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Essays

Tsuru Aoki

Ross, Sara

Tsuru Aoki is best remembered as the wife of Sessue Hayakawa, and certainly Aoki’s role as adoring wife on- and off-screen was extremely important to the remarkable success of Hayakawa as a romantic lead in the teens and early twenties. Hayakawa’s popularity rested on the assurance that his exotic and inscrutable Oriental exterior hid a soft and romantic side, proof of which was his “little wife.” But her star image was complex, erasing her immigrant background and presenting her as a model of assimilation, with her undeniably modern American lifestyle a sharp contrast to the diminutive Oriental “doll” aspects of her persona.

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Academic Units
Film
Libraries
Series
Women Film Pioneers Project
Published Here
October 15, 2019