Saturday, November 19, 2011

F. Chin Shot Down (figuratively)

Friends, Chinamen, Bystanders

Three scripts, Three rejections, You heard from me first. How do I know? It just happened.

STORIES FOR SAM; THE HEROIC TRADITION; and a novel in progress.
Donaladina Cameron and her San Francisco Oakland clones and Charlie Chan have won the hearts of the San Francisco Yellows and White America.

No sympathy from my friends, please. I don't like sympathy. C can keep the great Lucien Barnes. The other C got her cappuccino.

Those that want a shot at me, now's a good time to take it while American opinion is on your side.

I'm going to Seattle.

Life is war. Kingdoms rise and fall. Nations come and go. Its a good day to die.
Let the goodimes roll.

I need a joint. Or three, maybe four....

Frank Chin

Sunday, July 31, 2011

CHINESE CHLDREN’S LITERATURE vs A CENTURY OF SAN FRANCISCO TREATS

San Francisco led the nation in White racist stereotyping of the Chinese fresh off the boat, then got serious when missionary Donaldina Cameron hit town and invented the cruel woman-hating Chinaman and his victim woman stereotype whole cloth. Joseph Conrad loved only Poles and Englishmen and hated the Yellows and other non-Whites. California writer Pierton W. Dooner hated the Yellows with charm and delight in his fanciful Social Darwinist shrill THE LAST DAYS OF THE REPUBLIC. Donaldina Cameron imprisoned Chinese women in her Cameron House brainwashed them, converted them to Christianity and sent them back to China to discourage their countrymen from coming to America. Social Darwinists at Stanford said America was White Man’s Land. Her stereotype was a lie that was repeated and made “authentic” by brainwashed Cameron House daughter Jade Snow Wong and her ghostwriter for FIFTH CHINESE DAUGHTER. The invention of the Cameron House stereotype has since been repeated and advanced in books and plays by Maxine Hong Kingston, David Henry Hwang, Amy Tan, White Carolyn See and her half Chinese daughter Lisa See, and the films by Wayne Wang. The bars on the windows were there to keep the girls in, not to keep lusting Chinamen out. They have falsified Chinese culture and children’s literature to gibe with their picturesque lies about Chinese culture.

San Francisco and Sociology, the museums, the historical societies, the English departments, Asian American Studies, all say faking Chinese literary culture’s all right. Just don’t touch sacred White culture. I speak from Confucius’s lowest of the low: a Chinaman artist.

As the lowest of the lowly Chinaman artists I say, mucking with a Chinese children’s story is not all right. As the lowest of the low, I’m talking to you, Chinaman. It’s time you shucked this awkward “Chinese-American” crap you’ve been swallowing since 1889,and took back what you used to call yourself, “Chinamen,” Chinaman. Not “Chinese-American.”

The schools of San Francisco are teaching the fake Cameron House Jade Snow Wong Maxine Hong Kingston Amy Tan as the real of Chinese culture to your kids, Chinaman. All their Chinese characters Far Mulan, the Woman Warrior, the Kitchen God, Kwan Kung, the God of war are all written and have been read sung and told for centuries. The real is kept out of American air and print by Cameron House propaganda and Christian prejudice. Fake work breeds fake work. The star of your San Francisco Chinatown Film Festival was a Charlie Chan movie? The Chinese preacher read from his book, on the Gospel of Charlie Chan at City Lights Bookstore and said the Chinese have to accept Charlie Chan as the stereotype of ourselves, because we have no stereotype of our own. And he wasn’t run out town screaming like a girl? The fakes being taught in your school in your town are all White racist fakes. Why do you take it, Chinaman?

It’s time the Chinese of San Francisco woke up. China men don’t beat up their women for fun or ego. The women are not punishment freaks. You’ve been lied to long enough.

In the long gone uncertain days of Heaven, Man, and Earth and men were men like Kwan Kung, just a man. An observant man. A man who could respect a man like himself no matter where he was from. Kwan was a soldier. Kwan could respect a soldier he had crossed weapons against in combat. He learned the character of the men who clashed weapons against him. Learning that your opponent is skilled or inept is understandable. But the Chinese say a “Hero recognizes a hero” in passing. Kwan Kung the soldier is the lowest a man can go and still be a “hero” He didn’t read anybody a hero that I can recall, but everybody goodguy or badguy read Kwan Kung as an unquestionable hero. From Chinese history, to the opera, to the first novel in the world.

