Is this new Star Wars promotional poster from China kinda racist? It certainly seems so

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RocketNews 24:

The promotional poster for the new entry in the Star Wars franchise appears to omit or downplay non-white actors.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will apparently be the first entry in the venerated franchise to see wide release in China. Chinese audiences’ growing clout in Hollywood almost certainly has something to do with that, with the Chinese movie market recorded as the fastest growing in the world in 2014 and expected by some to overtake the U.S. movie-going public in terms of butts in chairs by 2020.

But it appears that, in Disney’s zealous pursuit of Chinese box office money, the company has allowed a potentially serious PR gaffe in the form of Chinese promotional posters for the new Star Wars film that are similar in nearly every way to the promo posters of other regions except for the glaring omission of several non-white characters.

Hong Kong-based columnist Ray Kwong compares the English-language and Chinese promo posters

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Actor John Boyega’s character Finn – a major protagonist in the film who is also black – is shrunk wayyyyy down in size and pushed down near the bottom of the poster. At a glance, the character appears to have been erased entirely in favor of a more sprawling shot of dogfighting spacecraft. Missing entirely are Oscar Isaac, a Guatemalan-American actor portraying resistance fighter Poe Dameron, and Lupita Nyong’o, a black actress who plays a character named Maz Kanata.

At least one Chinese news outlet says Chinese analysts are brushing off the changes, denying that they’re discriminatory and arguing that the edits aimed for maximum appeal to the Chinese audience and just happened to coincidentally eliminate or downplay all non-white characters. This logic, though, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, considering that, this being the first Star Wars film to see wide release in China, Chinese audiences would presumably have no affinity with the returning characters from the earlier films – who seem to be emphasized and enlarged here.

Inexplicably, Chewbacca the Wookiee – who we presume needs no introduction on this site – has also been eliminated from the Chinese poster, along with some other subtle changes such as turning villain Kylo Ren more towards the viewer.

Discrimination is rampant in many parts of East Asia, including Japan, and there are many accounts of people of African descent experiencing harsher discrimination than white and Asian foreigners in these countries. In light of this, it seems that – even if the changes to the poster were made purely in the name of economic gains rather than outright prejudice – the idea of the Chinese marketing arm for Disney making these unfortunate changes by sheer, innocent coincidence would be astronomically far-fetched.

Regardless of the exact process that enabled these changes to see the light of day, it seems inevitable that Disney, notorious for carefully curating its reputation worldwide, will pull the posters in favor of something less polarizing.

“Walk In Shanghai”

Shanghai is known as one of the busiest and biggest cities in the world, and thanks to media artist JT Singh we are getting a unique tour through its sprawling network of streets, subway lines, highways and, of course, people. Reversing Singh’s own movement against that of the city allows for us to focus in on his own actions and journey amidst 24 million others, as well as appreciate the simple pleasure of walking versus other methods of transportation.

Singh is an expert on emerging cities and has advised many city leaders throughout North America, Asia and Europe, including those in Toronto, Shanghai, Tokyo and Fuzhou, on how to help cities engage with their global context through tactics such as enhancing local cultural economies, tourism and trade, developing international presence and attracting foreign investment.

Hayao Miyazaki joins politicians and CEOs donating millions to protest U.S. military in Okinawa

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RocketNews 24:

As you may know, Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most outspoken proponents of anti-war policy in Japan. As you may also know, Okinawa is home to a plethora of American military bases, and has been a hotbed of controversy for decades.

However, what you may not know is that Miyazaki and Okinawa have finally officially teamed up to protest the American military presence. The director announced on May 7 that he will officially join the Henoko Fund,” a group of politicians and CEOs who are putting their money where their mouths are and donating hundreds of millions of yen to prevent the relocation of the Futenma Air Base.

If you’re new to the topic of American military bases in Okinawa, here’s the super quick rundown: Okinawa used to be known as the Ryukyu Kingdom, which existed as its own entity for hundreds of years. It was subsequently invaded by mainland Japan in 1609, begrudgingly annexed as part of Japan in 1872, and then completely devastated during World War II when it became a battlefield between Japanese and U.S. soldiers, resulting in one-third of the entire civilian population being killed.

The U.S. occupied Okinawa following the end of the war, leaving its influence all over the island. People drove on the right side of the road (instead of the left as in mainland Japan), dollars were used as the official currency, and military bases were set up all over as well. When Okinawa was returned to Japanese rule in 1972, the roads and money went back to normal, but the bases stayed behind. After hundreds of thousands of lives lost and generations of war, you can imagine that the Okinawan people were getting very tired of the whole military thing.

And that sentiment has continued up to today. Despite the fact that Okinawa makes up less than 1% of Japan, it is home to over 75% of all U.S. military bases in Japan. This makes the Okinawa people feel like they’re getting the brunt of U.S. bases dumped on them while the rest of Japan dodges the responsibility.

