on Amazon and some are only available in Japanese with no English subtitles.

12 Movies With Japanese and Black Couples or Blasians

  1. キクとイサム (Kiku to Isamu) – 1959 / Japan
    Producer: Daitô Eiga Production Company
    Director: Tadashi Imai
    Writer: Yôko Mizuki
    Key Actors: Emiko Takahashi, Japanese/Black and George Okunoyama, Japanese/Black
    Genre: Drama
    Emiko Takahashi and George Okunoyama both Japanese and Black Blasians, play a brother and sister in this film that explores the challenges of growing up Blasian in post war Japan.
    Amazon link for Kiku to Isamu
    kiku to isamu
  2. 人間の証明 (Proof of the Man) – 1977 / Japan / USA
    AKA Ningen no shômei
    Producer: Haruki Kadokawa
    Director: Jun’ya Satô
    Writers: Zenzô Matsuyama, Seiichi Morimura
    Key Actors: Robert Earl Jones, African American (the father of James Earl Jones), Mariko Okada, Japanese, and Joe Yamanaka, Caribbean/Japanese
    Genre: Crime / Mystery
    The movie is an adaptation of a bestselling mystery novel in Japan and several versions of the movie have been made, but this is the original version. In one version, the Blasian character is replaced with a Eurasian character and actor (the whitewashed version), and in another version, the Blasian character is retained, but played by a Japanese/Hispanic actor who does a poor job of “acting Black”.
    Amazon link for Proof of the Man
    proof of the man
  3. Bed Time Eyes (ベッドタイムアイズ) – 1987 / Japan
    Producer: Hidehiro Ito
    Director: Tatsumi Kumashiro
    Writers: Rio Kishida, Amy Yamada
    Key Actors: Michael Wright, African American (The Five Heartbeats) and Kanako Higuchi, Japanese
    Genre: Romantic drama
    The movie is an adaptation of Amy Yamada’s bestselling novel of the same name in Japan. Yamada, who was also married to an African American, wrote several controversial novels about Japanese and Black relationships in Japan. She was viewed as ahead of her time by many.
    Amazon link to Bedtime Eyes (VHS)
    bed time eyes cover
  4. Struggle and Success: The African American Experience in Japan – 1993 / USA
    Producer: Reggie Life
    Director: Reggie Life
    Writers: Reggie Life, June Cross
    Key Actors: Rodney Johnson, African American, and his wife, Wakako Johnson, Japanese. Ronnie Rucker, African American and his wife, Yoko Rucker, Japanese.
    Genre: Documentary
    Filmmaker Reggie Life, AKA Regge Life, who was previously a director on The Cosby Show, examines the experiences of 13 different African Americans in Japan. Two of them, Rodney Johnson and Ronnie Rucker, are married to Japanese women.
    struggle and success
  5. Doubles: Japan and America’s Intercultural Children – 1995 / USA
    Producer: Yoshiyasu Akiyama
    Director: Reggie Life
    Key Actors: Toshikazu Kiyonaga, African American / Japanese, Velina Houston, African American / Japanese, Curtis Rooks, African American / Japanese, Tokiwa Taft, African American / Japanese, Beverly Winfrey, African American / Japanese, and several others.
    Genre: Documentary
    This film takes an in-depth look at the lives of biracial children of Japanese and Americans who live in both America and Japan. The documentary interviews over 40 biracial Japanese and American people, about half of whom are African American and Japanese.
    DOUBLES Japan and America's Intercultural Children
  6. The Art of War – 2000 / USA / Canada
    Producers: Don Carmody, Wesley Snipes
    Director: Christian Duguay
    Writers: Wayne Beach, Simon Barry
    Key Actors: Wesley Snipes, African American, Marie Matiko, Japanese / Chinese / Filipino
    Genre: Action / Adventure / Crime
    Wesley Snipes, who is married to a Korean lady in real life, is married to Marie Matiko’s character in this action packed movie.
    Amazon link to The Art of War
    MSDAROF EC002
  7. Choice of Weapons – 2002 / USA
    Producer: Christopher Dalrymple
    Director: Christopher Dalrymple
    Key Actor: Peter Westbrook, African American / Japanese
    Genre: Documentary
    Documentary following Peter Westbrook, American and international fencing champion as he coaches the next generation of minority world-class fencers.
    westbrook1
  8. The Harimaya Bridge (Harimaya-bashi) – 2009 / USA
    Producers: Danny Glover, John Kim, Naoshi Yoda
    Director: Aaron Woolfolk
    Writer: Aaron Woolfolk
    Key Actors: Victor Grant, African American, and Saki Takaoka, Japanese
    Genre: Drama
    An African American father travels to Japan and discovers secrets of his son’s life in Japan.
    Amazon link for The Harimaya Bridge
    victor grant saki takaoka1
  9. Hafu: The Mixed Race Experience in Japan – 2013 / Japan / Ghana / Mexico
    Producer: Megumi Nishikura
    Directors: Megumi Nishikura, Lara Perez Takagi
    Key Actor: David Mitsuaki Yano, Japanese / Ghanaian
    Genre: Documentary
    Documentary of Japanese mixed race individuals, hafus, which includes David Yano, a Blasian with a Japanese father and Ghanaian mother.
    Hafu_DavidYano_3
  10. Moon Dream (ムーン・ドリーム) – 2013 / Japan
    Producers: Keisuke Endô, Bobby Ologun
    Directors: Bobby Ologun
    Writers: Bobby Ologun, Takako Nakamura
    Key Actors: Bobby Ologun, Nigerian Japanese (naturalized) and Nao Minamisawa, Japanese
    Genre: Biography / Comedy
    Comedic autobiographical movie of Bobby Ologun’s life in Japan.
    Amazon link to Moon Dream
    MOON_DREAM1
  11. Karaage USA (カラアゲ★USA) – 2014 / Japan
    Producer: Hiroshi Fujikura
    Director: Naoki Segi
    Writer: Kodai Yamada
    Key Actors: Dante Carver, African American, and Ai Takahashi, Japanese
    Genre: Comedy
    A Japanese woman returns home to Japan with her African American step-daughter.
    Amazon link to Karaage Usa
    Karaage_USA-Carver
  12. Pancakes – 2014 / USA
    Producers: Dante Carver, Kevin Iwashina
    Director: Yasu Shibuya
    Writer: Yasu Shibuya
    Key Actors: Dante Carver, African American, and Yuri Nakamura, Japanese
    Genre: Drama
    A light hearted romantic comedy / drama set in Tokyo.
    dante carver yuri nakamura1

