Hollywood consistently refuses to cast authentically Asian actors in live-action adaptations of popular Anime.
Some have argued that there are simply not enough talented high profile Asian actors that Americans will recognize.
This article is a counter argument. This is by no means a complete list– additionally, the actors are ethnically Asian but not exclusively Japanese.
Known for her roles as Mako Mori in Pacific Rim and the Witch in 47 Ronin, Rinko Kikuchi has range and can easily play the heroine or the villainess.
Known for his work in James Bond and The Man With The Iron Fists, Rick Yune is the perfect heroic archetype.
The star from Nikkita could play any of Anime’s signature femmes fatales. Maggie Q has power, stage presence, and grace.
Who was that funny Asian guy from The Hangover? It’s Ken Jeong! He would be perfect for some of the more over-the-top anime characters.
Jamie Chung has been in everything from Sucker Punch to The Man With The Iron Fists. Though usually cast as a side character, she has the charisma and kickass fighting skills to be the leading lady.
Asano Tadanobu has been in everything from 47 Ronin to Silence. His defining work in Ichi The Killer helped sow the seeds for Heath Ledger’s Joker. He’s funny, threatening, and a bad guy you love to hate.
A fan favorite since her days at G4, Olivia Munn can do action and comedy. Furthermore Munn has self-identified as a geek. If there is an anime adaptation, she’ll make sure it’s done justice.
Best known for his leading role as IP Man and more recently in Rogue One, Donnie Yen has an unparalleled martial arts capacity which makes him perfect for any role in a live action anime film. If you still need convincing, just check out this fight scene from IP Man.
Known for her roles in The Wolverine and Batman Vs Superman, I know I can’t be the only one who wants to see more of Tao Okamoto. Yes, Anime has its share of kickbutt women but there are also some more grounded and compelling dramas that would benefit from Okamoto’s performance.
Known for playing Storm Shadow in GI Joe, Byung-hun Lee is a badass and I’d love to see him in a leading role. He’s handsome, skilled at martial arts, and could play the hero or villain believably.
I’m not expecting this article to change Hollywood’s systemic discrimination overnight, but I hope that this does open a positive discussion as to what could happen in the future.
In a world where we have a film like Black Panther making over a billion dollars and appealing to people of all skins and creeds, there is no reason not to show our pride for talented Asian actors.