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(Literature)
 
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* [[Cyberpunk]] literature of the 80s and early 90s just considered [[Japan Takes Over the World|Japanese economic domination of the world]] inevitable, even extending to non-cyberpunk and even comedic SF like ''[[Back to The Future]] II''. [[Unfunny Aneurysm Moment|And then the bottom fell out of the Japanese banking system,]] which has never quite recovered.
 
* [[Cyberpunk]] literature of the 80s and early 90s just considered [[Japan Takes Over the World|Japanese economic domination of the world]] inevitable, even extending to non-cyberpunk and even comedic SF like ''[[Back to The Future]] II''. [[Unfunny Aneurysm Moment|And then the bottom fell out of the Japanese banking system,]] which has never quite recovered.
 
* Ah Ling in [[Philip Pullman]]'s ''[[Sally Lockhart]]'' novels is half-Dutch, and ''looks'' Caucasian, but is otherwise a fairly standard example of the trope.
 
* Ah Ling in [[Philip Pullman]]'s ''[[Sally Lockhart]]'' novels is half-Dutch, and ''looks'' Caucasian, but is otherwise a fairly standard example of the trope.
* Explicitly averted in the original [[Charlie Chan]] novels by Earl Derr Biggers, in which the author set out to create an Asian character on the right side of the law for a change. How accurate they are is open to question, but at least some respect for the Chinese and their culture is shown, though when films were made based on the books, [[Yellowface|Chan was portrayed by a white actor]].
+
* Explicitly averted in the original [[Charlie Chan]] novels by Earl Derr Biggers, in which the author set out to create an Asian character on the right side of the law for a change. How accurate they are is open to question, but at least some respect for the Chinese and their culture is shown, though when films were made based on the books, the Asian (''viz'', Korean and Japanese, since [[All Asians Are Alike]]) actors who first played the role proved so unsatisfactory to both the public and the author that from then on, [[Yellowface|Chan was portrayed by a white actor]].
 
* Played very straight in [[Wallander|Henning Mankell]]'s novel ''"The Man From Beijing"''. Evil Chinese mastermind? Check. Sinister Chinese conspiracy to take over the world (well Africa anyway)? Check. Subtle Chinese murder techniques? Check.
 
* Played very straight in [[Wallander|Henning Mankell]]'s novel ''"The Man From Beijing"''. Evil Chinese mastermind? Check. Sinister Chinese conspiracy to take over the world (well Africa anyway)? Check. Subtle Chinese murder techniques? Check.
 
* Even the typically politically-correct [[Star Wars Expanded Universe]] gets in on this with Prince Xizor and his [[The Syndicate|crime syndicate]], Black Sun. Besides being a blatant Chinese/Manchurian stereotype ''and'' a [[The Reptilians|reptilian]] (he looks like [http://www.paralada.org/Estonia_self/Estonia_images/SWgeek/Xizor_img/Prince_Xizor.jpg this]), he's a scheming, inscrutable sort, and the logo of Black Sun is suspiciously similar to the flag of the Republic of China.
 
* Even the typically politically-correct [[Star Wars Expanded Universe]] gets in on this with Prince Xizor and his [[The Syndicate|crime syndicate]], Black Sun. Besides being a blatant Chinese/Manchurian stereotype ''and'' a [[The Reptilians|reptilian]] (he looks like [http://www.paralada.org/Estonia_self/Estonia_images/SWgeek/Xizor_img/Prince_Xizor.jpg this]), he's a scheming, inscrutable sort, and the logo of Black Sun is suspiciously similar to the flag of the Republic of China.

Latest revision as of 19:22, October 16, 2015

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Yellow Peril

Subtle, isn't it?

"Imagine a person, tall, lean and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan, a close-shaven skull, and long, magnetic eyes of the true cat-green. Invest him with all the cruel cunning of an entire Eastern race, accumulated in one giant intellect, with all the resources of science past and present, with all the resources, if you will, of a wealthy government — which, however, already has denied all knowledge of his existence. Imagine that awful being, and you have a mental picture of Dr. Fu-Manchu, the yellow peril incarnate in one man."
The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu by Sax Rohmer

The Yellow Peril is an "oriental" criminal and/or political mastermind, a character originating in the xenophobic days of the late 19th century, but popular ever since.