Confucius warned parents to not allow their children to grow up to be soldiers or actors, the lowest of the low. By actors Confucius meant artists, marketplace clowns and storytellers in common language, the artists of the opera. The most common of the common people. Confucius had democratic principles but he was a snob. The Chinese loved him anyway Confucius was dead for centuries before Kwan Kung entered Chinese life through popular history and the people’s opera fashioned his mercurial nature into accord with Confucian thought.

Cameron House swept the Chinese of Chinatown San Francisco clean of real Chinese literature and sold San Francisco the story of stalwart Christian White Racists who wiped out the cruel Chinamen beating up the few Chinese women in town, for Chinese fun.

The turn of the Century myth of Cameron House goes, Donaldina Cameron ran the slimy Chinaman rats back to China, swinging an axe over her head. But their rancid Chinese Godless misogynist culture is still here. Beware! Christian zealot Donaldina Cameron has brainwashed generations of San Francisco Chinatown youth since 1889. The Christian might of Cameron House, Chung Mei Home for Chinese Boys, Mills Girl’s College, the hotbed of Social Darwinists at Stanford can’t be wrong! Beware! Jade Snow Wong cries, BEWARE! Maxine Hong Kingston cries and cries “BEWARE! BEWARE! A CHINAMAN IS AFTER ME! SAVE ME WHITE MAN! SAAAAVE ME! I’ll give you the secret of the ‘Forbidden stitch’ (I made it up. Wasn’t I clever?) The opera secret of cutting the frenum (the membrane connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth) of future stars, at birth, is a practice I made up to offend the Confucian abhorrence of the very thought of mutilating the hair or skin of a newborn. Oh, the White feminists just loved it! And the secret of the ‘Fifth Book of Peace’ is: there are no ‘Books of Peace’ in Chinese literature! I fibbed. The Fifth Book of Peace is really the first! Cute, huh? And you bought it, you darling believer, you. Believe what I say is Chinese about my writing and we’ll get along just fine, White Man.”

Six generations of Christian Brainwashing later, it’s no surprise nobody Yellow in Frisco ever heard of a Chinese hero. To say nothing of Chinese children’s literature. Frisco doesn’t think it strange that the Chinese of San Francisco don’t know the literature of the Chinese childhood. Chinese-Americans in Frisco won’t read, they refuse to admit the real Chinese children’s stories and literature into their schools of the San Francisco Unified School District. San Francisco is a fanatically Christian town. Missionary Cameron House has been the voice of the Christian truth of Chinatown San Francisco since the Gay 90’s.

Between then and now Chinatowns good Christians have has lost the stories of Leong Hung Yuk and Mook Guiying and Far Mulan, Kwan Kung, Kwan Tak Hing. Christians have wiped out the Chinatown storyteller as too Chinese. Only the low artists of the people and place are conversant with the stories that made the place. I am one or more of the artists with a small “a” of the people and 224 places with a Chinatown throughout the west served by the Wells Fargo Express Co

No one notices the Yellow experts and curators of Asian American literature exalt the fake FIVE CHINESE BROTHERS and ban the real old and still told Chinese stories. Our representatives published, public, notorious in White news are all proxies, stand-ins for the phantom White racists that drive their hateful decisions against Asian content in Asian American history.

Gary Locke a Chinese American son of immigrants is the new Ambassador to China. What if he invites the Chinese Ambassador to the United States of America and his family and the staffs and their families to his home in Seattle for an evening of Chinese storytelling in America. And the feature of the evening is Kingston’s version of THE BALLAD OF MULAN with Ngawk Fei’s tattoos on her back?

Of course, Kingston’s fake would never be mistaken for the real in Gary Locke’s home. One reason why the former Governor of Washington State was appointed the Secretary of Commerce was he knew the difference between the real and the fake in Chinese storytelling.

