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Second Opinion / COMMENTARY FROM OTHER MEDIA : KOREA TIMES (English Edition) : 'Rising Sun:' Boring, and Still Offensive

August 30, 1993| From a commentary by Philip Chung in the Korea Times English Edition, published biweekly in Los Angeles. and

If I were to write about 20th Century Fox's, "Rising Sun," purely on its artistic merits, this would be simple--"Sun" is boring, muddled and way too long.

But, unfortunately, Philip Kaufman's adaptation of Michael Crichton's novel is more than just a terrible film. It's a terrible film based on a book that was criticized by many as being xenophobic in its portrayal of the Japanese as businessmen out to take over America.

Is the film as bad as the book? Kaufman, to his credit, did tone down the more inflammatory aspects of the novel. There is less liberal usage of words like Jap and Nip in the movie and phrases like "the Japanese are the most racist people on the planet" have been cut out altogether.

But the film is still problematic. The Japanese in Kaufman's version are still businessmen out to "buy out" the country through any and every means available to them.

Maybe Fox should look to Warner Bros. as an example of what they can do. After that studio's film "Falling Down" opened to criticism from Korean and Asian-American groups, Warner Bros. made an effort to work with the community. Fox's refusal to acknowledge the community's concerns is a slap in the face to Asian-Pacific Americans.

But it is not only Asian-Americans who have condemned "Rising Sun." Organizations such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLADD), Nosotros, the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Center and other multicultural groups have also come out against the film.

Stereotyping of Asians is something that affects all Americans. This is a message that the numerous groups who have supported the Asian-American community on this issue understand. It would behoove 20th Century Fox to listen to this message.

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