As an expression of the "mysterious East" gone wrong, this villain traditionally had, or seemed to have, mystical powers. Often he had a beautiful daughter, who either turned from her evil ways to work with the good guys, or was herself a scheming villain, at least as bad as he, in her own right. Sometimes he would speak in a thick and oddly-pronounced dialect.

The "mysterious Chinaman" grew to be such an cliché in mystery stories of the early twentieth century that, in 1929 Ronald Knox, included in his "Ten Commandments" the rule that "No Chinaman must figure in the story."

In what was presumably an attempt to avert the racism inherent in this trope, several 80s and 90s Animated Adaptations of properties with Yellow Peril villains colored them green. Mandarin in the Iron Man cartoon, Dr No in James Bond Jr and Ming the Merciless in both Defenders of the Earth and the 1996 Flash Gordon series, are examples of this.

One may think this was now a Discredited Trope, but in fact it is alive and well, although the individual "yellow" villain is often replaced by Triads, Yakuza, Chinese Communism, or sinister "Asian" businessmen.

The idea, in America at least, was probably spurred on by the mass-migration of many thousands of Chinese workers from China in the 1800s. This large movement led many Americans to mistakenly think of Chinese people (and by extension, all Asians) as mysterious and expansionist. The fact that the workers weren't allowed to integrate with whites and often couldn't speak English didn't help matters. It later turned out that it was Japan that was expansionist -- China was in no shape for world domination at that point -- but hindsight is 20/20.

See also: Inscrutable Oriental, Dragon Lady, Japan Takes Over the World, China Takes Over the World. For the Web Comic of the same name, see Yellow Peril.

Compare its polar opposite, Asian Gal with White Guy.

Examples of Yellow Peril include:


Anime & Manga Edit

  • Prince Ko-Fan Shiemarr from The Five Star Stories, despite being a character in a Space Opera manga set A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away is designed to mimic the aesthetic of Yellow Peril characters in western works. He is a bit of a subversion, though, since rather than being an out & out villain, he's more of a Psycho for Hire who works for the nominal protagonist.
  • Chao Lingshen, the first major Big Bad from Mahou Sensei Negima is the smarter of the two stereotypical Chinese students in Negi's class. Completely subverted when it is revealed that Chao's ambitions are actually to bring about a better future, causing the entire cast to question whether they should stop her or join her.
    • Also, she is technically Martian, not Chinese.
  • Rurouni Kenshin includes a reversal of this in Shogo Amakusa, a mysterious westerner who used his mystical Christian powers to heal people and fight.