He’s from Seattle the town where operas of heroic tradition fell on Chinatown like rain when was a kid through his term as King County Executive when the artistic soul of Cantonese opera in Seattle Lau Yuet Mun passed. The last of the soul of the opera in Seattle recently passed. Yellow Intellectuals and Yellow Whitefeminists closed in preaching the fake Mulan of Maxine Hong Kingston. Bill Clinton gave her the Humanities Medal of 1998 for “revealing the truth about Chinese-America” when he was President of the United States. There are Chinese that love the Presidential approval of an American rewrite of a Chinese children’s story as “the truth.” There are others around the world that shudder with anger at the President’s correcting Chinese literature. Where will the U.S. strike next? Will the US rewrite Hansel and Gretel because the President hates Hitler? Ask your Yellow selves what Gary Locke has to ask before his American tellings of Chinese children’s stories.

Locke goes east as the first Chinese American US Ambassador to China in interesting times.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Modelmaker

Download Frank Chin's new article here.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

CHINESE TV KITCHEN OF FOOD PORN

I’ve just seen a Chinese cooking show on PBS, I’ll call COOKING SONG: COOKING WITH ANDRES SONG, owner THREE STARS OF CHINA in Boston to save myself a lawsuit. I was in the world of my cartooning when the sexual vibe alerted me and I heard her voice talk to Andres Song on my tv. She ran five or six “RICEFLOUR” restaurants around Boston as one of the owners of Conners and Yang the flagship restaurant in the heart of a Boston under reconstruction.

She discovered her feel for the art of baking at an early age and worked in kitchens around the world before returning to Boston. She went to Harvard to please her family and graduated with honors. Andres Song went to Yale at the same time. They trade Harvard-Yale rivalry secrets. She named her first restaurant Riceflour to honor her past as a baker. Then opened another Riceflour, then another. And so on.

“Where did you get the name Andres,” she asks.

Electricity excites off of Song as he tells a story of his father the Chinese cook who wanted to play soulful classical Spanish guitar like Andres Segovia. “He named me Andres after the great classical guitarist Andres Segovia and I naturally grew up with a taste and a talent for Chinese cooking.” You could feel his volts crashing through the feel of her skin and tickling here and itching there, gradually oozing warm sugar all over her body. They were east coast Chinese-Americans who were uncomfortable with “Chinese-American” and would both bridle and fight over “Chinaman.” Alone in the kitchen they call each other Chinese and leave the “American” unsaid. Whatever they like to be called the references to Chinaman universals shared with reluctant Chinese-Americans – “I was going to say your Chinese is better than mine,” what’shername says in response to Song’s, “Pardon the pronunciation, Harvard. Your Chinese is better than mine.” Out of the blue what’s her name Yang says “Chinese swearing.” Her head is down and I see her lower teeth are in front of her upper teeth in the closed position, what dentist’s call an underbite. Her demeanor is tall, graceful, dignified.

The electricity zapping silently begins to burst crackles and flash in the air.

And Song bursts out laughing. I’m laughing too. TV has reached the state of Chinese-American art. At last I feel a void being filled with goodies, at least momentarily filling a specific Chinese empty in my life with touch of bitterness, from the outside at last; I was shown a fact. I wasn’t alone in my awareness of Chinatowns literary past. That was funny and tickled the Chinese blood trickling inside me as I imagine an episode of Redd Foxx’s SANFORD & SON tickles the Black sense in the trickle of Black blood. The Chinese were swapping the humor from their Chinese childhoods. But they were so old childhood was a lifetime ago.

Andres Song says, and he says a lot that sets what’shername Yang the very pretty woman who owns a world of Chinese restaraunts around town giving come ahead you naughty boy stop and go speaking. Finds a groove and everything he says stops her stutter in her professional all business grape seed oil and two egg yolks beat into a mayonnaise. Farlic chives, chopped, Dijon mustard and any kind of chili powder. Andres Song says something unintelligible and she blushes in the stutter. She likes Szechwan chili, and that’s the dip. The only difference between COOKING SONG and childish lowclass burlesque is the two cook with real food on real stoves. Prop theater food or real food and real cooking, the verbal fencing was real and the only recognizable Chinese-American behavior I’ve ever seen on the movie or tv screen. It has to be a fluke. I haven’t seen anything like this episode of COOKING SONG: COOKING WITH ANDRES SONG in the movies , or tv even other tv episodes of COOKING SONG, anywhere, not even the IRON CHEF. Nowhere till now.

