Sessue Hayakawa

About Sessue Hayakawa

Who is it?: Actor, Producer, Director
Birth Day: June 10, 1889
Birth Place:  Nanaura, Chiba, Japan, Japan
Native name: 早川 金太郎
Occupation: Actor
Years active: 1914–1966
Spouse(s): Tsuru Aoki (m. 1914–1961; her death)

Sessue Hayakawa

Sessue Hayakawa was born on June 10, 1889 in  Nanaura, Chiba, Japan, Japan, is Actor, Producer, Director. Sessue Hayakawa was born in Chiba, Japan. His father was the provincial governor and his mother a member of an aristocratic family of the "samurai" class. The young Hayakawa wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and become a career officer in the Japanese navy, but he was turned down due to problems with his hearing. The disappointed Hayakawa decided to make his career on the stage. He joined a Japanese theatrical company that eventually toured the United States in 1913. Pioneering film producer Thomas H. Ince spotted him and offered him a movie contract. Roles in The Wrath of the Gods (1914) and The Typhoon (1914) turned Hayakawa into an overnight success. The first Asian-American star of the American screen was born.He married actress Tsuru Aoki on May 1, 1914. The next year his appearance in Cecil B. DeMille's sexploitation picture The Cheat (1915) made Hayakawa a silent-screen superstar. He played an ivory merchant who has an affair with the Caucasian Fannie Ward, and audiences were "scandalized" when he branded her as a symbol of her submission to their passion. The movie was a blockbuster for Famous Players-Lasky (later Paramount), turning Hayakawa into a romantic idol for millions of American women, regardless of their race. However, there were objections and outrage from racists of all stripes, especially those who were opposed to miscegenation (sexual contact between those of different races). Also outraged was the Japanese-American community, which was dismayed by DeMille's unsympathetic portrayal of a member of their race. The Japanese-American community protested the film and attempted to have it banned when it was re-released in 1918.The popularity of Hayakawa rivaled that of Caucasian male movie stars in the decade of the 1910s, and he became one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood. He made his career in melodramas, playing romantic heroes and charismatic heavies. He co-starred with the biggest female stars in Hollywood, all of whom were, of course, Caucasian. His pictures often co-starred Jack Holt as his Caucasian rival for the love of the white heroine (Holt would later become a top action star in the 1920s),Hayakawa left Famous Players-Lasky to go independent, setting up his own production company, Haworth Pictures Corp. Through the end of the decade Haworth produced Asian-themed films starring Hayakawa and wife Tsuru Aoki that proved very popular. These movies elucidated the immigrant's desire to "cross over" or assimilate into society at large and pursue the "American Dream" in a society free of racial intolerance. Sadly, most of these films are now lost.With the dawn of a new decade came a rise in anti-Asian sentiment, particularly over the issue of immigration due to the post-World War I economic slump. Hayakawa's films began to perform poorly at the box office, bringing his first American movie career to an end in 1922. He moved to Japan but was unable to get a career going. Relocating to France, he starred in La bataille (1923), a popular melodrama spiced with martial arts. He made Sen Yan's Devotion (1924) and The Great Prince Shan (1924) in the UK.In 1931 Hayakawa returned to Hollywood to make his talking-picture debut in support of Anna May Wong in Daughter of the Dragon (1931). Sound revealed that he had a heavy accent, and his acting got poor reviews. He returned to Japan before once again going to France, where he made the geisha melodrama Yoshiwara (1937) for director Max Ophüls. He also appeared in a remake of "The Cheat" called Forfaiture (1937), playing the same role that over 20 year earlier had made him one of the biggest stars in the world.After the Second World War he took a third stab at Hollywood. In 1949 he relaunched g himself as a character actor with Tokyo Joe (1949) in support of Humphrey Bogart, and Three Came Home (1950) with Claudette Colbert. Hayakawa reached the apex of this, his third career, with his role as the martinet POW camp commandant in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), which brought him an Academy Award nomination for Best Suporting Actor. His performance as Col. Saito was essential to the success of David Lean's film, built as it was around the battle of wills between Hayakawa's commandant and Alec Guinness' Col. Nicholson, head of the Allied POWs. The film won the Best Picture Academy Award, while Lean and Guiness also were rewarded with Oscars.Hayakawa continued to act in movies regularly until his retirement in 1966. He returned to Japan, becoming a Zen Buddhist priest while remaining involved in his craft by giving private acting lessons.Ninety years after achieving stardom, he remains one of the few Asians to assume superstar status in American motion pictures.
Sessue Hayakawa is a member of Actor