Comic Books Edit

  • Alan Moore's comic series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen concluded with a war between Fu Manchu and Dr. James Moriarty. It also reflected the times by having a lot of dialogue and depictions of London's chinatown in ways that we would consider massively racist now.
  • The Mandarin, from Iron Man, though recent writers have dropped the Fu Manchu characterization, in favor of that similar to Ra's Al Ghul.
    • The 90s TV series tried to avert this by revealing that he was Caucasian before he got exposed to the power rings and his appearance changed. To green.
    • The more recent Iron Man: Armored Adventures animated series also largely averts this with its portrayal of the two characters who use the Mandarin identity- Shin Zhang is treated as a fairly typical criminal mastermind whose Asian-ness is incidental to his evil, while his stepson Gene Khan is both a major Anti-Villain and, while he certainly takes pride in his heritage from China in general and his family line in particular, he's otherwise very modern and western in his mannerisms and outlook.
  • There was a villain named "Yellow Peri" in both the Superboy comic book and TV show, but she had nothing to do with the trope other than the name pun.
  • The Tintin story The Blue Lotus averts this: the portrayal of China is famously sympathetic and accurate. The Japanese invaders come across as evil and petty imperialists, but, well, they sort of were. Coming from a Belgian, this is something of a case of grey and black morality, not that Herge was your typical Belgian colonial. The Second Sino-Japanese War, in which at least 10 million Chinese civilians died at the hands of the Japanese Army, was undoubtedly the darkest moral hour of the Japanese people.
    • Averted permanently for the rest of the series. There's a non-caricatured Japanese detective in "The Crab with the Golden Claws" and the locals in "Tintin in Tibet" are all normal folks.
  • In the Legends of the Dark Knight story Tao, Batman encounters a number of Chinese villains, as well as a Chinese Mentor. The villains include a wicked old wizard, H'sien Tan, his student, Dragon, who acts as The Dragon to his master as well as the Big Bad later, and looks just like the "Little Dragon", Bruce Lee. Most stereotypical of all is the boss of Gotham's Chinese underworld, Johnny Khan (Khan isn't even a Chinese name!). Khan isn't just a 'Yellow Peril' stereotype, he's Fu Manchu. And not just any Fu Manchu. He's clearly recognisable as Christopher Lee dressed as Fu Manchu.
  • The Golden Age comic book supervillain The Claw took this trope about as far as it could possibly go. He was a gigantic yellow dragon-like Evil Overlord with a horde of "oriental" minions and could do anything, up to and including standing in the middle of the ocean and creating a gigantic whirlpool to change the Earth's climate. During his five-issue battle with the Golden Age Daredevil (at a time when multi-part stories were unheard of), he Brainwashed the US President and then took over the country himself with an army of criminals.
  • The somewhat similar Yellow Claw in modern Marvel comics continuity (originally from 1956) still exists; however, the old coloring is lampshaded with a remark in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition that "The Yellow Claw has a pale yellow skin color quite unlike the skin tones of other Orientals."
    • It's also counterbalanced by the fact that his archenemy, FBI agent Jimmy Woo, is a typical Golden Age action hero who happens to be Chinese-American.
    • The "yellow peril" aspects of the Yellow Claw are Lampshaded and subverted in the Agents of Atlas miniseries, which brings both the Yellow Claw and Jimmy Woo into the modern era. It should be noted that by the mini's end, the Yellow Claw is about as dead as anyone in comics can be.
    • Later Fu Manchu himself was a major supporting character in the 1970s series, Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu, where the title character, Fu Manchu's son, fights against his father's villainy.
  • A few particularly cracked out issues of Wonder Woman and The Metal Men had "Egg Fu", a gigantic yellow egg with stereotypical Oriental features and a "mustache tlap." (Well, "trap", but, you know.) John Byrne later tried to retinker him as a supercomputer from Apokolips (and one that was deemed culturally insensitive within the story), but Grant Morrison making him one of the Great Ten (a Chinese superhero team also created by Grant Morrison), still an overly-intelligent yellow egghead named Chang Tzu, brought back the Unfortunate Implications.
    • That said, this was an experiment in seeing if even the most ridiculous character could be Rescued From the Scrappy Heap. And in that vein, it was partially successful, giving Chang Tzu a less silly name and a somewhat dignified design.
  • Played with in Mark Millar and J. G. Jones's comics miniseries Wanted, where the prerequisite Fu Manchu knockoff, who secretly rules all of Asia, is actually pretty affable as far as megalomaniacal supervillains go.
  • Memnan Saa from the Hellboy universe (the BPRD and Lobster Johnson comics). Though as it turns out, his origins predate China, and stretch back to the ancient Hyperborean civilization of the North Pole. Not only that, but the reason he resembles the classic British actor dressed in ridiculous Oriental robes look is because he's actually a Victorian-era British occultist named Martin Gilfryd.
  • Doctor Tzin-Tzin is a Fu Manchu-inspired Asian-looking (but actually a Mighty Whitey American raised by Chinese bandits) crime lord who battles Batman several times.
  • Hark in Planetary is a clear Fu Manchu analogue, but ended up working for the side of good, alongside various pulp hero Expys. His beautiful daughter is Anna Hark, a ruthless businesswoman who's a bit of a Dragon Lady but undergoes her own Heel Face Turn.
  • The first of Edgar P. Jacobs' Blake and Mortimer stories, Secret of the Swordfish, pits the heroes against the world-conquering, Asian-supremacist "Yellow Empire". However, the trope is subverted, as the primary villain in the story is the Caucasian Colonel Olrik and the Big Bad, Emperor Basam Damdu, is less mysterious Oriental, and more Hitler-esque, megalomanic madman.
  • Ra's al Ghul is explicitly modeled after this character type, essentially being a more Arabic-themed Fu Manchu with all of the trappings (beautiful daughter infatuated with the hero, vast criminal empire, supernatural elements). His creator, Denny O'Neil, commented that his face is meant to be an unidentifiable mixture of East Asian facial features so that he is neither Asian nor Arab.
  • Leif Lama in the Swedish comic James Hund, an Affectionate Parody of action-adventure stories. He is the Evil Twin Brother of the Dalai Lama; like him he is supposedly reincarnated through the centuries, but leads the Dhubbist sect "which preaches violence and materialism". Leif is one of the leaders of Evil, Inc., and his thieving followers apparently created a Mount Everest-sized heap of stolen goods in Tibet - as well as partially powering modern (Western) consumerist society (they keep stealing our useless crap, so we buy more useless crap, for which Corrupt Corporate Executives pay a fee to Leif).