It has to be a freak. An accident. American tv was never this real to Yellows like me. Attempts at Asian American channels were all comic and entertainment and no news. The Yellows of America was nothing happening, nothing doing, nothing cooking, no news, no art, no sports This episode of COOKING SONG is real cooks with Chinese Americans, people I know as Chinamen, at ease, joking and teasing trades of vintage Chinese Americana in pure American-bred accents on tv. It is sweet. It was delightful. It was beautiful. This is a strange August.

Andres Song says it all, or puts it all on the line, when he says, “It isn’t often that two Chinese cook together.” Ah now the size of his eyes make sense. He doesn’t flutter his lashes but the stutter in the timing of her recital of the recipe says SEX echoing all over the screen. He doesn’t have to do a thing. Just listen. The air is electric. Any girl cook in the kitchen says sex! A Chinese girl in Song’s kitchen is SEX! I am learning that’s a characteristic of watching out of a Yellows black eyes like mine.

“Do you cook with MSG?” Song asks. The dimples in his cheeks show attractively. She flicks her fingers at his face. No. I can’t lie. I cannot tell a lie, as Rev. Weem’s George Washington said in his myth of George Washington to honor George Washington’s honesty. Kwan Kung in the novel ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS likewise cannot tell a lie but phrases it differently, in words designed to be taken personally, “You’d better not lie about me.” Song didn’t tease and she didn’t flick her fingers. I indulged my urge to fict everything up with a cartoon fiction to explore the nasty plot turns this story of an extraordinary Yellow boy meeting an extraordinary Yellow girl might take. All, of course, ridiculous and impossible from the start. The flagship is named Conners and Yang. It sounds like a marriage. Conners and Yang as a corporation own a Boston kingdom of restaurants named “Riceflour.” She’s an artist baker. Conners retired young from Wall Street is the husband and Yang is the artist chef who designs the menu and the casual atmosphere of RICEFLOUR and the wife. I expect them to fight off the universe side-by-side and back-to-back, and have children.

I categorically, absolutely, and truthfully say that my cartoon of COOKING WITH SONG is simply a cartoon. A crude parody. A harmless cartoooooon.

The Chinese-Americans who would have appreciated this moment most, didn’t notice, and my friend the tv, showed another show.

My cartoon IN THE KITCHEN OF CHUR FONG and his guest chef WARM ICE WHO MELTS LIKE ICE CREAM set in Boston is a cartoon. All names and places are fiction. Any resemblance to any person , plant or place living or dead is purely coincidental. All hanky panky is in my mind, in my dreams. Certainly not on my American friend the tv. The hanky panky I saw was a glitch, a fluke, a freak. And fine. Really fine.

I think of e-mailing Cookingsong No. I’m too old to make new friends and enemies.

Frank Chin

Friday, May 20, 2011



This week is Yuriko Hohri birthday. She is the unsung worker bee to William Hohri’s NCJAR lawsuit against the U.S.A. to redress the Constitutional wrongs committed against Japanese Americans by the WWII concentration camps

Frank Chin


BAD DAY AT BLACK BLOCK


I was surprised to receive an e-mail that criticized the cartoon strip I drew in tribute to William Hohri. He died. He was a great man.

His daring lawsuit against the US Gov’t twisted the conscience of the U.S. Courts up the ladder to the US Supreme Court. Once the highest court in the land heard Hohri’s suit, it would have no choice but to to order redress for the unconstitutional concentration camps that held Japanese Americans during WWII. The JACL had to make sure the suit never reached the ears of Supreme Court.

In 1942 the US government winked and took the word of the Japanese American Citizen’s League (JACL) -Shhh!. The JACL spokesman Mike Masaoka ( a Secret Agent of U.S. Intelligence ) said it was the will of the Japanese themselves to volunteer themselves into camp for their safety from White mobs. The JACL ruled Japanese America during the camp years with secret knowledge of White racism (everyone knew the JACL were dogs inu ,) and the internee (polite for prisoner) fear and delight over the JACL’s gift to the oppressive government– the voluntary delivery of the Nisei to White racist camps. The government wreaked patriotic White racist American vengeance on the Nisei for Pearl Harbor. The Nisei were Americans and hadn’t attacked Pearl Harbor but the JACL Nisei took responsibility for the foreign act as the American way..