OTHER MOVIES

While these are the 12 most relevant Japanese and Black movies that we could find, there are other movies featuring Japanese and Black couples or Blasians. The 1965 Japanese movie, Black Snow, by Tetsuji Takechi featured an Asian and Black couple. The movie was considered controversial in Japan at the time since it was one of the early Japanese “pink film” or “pinku eiga” movies which contained some nudity and erotic themes, but generally was not considered pornographic. Also the 2013 documentary, 20 Feet from Stardom, focused on long time backup singers who sung backup for major stars, but seldom became stars in their own rights. One of the many backup singers they cover in some level of detail is Judith Hill, African American / Japanese, a backup singer for Michael Jackson, who despite having a good showing on The Voice, is still seeking her big breakout. She is one of my favorite artists and her music is really worth a listen if you have never heard her – see this Amazon link for Judith Hill.

Please let us know if you know of other movies featuring Japanese and Black couples or Blasians.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. The Scorpion King (2002) starring Dwayne Johnson and Kelly Hu and Snow Dogs (2002) starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Joanna Bacalso also featured Asian-black couples.

  2. I don’t know if your list is exclusive to Japanese-Black couples in cinema or Asian-black couples in general, but just in case it’s the latter: Jaypetch Toonchalong played the Thai girlfriend of Jamie Foxx’s character Lt. Henry Purcell in Stealth (2002).

    BTW, I didn’t know about the 12 movies ABC had discussed in the above article; I’m pleasantly surprised to learn that such movies exist. We need more like them. Lots more.

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