Film Edit

  • The evil Mongol Shiwan Khan in The Shadow movie is a magical overlord who claims to be the last direct descendant of Genghis Khan--a bit of an unlikely story given just how many descendents Genghis Khan supposedly has.
  • Parodied in The Kentucky Fried Movie with Dr. Klahn.
  • Dr. Tito Daka from the 1943 Batman serial. It even works in a Lampshade Hanging about how, like many examples here, he is played by a Caucasian when a tourist meets him outside his amusement park hideout and mistakes him for, what else, an American playing an Asian: "Your accent's a little off, but the makeup is perfect!" In fact, Daka's accent was profoundly off for a supposedly Japanese character, sounding more like a cross between Chinese and Bronx.
    • The serial blows far past Unfortunate Implications; the narrator actually refers to him as "the sinister Jap, Dr. Daka" and speaks glowingly of when "a wise government rounded up the shifty-eyed Japs" of Gotham City's Little Tokyo. The overblown racism is actually one of the reasons the serial had a minor camp revival among college students in the Sixties.
  • Batman Begins changes Ra's al Ghul from his comicbook portrayal. Some of the Yellow Peril aspects are played more straight this time (his headquarters are in China this time, and Ra's is Chinese or Japanese) while others are messed with (he and his followers' lack supernatural powers, but use tricks to make enemies think they do, and oh, yeah, he's actually a Caucasian--the aforementioned Chinese/Japanese guy is actually a decoy).
  • Dr. Yen Lo the sinister brainwasher in the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate.
  • Mr. Han from Enter the Dragon would exemplify this trope, right down to his "daughters", but the hero opposing him is played by Bruce Lee!
  • Grindhouse had Fu Manchu in the Real Trailer, Fake Movie Werewolf Women Of The SS... played by Nicolas Cage!
  • Black Rain plays the trope completely straight, with a sinister Japanese conspiracy to flood the USA with "perfect" forged banknotes, although the mastermind is portrayed fairly sympathetically and reveals his motivation for the plot is revenge on the US, having survived Hiroshima as a child, while the main villain is a young Ax Crazy The Starscream whose actions are blamed on him having become too Westernized.
  • Kabai Sengh, leader of the Sengh Brotherhood in The Phantom. Sengh is a misspelling of Singh, which is Punjabi, but he otherwise fits the trope, and is played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who was the go-to guy for Asian supervillains back during the 1980s and 1990s (he played Shang Tsung in the Mortal Kombat movie, for example).
  • The upcoming Red Dawn remake has North Korea invading the United States.
    • Before 2011 it was, unsurprisingly, China.
  • Lo Pan in the film Big Trouble in Little China is a Chinese-American sorcerer who made a deal with a demon for power and long life. However, he's a weak example because the film as a whole is an Urban Fantasy loosely based on Chinese folklore, and the heroes are mostly composed of fellow Chinese-Americans.
    • It has also been observed that the ostensible Caucasian hero of the film is mostly arrogant and boastful and the true hero is the Chinese-American Hypercompetent Sidekick.
  • Battle Beneath the Earth (1967). The Chinese military is tunnelling under the Pacific so they can plant atomic bombs under US cities. A slight amount of subtlety was added to this by making the Big Bad a renegade general who'd already set up nukes under Beijing.
  • Used in Rising Sun, by many characters. See Literature about the book from Michael Crichton.
  • Indiana Jones briefly faces off against Chinese mobster Lao Che and his cronies in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Not particularly stereotypical, although all rather hammy.
  • The not-particularly-nice Chinese pirate Sao Feng, as played by Chow Yun-Fat, in Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End.
  • The Dragon Emperor as played by Jet Li in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. His spurned lover sorceress does help our heroes out, though.
  • The Blaxploitation spoof Black Dynamite has The Fiendish Dr. Wu. His name actually is Fiendish Dr. Wu, and Dynamite refers to him like that every time he is mention. Considering how he takes out the entire squad, leaving Dynamite as the sole-survivor, and has created a drug that shrinks people's "johnsons", he certainly lives up to his name.
  • The characters in every movie made about WW II in the Pacific or the Korean War, including extremely polite, but treacherous, characters who graduated from Harvard.