My strip was based on a color movie by John Sturges, BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK with a bowtied and bespectacled Nisei William Hohri as black hatted Spencer Tracy, the one armed man that rides a raging diesel past Manzanar, in the American desert.

Tracy lost his arm in the war. Komoko lost his life but won a medal for saving his officer’s life. Tracy is taking Komoko’s medal home to his father in desert whistle stop called Black Rock. The locomotive growls the diesel high rpm heart that turns the watts out of coils that move the wheels of the metal mechanical wonder past Jerome and Rohwer in the Arkansas desert and straight into the desert west.

Heart Mountain, Wyoming, Minidoka, Idaho. Night and day the locomotive pulls the cars rolling and clicking past Amache, Arizona closer and closer to Black Rock.

BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK was about a desert town closed inward, on itself to keep secret Robert Ryan’s patriotic murder of a Japanese pariah and the confiscation of his land. Robert Ryan, slim snaky small-eyed owns most Black Rock and all the people of Black Rock wants the out of town land for himself. There’s water on Komoko’s land. Ryan wants it.

The presence of WWII and Japanese America dominates the atmosphere, the characters, the very dialog of BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK without one Japanese American appearing on the screen.

My BAD DAY AT BLACK BLOCK cartoon was all White people played by Japanese American actors from life and history.

This train runs straight past Heart Mountain, Wyoming and all the camps in all the emptiness of the American desert to the all Japanese American signal stop at Black Block on the edge of nowhere. The rage of the locomotive slows to hisses and spits of steam out of hot valves all over the hog. The metal slows to vibrating from the long run it has run, and can’t wait for Spencer Tracy to step off the rolling stock to the ground. William Hohri steps off instead, with Spencer Tracy’s black fedora on his head and Tracy’s one hand of his one arm lost in the war. The one hand holds a suitcase. Both of his feet hit the ground. Everything in moderation, even moderation.

The train rattles metal, wheels into a roll and lifts its shadow off Bill Hohri. The sun sucks the water out of bodies so fast, it hurts. Luckily, Bill Hohri thought to have water on the train.

Bill Hohri has come from WWII to Black Block with a Bronze Star for the soldier who saved his life in his pocket. The sun beats the land and raises wobbly heat mirages.

Black Block presents Bill Hohri with a dusty dirt street, wooden buildings with dried up wooden sidewalks along the sides. There’s the Japanese American Walter Brennan, the toothless telegraph operator, a good man gone bad and Japanese Dean Jagger the town-drunk as Sheriff, the Japanese American bad man who’ll get it right. Hohri is met with snarls and scared looks at the newspaper, at the gas pump wherever he goes looking for the dead soldier’s father and a glass of water. He walks toward the cafĂ©.

Before he can take the step up to the sidewalk, out of the sun, he’s stopped by the JACL’s Mike Masaoka in the Robert Ryan role of the Fascist Boss of the town who wears a white hat. “I hear you’re looking for a Japanese named Komoko.”

“Yes. Do you know his whereabouts?”

“Komoko is not a name, not even a word in Japanese,” Town Boss, Moses Masaoka says.

“Did ya hear that? Komoko’s not even a word, in Japanese!” a fat and ugly eyebrowed Yellow Ernest Borgnine smiles his gap tooth, and stands behind the boss and bares his hairy navel.

“It’s his name,” Hohri says.

“My boys are official, meaning, ‘paid’, Confidential Informants to the FBI.” Boss Masaoka says. “All of them. You can take the word of anybody in town.”

Hohri attempts to step out of the sun into the shade under the second story gallery. But Japanese Lee Marvin, steps forward, spilling drool from his hanging lower lip. “I also goon for the Boss.”

“ We don’t have to speak Japanese here in Black Block Black Block speaks for all the Japanese. Everything we say has the truth of FBI behind it.”

“And the truth of G-2 Army Intelligence,” Yellow Ernest Borgnine says. “And the Office of Naval Intelligence.”

“That’s a lot of truth,” Moses Masaoka says.