▼ That’s a lot of military presence on an island merely 65 miles (105 kilometers) long and five miles (eight kilometers) wide.

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Though general protests against the U.S. bases are held often, one of the most controversial topics is the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. It is currently located in Ginowan City, but it was proposed to be moved to the coast of Henoko in northern Okinawa, away from the residential area. While the intentions behind the proposal may be sound, the Henoko coast is home to coral reef and critically endangered dugong. Many feel building a military base there would be a further insult to Okinawa, symbolically crushing beautiful parts of the island with more military installations.

And that brings us to the recently established Henoko Fund. Okinawan politicians, CEOs, organizations and individuals have teamed up to sponsor ads and demonstrations against the relocation of the airbase, marking the first time that the private sector has officially become involved in the protests, so far raising over 100 million yen (US$834,064).

Up until now there have been seven other high-profile joint representatives sponsoring the Henoko Fund, but Miyazaki is by far the most well-known. Considering the anti-war messages in his films and the fact that he was quoted last year as saying“demilitarization in Okinawa is essential for peace in East Asia,” his ideals fit in perfectly with the rest of the group.

Other members of the Henoko Fund have said they’re very happy to have Miyazaki as a joint representative, and they hope that having him will help broaden their group’s appeal and further their cause, both inside and outside of Okinawa.


Chinese census finds hard facts about the differences between Chinese, Japanese and Koreans

RocketNews 24:



Despite tons of cultural similarities, the people of East Asia’s top three superpowers – Japan, China and Korea – are a wildly different bunch. Not only on a superficial level like clothing choices and which David Bowie song they prefer to sing at karaoke, but also on a deeper and more fundamental level; people in all three countries vary wildly in things like height, education levels and even sexual satisfaction.

According to a new census conducted by a Chinese newsgroup recently, anyway. Here are some of their findings:


  • Women’s Health

Japan tops the other two countries – and much of the rest of the civilized world – in terms of women’s health, ranking 33 in the world. Korea comes in at 75 and China takes the 133rd spot, making it the unhealthiest of the three countries.


  • Marriage Age

Chinese women marry youngest, at an average age of 24.9. Korea and Japan are basically tied at 29.4 and 29.2 years of age, respectively.


  • Sexual Satisfaction

The Chinese appear most satisfied with their sex lives, with an average 42% “satisfaction level.” Japan came in dead last at just 15%, despite (or perhaps because of)? porn, sex shops and semi-legal paid sexual encounters being readily available all over the country.


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  • Height

Korean women measured an average 162 cm (5’3″), while men came in at 174 cm (5’7″), beating both Chinese and Japanese averages by about 4 cm. I imagine the huge number of uncannily hunched-over old people brought down the average for all three countries.


  • Penis Size

In what must have been the most uncomfortable item for researchers to look into, the survey found both Japanese and Chinese men come in at an average 10.89 cm, although available data for Chinese men is apparently around four decades old. Korean men average 9.66 cm, ranking just a tad shorter than their East Asian counterparts.


  • First “Experience”

Of course we’re talking about sex here because all surveys like this need some salacious material to get people to care enough to pay attention to the boring stuff. Koreans proved the youngest sex hounds, beating out the global average by a significant margin at just 13.6 years old. Most Japanese people’s first time is around 18.6 years old, while the Chinese apparently like to wait until the age of 21. We wonder what they’re doing in high school if not chasing tail.


  • Breast Size

We’re talking only about women’s breasts here, although lord knows I’ve observed many a male D-cup in my local gym locker room. In Japanese sizes, Chinese women average a 75B (US 34A), Korean women average an A cup (US AA), and Japanese women come in between a B and C (US A or B). The survey notes certain parts of Japan have unusual concentrations of D and E-average women (US C or D), although it cruelly neglects to point out where those Utopias might be.


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  • Gender Equality

The Global Gender Gap Index, which ranks gender equality based on a number of quantifiable factors, ranks China as most gender-equal – at number 69 of 135 countries. Japan and Korea are comparatively less kind to those of the female persuasion, ranking 105 and 111. Note the higher the number, the wider the gender divide, so none of the three countries make a very impressive showing here.


  • Education for Women

In terms of access to education for women, China ranks 81st globally, while Japan ranks 91st and Korea comes in at 100th place.


  • Women in Government

In keeping with what we’re beginning to see as a female empowerment trend in China, representation for women in Chinese government blew the other two countries out of the water, with 23.4% of all government representatives being female. Nice going, China – let’s see some more of that.

While it’s always up for debate which country has the better food, more attractive people or more convenient transportation, it’s nice to have some solid, indisputable facts. Although, while all of the above information is all very interesting and useful on some level, we guess, we’re still a little sore the survey didn’t bother to find those preferred Bowie songs.