Literature Edit

  • Fu Manchu, of the original short story and novel series by Sax Rohmer and their many, many adaptations, is perhaps the classic example. From the same source, Fah Lo Suee embodies the "beautiful-but-at-least-as-evil-as-he" version of the evil mastermind's daughter. Though he is not the first example of Yellow Peril caricatures of Asians, his cultural influence makes him the Trope Codifier.
  • H.P. Lovecraft, a profoundly racist man, seemed to genuinely believe that some day in the future the Chinese would kill all the Caucasians and take over the world. This worked its way into the Cthulhu Mythos in his story "He," where a man travels into the future and sees New York filled with scary Asian people. His opus "The Shadow Out of Time" also briefly mentions "the cruel empire of Tsan-Chan, which is to come in 5,000 A.D."
    • However, the man who came from the aforementioned "cruel empire" was apparently both brilliant and became friends or good acquaintances with the protagonist. Both were possessing alien bodies at the time though, along with various other human minds from different lands and eras.
  • Robert W. Chambers, who was a major influence on Lovecraft, had a similar (though far less over-the-top) fear of the mysterious East in his short story "The Maker of Moons", which involved an evil Chinese criminal getting involved in an illegal American alchemy ring. He had a Beautiful Daughter who was good, but she was adopted and white.
  • The villains in the 1928 pulp novel Armageddon 2419 A.D are the Han Airlords, an Asian empire that conquers the world in 2109. It takes a 20th century transplant to turn the tide.
  • Shiwan Khan, The Shadow. This is somewhat subverted (at least in The Movie) by making him properly Mongolian instead of Chinese. (There are Chinese who have Genghis among their ancestors, even if they may prefer not to.)
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Sixth Column depicts heroic white Americans fighting back against sinister (and themselves racist) "Pan-Asian" (A Chinese/Japanese alliance) invaders, with race-specific weapons. The invasion had targeted Chinese or Japanese Americans from the start; one surviving Chinese American was an integral part of the counter-attack by joining the scientists and helping them test their weapons. Heinlein usually made an effort to be non-racist; rumor has it the plot of Sixth Column was editorially-enforced.
  • One of the recurring Diabolical Masterminds of the Belgian book series Bob Morane is Mr. Ming, a tall, mysterious, bald Mongolian. He was also known by the not-very-subtle moniker of "L'ombre Jaune" or "The Yellow Shadow".
  • Doctor Julius No in the James Bond book and movie Dr. No. Ian Fleming admitted that Dr. No was inspired in part by Fu Manchu. Despite this, No is only half Chinese, and his national origin has little to do with his actions.
  • Michael Crichton's Rising Sun runs with a "the Japanese are different from us, so their investment is a threat" version.
  • Tom Clancy's Debt of Honor keeps pretty close to the standard version, with a Chinese/Japanese conspiracy as the Big Bad, and Raizo Yamata in the "sinister yellow mastermind" role. Clancy pursued the "Chinese threat" theme in three later novels Executive Orders, SSN and The Bear and the Dragon".
  • Lord Hong from Interesting Times, although an ambiguous version of this trope (his plans to conquer the West, i.e. Ankh-Morpork, are depicted as hopelessly naive).
  • Clive Cussler's Medusa has as its Big Bad a sinister Chinese conspiracy scheming to unleash a global plague.
  • The Fiendish Doctor Po from the Bernice Summerfield novel Ship of Fools -- a fictional character in that world (until somebody programs an AI to be him) and lampshaded as a ridiculous anachronism to boot.
  • David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series of sci-fi novels averts this. The founder of the system actually saved mankind from extinction, but it became corrupted over time, so that dissenters of all ethnicities work together to overthrow the regime.
  • Cyberpunk literature of the 80s and early 90s just considered Japanese economic domination of the world inevitable, even extending to non-cyberpunk and even comedic SF like Back to The Future II. And then the bottom fell out of the Japanese banking system, which has never quite recovered.
  • Ah Ling in Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart novels is half-Dutch, and looks Caucasian, but is otherwise a fairly standard example of the trope.
  • Explicitly averted in the original Charlie Chan novels by Earl Derr Biggers, in which the author set out to create an Asian character on the right side of the law for a change. How accurate they are is open to question, but at least some respect for the Chinese and their culture is shown, though when films were made based on the books, the Asian (viz, Korean and Japanese, since All Asians Are Alike) actors who first played the role proved so unsatisfactory to both the public and the author that from then on, Chan was portrayed by a white actor.
  • Played very straight in Henning Mankell's novel "The Man From Beijing". Evil Chinese mastermind? Check. Sinister Chinese conspiracy to take over the world (well Africa anyway)? Check. Subtle Chinese murder techniques? Check.
  • Even the typically politically-correct Star Wars Expanded Universe gets in on this with Prince Xizor and his crime syndicate, Black Sun. Besides being a blatant Chinese/Manchurian stereotype and a reptilian (he looks like this), he's a scheming, inscrutable sort, and the logo of Black Sun is suspiciously similar to the flag of the Republic of China.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: Oh yes, this series, particularly the book Vendetta, happily went into this trope! That book even had the ladies take evil John Chai and disguise him as Fu Manchu! In other books of the series, Harry Wong gets little respect from a number of Americans, simply because he is Asian.
  • The Yellow Invasion trilogy, a political thriller written in 1905 by Emile Driant, depicts the surprise attack of Europe by gigantic Sino-Japanese armies led by a highly intelligent and fanatically anti-Western officer, Yukinaga.
  • Gene Stratton Porter's Her Father's Daughter. All right, there's also some love stories and a heroine who loves nature, but its main point is to be a screed against the Yellow Peril.