“The County Sheriff vouches for them all by radio,” Japanese Lee Marvin rumbles rocks in his throat. “Direct to FBI headquarters.”

“Oh, by radio!” Hohri marvels. “To Headquarters.” How appropriate! Hohri thinks. The JACL Jr G-Men code named by the FBI T-1 through T-11 still pretends that the resistance to the JACL-backed camps never existed. All memory of the only journalist, Jimmie Omura , the salty soil scientist expert on the U.S. Constitution, Kiyoshi Okamoto and Judo superman Frank Emi is missing from the weekly paper.

“Never heard of’’em.” Moses Masaoka says. “Have either of you?”

Japanese Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin shake their heads, no.

“ There’s no evidence they ever existed,” Boss Masaoka says, “My slate is clean..”

“My plate is clean too, boss,” Japanese Ernest Borgnine says enthusiastically.

“I believe your Boss said ‘slate’ not ‘plate,’ ” Hohri says.

“You see,” Moses Masaoka says. “This is Black Block the 100% American camp run by my JACL boys. If they say slate is the same as plate, it’s the truth. That just the way it is in Black Block.”

“ The most American of All the camps,” Japanese Lee Marvin adds.

Hohri “I came to Black Block to give Mr. Komoko a medal that belong’s to son Pvt frst class Komoko.”

Yellow Earnest Borgnine says, “Why don’t you give it to Pvt Frst Class Komoko?” Japanese Lee Marvin toward Yellow Earnest Borgnine and whispers in his ear.

One armed Hohri continues, “His boy gave his life to save mine. His father lives here in Black Block.”

“The JACL signed up all the boys in town to go fight.”

“Komoko volunteered for the US Army, not the JACL.”

“You saying there’s a difference?” Japanese Ernest Borgnine thrusts his belly forward. Toward Hohri. Masaoka stops him by raising his hand. “U.S. Army not the JACL. Yes, now I remember. I’ve heard that before. There was a young man. I remember now. His father, Komoko was an internee at Black Block. Komoko was a Jap.”

“A Jap? His son volunteered for the Army! I have his son’s medal.”

“Yeah. His being a Jap, surprised me too! But only 100% Americans here. I’m sorry. I put him on the train to Tule Lake in California.”

“And you are?”

“Everybody in Black Block knows all-American, Mike (Call me “Moses”) Masaoka!”

“Why ‘Moses?’”

“Why Moses?” Masaoka laughs. Gap toothed Japanese Ernest Borgnine laughs menacingly. Japanese Lee Marvin laughs his voice clattering boulders down his throat..

“Yeah, Boss,’ Japanese Lee Marvin speaks up in a dry gutteral voice. “Why do we call you Moses?” “

“Have you read the Bible, stranger?” Masaoka says to Hohri.

Hohri nods.

“Look around you.,” Masaoka says. “As Moses led the Jews out of the cities into the desert, for forty years, so has my JACL led all my people out of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle into desert camps!”

“Forty years, Boss?” Yellow Earnest Borgnine asks.

“Healthy desert camps! Desert health camps!”

“For forty years? A generation with no memory or experience of Pharoah. Know only what they have been told.”

“What’s that? You’re talking crazy, boy.” Yellow Lee Marvin says..

“And that makes you Moses?”

“We’re here for our health, right Boss?” Japanese Ernest Borgnine says.

“You’re damned right, it does. The Congressional Record of the United States agrees with me.”

Japanese Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin burst into applause that’s immediately swallowed by the bright dry heat. “Brilliant, Boss!”

“Very eloquent, Boss. Very eloquent.”

Hohri proves Mike M. Masaoka is a paid FBI Confidential Informant, names names and unites the sixty years of a variety of Japanese American writing by John Okada, a novelist, Lawson Inada, a poet, Michi Weglyn, a fashion maven, David Mura, a novelist with no direct experience of camp. His book seems to say there is no such thing as a Japanese American not affected by the camps. What the writers say about life in camp, seems from different times, different places, different languages until the differences developed into a community of causes for William Hohri’s lawsuit against the US Government for $224,000 American money to redress each of the 123, 313 American citizens unconstitutionally imprisoned in ten U.S. concentration camps that are still administered by the same U.S. Dept. of the Interior that built them as concentration camps. Would the Jews tolerate a concentration camp still administered by the Nazis that ran them in the 40s? So why are the same treacherous JACL and the Dept of the Interior still in charge of the Japanese Americans and the camps in the desert?