Check out this link:

Chinese census finds hard facts about the differences between Chinese, Japanese and Koreans


View From Space At Night Shows Huge Difference Between North And South Korea

International Space Station video taken on Jan. 30, 2014 reveals a stark contrast between the neighboring Koreas


Flying over East Asia, astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) took this night image of the Korean Peninsula.

View From Space At Night Shows Huge Difference Between North And South Korea


From NASA:

North Korea is almost completely dark compared to neighboring South Korea and China. The darkened land appears as if it were a patch of water joining the Yellow Sea to the Sea of Japan. Its capital city, Pyongyang, appears like a small island, despite a population of 3.26 million (as of 2008).

The light emission from Pyongyang is equivalent to the smaller towns in South Korea.



Pew Resarch: As tensions rise in Asia, a look at how Japanese, South Koreans and Chinese view each other

Vice President Joseph Biden is in Asia on a trip that will take him to Japan, South Korea and China for high-level meetings that come at a time when tensions have ratcheted up in the region over China’s decision to declare an air defense zone over disputed islands – just one of the issues underlying the unease among the three countries.

A key goal of Biden’s trip, in addition to trying to defuse the tensions, will be to make clear, especially to America’s Japanese and Korean allies, the Obama administration’s strategy in East Asia – once described as a “pivot” of U.S. attention away from the Middle East to their part of the world, and now referred to by officials as a “rebalancing.”


China’s military power is regarded with alarm in Japan and South Korea. Nearly all Japanese (96%) see China’s power as bad for their country as do 91% of South Koreans, according to a Pew Research Center survey this spring. Underlying that sentiment are the territorial disputes over islands in the East China Sea. More than eight-in-ten (82%) Japanese see these disputes as a big problem, as do 77% of South Koreans.

The point of contention between Japan and China involves eight islands known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China – islands that are uninhabited but are near key shipping lanes and potential oil and gas finds. China’s newly-declared air defense zone also has revived concern in South Korea, which has its own dispute with Beijing over a submerged rock known as Ieodo in Korea and Suyan Rock in China. That area is also said to be surrounded by gas and mineral deposits.

FT_japan-apologyIll feelings among the people of the three nations are not confined to the territorial disputes. Almost seven decades after the end of World War II, a big majority of South Koreans (98%) and Chinese (78%) believe that Japan has not sufficiently apologized for its actions in their countries during the 1930s and 1940s, according to our spring survey. Those feelings were exacerbated in April when a group of conservative Japanese lawmakers visited the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo to honor Japanese soldiers killed in the war.

As for the U.S. role in the region, while the administration’s strategy for dealing with China has come into sharp focus among allies in the region, the U.S. still has a strong reservoir of good will on which to draw in Japan and South Korea compared to China.

Nearly seven-in-ten (69%)  Japanese regard the U.S. favorably compared with only 5% who have a positive view of China, according to the spring survey. In South Korea, 78% have a favorable view of the U.S. compared with 46% who regard China positively.

The Japanese see China as an enemy rather than partner by a 40% to 11% margin, with 47% seeing it as neither. South Koreans have a less negative view, with 27% seeing China as a partner, 17% as an enemy, and 53% seeing it as neither. (The South Koreans are also more apt to say China will eventually or already has replaced the U.S. as the world’s leading superpower, with 56% of them holding that view compared to 24% of Japanese).

One area where the U.S. gets low marks along with China, though not quite as low, is in perceptions of how much it takes the interests of South Korea and Japan into consideration in making foreign policy decisions. About six-in-ten South Koreans (62%) and Japanese (59%) say not too much or not at all. However, bigger majorities in Japan (89%) and South Korea (79%) have that view of China.

Check out this link:

Pew Resarch: As tensions rise in Asia, a look at how Japanese, South Koreans and Chinese view each other


Will the NFL catch on in Asia? NFL exec Vishal Shah thinks mobile technology may be the key…


Vishal Shah is Vice President of Digital Media Business Development at the National Football League, where he is responsible for the strategy and execution of NFL‘s digital media growth initiatives, including those related to NFL properties as well as partnerships. Before his time with the NFL, Vishal was a venture capitalist at GGV Capital, where he devoted his time to mobile and digital media investment opportunities in the United States and China.

Shah was a speaker at Asia Society‘s 2013 Diversity Leadership Forum, where he appeared on a “Young Leaders Roundtable” centered on the way 21st-century economic upheavals have affected the rising generation of entrepreneurs.

(Video of that session is available here.)

As the 2013 season was getting underway, Shah took a time-out to share with Asia Society some of the strategies that are helping the NFL move into both East Asia and the digital realm.

Check out this link for the interview:

Will the NFL catch on in Asia? NFL exec Vishal Shah thinks mobile technology may be the key…