 People have talked about the 'yellow peril' till it's got to be a meaningless phrase. Somebody must wake up to the realization that it's the deadliest peril that ever has menaced white civilization. Why shouldn't you have your hand in such wonderful work?"

"Linda," said the boy breathlessly, "do you realize that you have been saying 'we'? Can you help me? Will you help me?"

"No," said Linda, "I didn't realize that I had said 'we.' I didn't mean two people, just you and me. I meant all the white boys and girls of the high school and the city and the state and the whole world. If we are going to combat the 'yellow peril' we must combine against it. We have got to curb our appetites and train our brains and enlarge our hearts till we are something bigger and finer and numerically greater than this yellow peril. We can't take it and pick it up and push it into the sea. We are not Germans and we are not Turks. I never wanted anything in all this world worse than I want to see you graduate ahead of Oka Sayye. And then I want to see the white boys and girls of Canada and of England and of Norway and Sweden and Australia, and of the whole world doing exactly what I am recommending that you do in your class and what I am doing personally in my own. I have had Japs in my classes ever since I have been in school, but Father always told me to study them, to play the game fairly, but to BEAT them in some way, in some fair way, to beat them at the game they are undertaking."


Live Action TV Edit

  • The Wild Wild West, "The Night the Dragon Screamed".
  • Many episodes of Kung Fu, though the hero was a Chinese man played by a white American actor.
  • The Hood from Thunderbirds, with mind-control powers. His brother Kyrano and niece Tin-Tin were both on the good guy's staff. Kyrano was a servant. Tin-Tin has degrees in Engineering and Mathematics - she's the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Niece
  • Dr. Yes, an over the top parody of Dr. No from Get Smart.
  • The Doctor Who serial "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" features numerous Mooks in the employ of Chinese Tongs, including peasant-turned-magician Li Hsien Chang, but the ultimate villain is a time-traveller from the 51st century named Magnus Greel. This doesn't really help, though, as most of the Chinese characters are portrayed as fanatical, bloodthirsty thugs falling over themselves to kill and die for anyone who impresses them with a bit of whizz-bang. And the only one who gets a Heel Realisation is played by a white guy in make-up.
  • The Claw (pronounced "The Craw") from Get Smart.
  • Klingons in the original series of Star Trek: The Original Series give every indication of being descended from this model. Before their retrofit for the movie era, Klingons were usually portrayed as a bunch of clever, deceitful criminals, played by white guys in vaguely "eastern" make-up, complete with Fu Manchu moustaches.
  • The Steve Coogan series Dr Terribles House Of Horrible parodied this with Hang Man Chan: The Sinister Bony-Fingered Menace of the East and his daughter Woo-Woo.
  • The Dragonman (Joey Forman, who also played Charlie Chan Expy "Harry Hoo" on Get Smart) in The Monkees' episode, "Monkee Chow Mein."
  • The bizarre Saturday morning chimpanzee-acted parody of spy parody Get Smart, Lancelot Link Secret Chimp, featured both "Wang Fu" and the (*ahem*) "Dragon Woman."
  • Chinese communist agent Wo Fat from Hawaii Five-O.
  • The second Sherlock episode The Blind Banker is an old-fashioned Yellow Peril story that smacks viewers in the face with every Chinese stereotype ever portrayed in television.