Hohri waits for the train at the small station with no shade.

“Hohri,” the Japanese Walter Brennan calls from the dirt street.

He hobbles closer and says, “I want to thank you for getting off that train. You faced down the sheriff, the bully, the telegraph operator, and then united us as good people against the evil ick Moses Masaoka.”.

“No thanks necessary. It was a pleasure.”

“The town would like that medal you brought for Komoko.”

“You’ll take care of it?”

“It will take care of us. What you have in that box is our conscience. You have vindicated what we knew was true, as George Washington vindicated the good words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution by not accepting the throne as king of the United States. Instead of Kingship, George Washington accepted the office of President allowed by the U.S. Constitution.” That was a bit much for a week of cartoon strips to carry. But I drew and lettered it, and signed it with love and gave it away free, to the Los Angeles Rafu Shimpo, the only Japanese American newspaper left in the country.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Had A Dream

I had a dream.
I dreamt that my people were suckered into worshipping Charlie Chan and Fu Manchu as themselves.
I dreamt that my people aspired to playing the son of a fat white man who dropped first person pronouns "I" "Me" and "We" when he spoke,
I dreamt Hollywood took an all American Chinaman girl and turned her into a mysterious Oriental beauty who stared but rarely spoke.
I dreamt that a son of Chan looked at Bette Davis with lust and disgust in THE LETTER and looked at Loretta Young in CHINA and Loretta Young looked back.
I dreamt that Sessue Hayakawa left the stage in Paris rather than perform for the Nazis.
I dreamt Hayakawa celebrated VE Day by inviting American soldiers to dinner.
I dreamt that Humphrey Bogart brought Hayakwawa to Hollywood to star with him in TOKYO JOE.
I dreamt that Hayakawa started an Asian American theater in Los Angeles.
I dreamt that Hayakawa went from the AA theatre to the movies.
I dreamt that Hayakawa starred in Hollywood movies as Pacific Islanders, Frenchmen, Chinese, Japanese, American Indians, and became such a heart throb he started his own studio.
I dreamt that Mako took over Hayakawa's theatre and renamed it East West Players.
I dreamt Mako played a disgruntled engineer on a Chinese gunboat serviced by White coolies.
I dreamt Mako was nominated for an Oscar for shooting his White coolie Steve McQueen being tortured by a White mob in Sacramento.
I dreamt Hayakawa was nominated for an Oscar for BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI.
I dreamt the Hayakawa studio and the East West Players inspired the Asian Americans to tell the story of Asian pop culture from Kwan Kung and 3 Kingdoms and Chushingura and Musashi to balance King Arthur and Shakespeare's Kings.
I dreamt...."Strike the Gong! We are on!"

I woke up confused. Everything in my dream was true, but in reverse order. Asians went from American glory and triumph to the insult of Charlie Chan and his champion Yunte Huang.

Monday, February 21, 2011

BATTLE HYMN OF THE TIGER MOTHER by AMY CHUA


(FEBRUARY 18, 2011)

A writer researching Maxine Hong Kingston asked me about the assertion that Kingston got her storytelling talent from her mother. The writer wanted to know what questions I would ask Kingston’s parents. I told the writer I wouldn’t interview the parents. I wouldn’t put her parent’s in the position of lying to cover the daughter’s rep, or telling the truth and bringing down their daughter’s book. The truth of THE BALLAD OF MULAN and Chinese misogyny in Chinese lit was to be found in the BALLAD and Chinese lit, not the parents. The idea was repugnant. I would not make anyone but Kingston responsible for her book.

I realize now that I was defending was the relationship between parents and children as a family. I was rather maniacally defending a Chinese idea of family. I still don’t know why. I never had parents. We have personal reasons for defending or putting down the idea of the family against the universe. Chinese families are crazy about the defending the family against all comers.