Newspaper Comics Edit

  • Ming the Merciless from the 1934 Flash Gordon comic strip was written and drawn as Fu Manchu In Space, right down to the scheming daughter. (He's not named "Ming" by accident.) The early serials and Filmation animated version continued this portrayal. The 1980 movie cast Max Von Sydow, a Swedish actor, in the role, and the 2007 TV series dropped 'the Merciless' from his name and turned him into a blond guy.
  • In the early years of Buck Rogers, the title character fought "Red Mongols" who had invaded and conquered the USA.


Radio Edit


Tabletop Games Edit

  • Warlord Kang, head of the Iron Dragon railroad in Deadlands.
  • The Ubiquitous Dragon of Adventure!. His worldview is the result of his being raised by a Chinese warlord, who sought to corrupt him as a form of revenge on the Dragon's deceased father, a man of honor.
  • Subverted in the revised Sons of Ether Tradition book for Mage: The Ascension. Fang Qinbao is one of a group of globetrotting archaeologist-mages. He assumes the persona of "The Insidious Doctor Fang" as a way of dissuading interlopers - his 'death-traps' are, in reality, a way of neutralizing his enemies without killing them, letting him and his friends escape. (Oddly, playing the part seems to make his enemies behave like they're in the pulps themselves - getting caught in Fang's traps, or wasting their time against Fang's followers.)


Video Games Edit

  • Chairman Shen-Ji Yang of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is a Yellow Peril on an alien planet. He is far and away the most sinister of the faction leaders, and regards his entire population as nothing more than a grand social experiment. Doesn't help that his faction is one of the most powerful in the game...
    • Perhaps also worth noting that all of the factions in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri were formed by consensus aboard the Unity, rather than birthright and family lines. Accordingly, each faction's population is racially diverse, and with the exception of the USSR Academy of Sciences-influenced University of Planet, their settlements are not named along ethnic patterns. Yang's faction probably closely resembles the others demographically.
    • "Most sinister" is subjective in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. Take your pick of rabid fundamentalists, unethical researchers, corrupt bureaucrats, psionic ecoterrorists, jingoistic warmongers, money-grubbing businessmen, or the above mentioned evil communists. Yang is the only one that falls under this trope, however
      • Given the experience of many players, the title of most hated faction--though perhaps not most sinister--would easily fall to Sister Mariam of the Believers, due to the game's AI playing her more aggressively than any other faction.
  • In Evil Genius, one of the Diabolical Masterminds the player can choose to play is Shen Yu, who looks like Fu Manchu and was formerly a triple agent spying on both The Triads and the local Heroes-R-Us for each other. Now, he seeks to Take Over the World for himself.
  • In reference to this, Hearts of Iron has both Imperial Japan and Nationalist China (biggest/most dangerous Chinese faction) don different shades of yellow as their faction colours.
  • In this update page for Team Fortress 2, the Spy's predecessor is portrayed as the yellow peril.
    • Debateable as the characters aren't mentioned by name and they all appear to be working as mercenaries for higher powers.
  • Sin Tzu, from Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu.
  • Marshall Kai from Indiana Jones and The Emperors Tomb. Indy's love interest and Marshall Kai's assistant Mei Ying is not villainous though. At least not until she is posessed by the demon Kong Tien and becomes a boss you have to fight.
  • Yakuza Kumicho (boss) Shogo Takamoto in Tomb Raider: Legend. And scores of Yakuza mooks. Lara does get a Japanese friend who helps her find Takamoto, in the form of media mogul Nishimura.
  • Wang, leader of the sinister Shai-Gen Corporation in Crackdown.
  • Richard Wong from Psychic Force. Class S evil Chinese man who controls time and manipulates the NOA group under Keith Evans to eventually take over the world for his plaything as a God. Predictably, he breaks out from NOA.
  • Mortal Kombat
    • Shang Tsung.
    • Any villain played by Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa will have this flavor.
    • Kano was originally supposed to be a Japanese crime boss. However, in Mortal Kombat, he was played by Trevor Goddard, and the developers liked it so much that later games retconned him to being an Australian crime boss.
  • Home Front is this trope turned Up to Eleven, a gritty, frightening portrayal of Korea takes over the world. You have exactly three guesses as to the fate of the game in many Asian countries, and the first two don't count.


Webcomics Edit


Web Original Edit

  • In the Whateley Universe, the Chinese supervillain Iron Dragon, who has been trying to overthrow America, Europe, and Russia for decades, is essentially an Expy of Fu Manchu, right down to the moustache. His daughter, Silver Serpent, is now attending the Whateley Academy and is a member of the the Bad Seeds clique (to be admitted, one or more of your parents must be a supervillain).


Western Animation Edit

  • Jonny Quest lived on this trope, Dr. Zin, Dr. Ashida, General Fong, Chu Sing Ling...
  • In the South Park episode "The China Probrem", the eternally racist Cartman sees the Bejing Olympic ceremonies as China's way of showing how large, dedicated and disciplined they are, construing it as a subtle military threat. In the end, the only threat is Butters shaky aim.
  • The Venture Brothers
    • Jonas Venture tries to disguise himself as a Yellow Peril villain, calling himself Dr. Fanadragon and claiming to hail from "Japananawa." Another villain starts to comment on how Dr. Fanadragon is muddling a number of Asian nations and is obviously a tall white man.
    • Affably Evil (emphasis on "affable") Dr. Zhi, a parody of Dr. Zin from Jonny Quest.
  • The Looney Tunes Wartime Cartoon "Tokio Jokio" features some very inaccurate caricatures of Hideki Tojo and Isoroku Yamamoto.
  • So does the Popeye Wartime Cartoon "You're a Sap, Mr. Jap" with the Imperial Japanese Navy.
  • The Siamese cats from Lady and the Tramp.
  • Robotboy featured the evil if short-statured Dr. Kamikazi and his hapless sumo sidekick Constantine, though they were deliberately overdone.


Real Life Edit

  • Real life subversion: at the start of WWII, the U.S. Navy used a bright yellow biplane to train its aviators. This was known at the Yellow Peril, due to both mechanical issues with its landing gear and because it was flown by the newest (and therefore, least experienced) trainees.
  • Invoked by this radical activist group, an Asian analogue of the Black Panthers.
  • The phrase "Yellow Peril" is often attributed to Kaiser Wilhelm II, who doodled a cartoon which was developed by the artist Hermann Knackfue in 1895 as Völker Europas, wahrt eure heiligsten Güter! ("People of Europe, guard your most sacred possessions!"), soon nicknamed Die gelbe Gefahr. (The same Wilhelm II of Prussia, ironically, was responsible for the term "Huns" as applied to the Germans.)
    • When you learn HOW he slapped his nation with that epithet, it becomes far more ironic.
  • Japan's victory in the Russo-Japanese War was the event that really launched the whole "Yellow Peril" trope in popular culture.
  • There are many that view China this way as the nation continues to grow stronger and closer to attaining superpower status, and it seems to have become the default "bad guy" for Tom Clancy et al. Why the country who the entire world turns to for cheap manufacturing ability would want to turn on their customers is far more complex and.... controversial, and far less mentioned.
  • Similarly, China has become a sort of boogeyman in political ads, with candidates decrying each other by saying that the other is going to allow China to take over.
  • The Mongolian Empire after the death of Genghis Khan spent several decades sending invasions into Poland and Hungary, though they never managed to achieve any lasting occupation. In fact, some scholars believe that these invasions were purely to scare European kingdoms away from the Mongolians' Russian conquests.
  • In June 1904, just after the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05), Jack London, of The Call of the Wild fame, wrote an essay titled "The Yellow Peril" expressing fear that a militaristic imperial Japan would invade China and organise its industrious hordes into a huge army and wage war against the West. Japan's victory in the war unleashed the wave of Yellow Peril xenophobia that Sax Romer et al surfed so effectively.
  • There are examples of WW 2-era Chinese and Japanese propaganda that display each other as the Yellow Peril. Not surprising considering those countries don't have a very pleasant history with each other, and there are still tensions today.
  • Interestingly, during World War II, there was a nationwide ban on all things Fu Manchu in the United States and the United Kingdom as they took pity on the Republic of China and saw them as a nation in need after declaring war with Imperial Japan.
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