Writers in China who had of load the unpopular to loose on the world would either disown their parents (like Soong Gong publicly humiliating his father, cussing him out and trashing the name before he went off to lead the Outlaws of Liangshan Marsh) or they’d write as Anonymous (the way MONKEY was written.)

Amy Chua’s THE TIGER MOTHER gives an insight into what kind of mother Far Mulan, Liang Hongyu and Mu Guiying were. Amy Chua seems to be in charge of the home. Her husband is the soldier who defends the home from outside intrusion, invasion. If he can’t, and her daughters are too young or don’t have the soldier’s skills and she does, she’s willing to go.

Through her daughter’s first trip round the 12 animals her word is law at home. At 12- or 13 kids begin to change. Interestingly Amy Chua relaxes her iron rule in response to her kid’s criticism.. More interesting is her kid’s response to their mother’s changes. They approve their mother’s iron rule while they were under twelve and approve her response to their criticisms. The mother and daughters response to each other seems to demonstrate that there was always give and take within the family. When the difference between the daughters shows –expresses –itself after 12, it doesn’t result in one or both walking out to a life of their own with vows never to be like mother Amy. The family rallies together to defend their members.

I don’t know the family. I don’t know the children’s stories told in the family. But the Mother Amy seems very Chinese or at least wise enough to have raised her kids to talk and criticize family life with understanding and love of the family.

Her book is not an instruction manual on rearing a family, but it does raise disturbing questions about our upbringing and how we raised or are raising our kids. Every family is different and every family is the same. Some play piano. Some learn to love old tractors and the soil. Exactly how different and how the same our families are to hers her book helps us understand by being so specific. That is good.

Mother Chua has brought White and Chinese-American readers out of the family room to criticize her and her book with stories or defenses of their own families. That is good. The only fault of the book is it’s too honest. That too is good.


Frank Chin

Monday, February 14, 2011

LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS WOMEN

Tura Satana (1938-2011)

The Yellow media snobs and Hollywood mini-stars have gotten their prizes and found they were empty. Even of money. Especially empty of money. Remember when Mako was a star on the make? What's his name Pat Morita was the Hollywood Nisei? Emptiness is what the Yellows in America learned from the White famous Yellows. (No one stands up for the deserving. ) A Yellow scholar writer Yunte Huang preaches from the Gospel of Our Father Who Art in Hollywood, Charlie Chan be Thy name. THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE HONORABLE DETECTIVE AND HIS RENDEVOUS WITH DESTINY. Emptiness and the look and sound of an ego, expressing itself. This too will pass. But Tura Sultana the big, busty girl from Manzanar Concentration Camp, “I can’t say that I will miss the barbed wire fences and armed guards. I will miss the lovely weather there,” will live forever.

She was born in 1938. Most of her memories are of Chicago, where her family was relocated and growing up among Italians, Jews and Poles in “a Mafia section of town.” She beat up five black girls that jumped her in school. They did not want any “slant eyes” in their school. She remembers the names of the girls who objected to her Oriental presence. She went on to become a burlesque star, to become the star of Russ Meyer movies, to become an enterprise of tee shirts, artwork, comic books and dolls to become a real life mother and a real Yellow legend that will live as long there is a drop of lust yearning to be free.

She was an artist. Art was not a “religion” to her. She didn’t expect to be “discovered” by holy Hollywood like other Asian artists. She took care of her artistic image and herself. Her promo doesn’t have a word of her physical attributes but does lay into the racism of Manzanar and in her school. She closes with “One day, I was just told Jeannette and her friends that if they touched me one more time, that I was going to rip them a new rear end. She told me to try it, so I proceeded to do just that. I took on all five of the girls at once and they never knew what hit them after I was done.

“All I know is I was I got called into the principal’s office and told that I had injured all five girls and that I was being put on detention…"

“Do I have your attention yet? Good now you will have to to wait for the film to get the rest of the story!”

She didn’t run and hide when Whites (or Blacks) called her Jap, and she still had fans.

Too bad she's passed. I would have like to have known if she had read Toshio Mori or Okada's NO-NO BOY, or FIFTH CHINESE DAUGHTER or Michi Weglyn, or Maxine Hong Kingston. What made her fight? She knew she was a Yellow. What did she read?

FCC

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

PHO 87

A new article by Frank Chin. Download it here!