Does Sessue Hayakawa Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Sessue Hayakawa has been died on November 23, 1973(1973-11-23) (aged 84)\nTokyo, Japan.

🎂 Sessue Hayakawa - Age, Bio, Faces and Birthday

When Sessue Hayakawa die, Sessue Hayakawa was 84 years old.

Popular As Sessue Hayakawa
Occupation Actor
Age 84 years old
Zodiac Sign Cancer
Born June 10, 1889 ( Nanaura, Chiba, Japan, Japan)
Birthday June 10
Town/City  Nanaura, Chiba, Japan, Japan
Nationality Japan

🌙 Zodiac

Sessue Hayakawa’s zodiac sign is Cancer. According to astrologers, the sign of Cancer belongs to the element of Water, just like Scorpio and Pisces. Guided by emotion and their heart, they could have a hard time blending into the world around them. Being ruled by the Moon, phases of the lunar cycle deepen their internal mysteries and create fleeting emotional patterns that are beyond their control. As children, they don't have enough coping and defensive mechanisms for the outer world, and have to be approached with care and understanding, for that is what they give in return.

🌙 Chinese Zodiac Signs

Sessue Hayakawa was born in the Year of the Ox. Another of the powerful Chinese Zodiac signs, the Ox is steadfast, solid, a goal-oriented leader, detail-oriented, hard-working, stubborn, serious and introverted but can feel lonely and insecure. Takes comfort in friends and family and is a reliable, protective and strong companion. Compatible with Snake or Rooster.

Some Sessue Hayakawa images

Famous Quotes:

Miscegenation, or the mixing of the races, with its horror of potential sexual relations between "yellow" Asian men and "white" European American women, threatened the masculinity of European American men so much so that the basis of Chinese–European American conflict became a contest of securing scarce resources, which in this specific case were European American women. The threat of the "Yellow Peril" in the eyes of European American men perpetuated the status of European American women as chattel, as product.



Many of Hayakawa's films are lost. However, most of his later works, including The Bridge on the River Kwai, the Jerry Lewis comedy The Geisha Boy in which Hayakawa lampoons his role in The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Swiss Family Robinson, Tokyo Joe, and Three Came Home are available on DVD. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Hayakawa was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1645 Vine Street, in Hollywood, California.


Hayakawa was born Kintaro Hayakawa (早川 金太郎, Hayakawa Kintarō) in the village of Nanaura, now part of a town called Chikura, in the city of Minamibōsō in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, on June 10, 1889.


Following The Cheat, Hayakawa became a top leading man for romantic dramas in the 1910s and early 1920s. He also Diversified his body of work with Westerns and action films. Sought after for roles, but dissatisfied with being constantly typecast, Hayakawa decided to form his own production company. He borrowed $1 million from william Joseph Connery—a former classmate at the University of Chicago and son of James Patrick Connery, who in turn was a former Business partner of Will H. Hays of the Teapot Dome Scandal—and formed Haworth Pictures Corporation in 1918. Over the next three years, Hayakawa produced 23 films and earned $2 million a year. Hayakawa had total control over his material; he produced, starred in, and contributed to the design, writing, editing, and directing of the films, which were highly influential in the American public's perception of Asians. Critics hailed Hayakawa's understated, Zen-influenced acting style. Hayakawa sought to bring muga, or the "absence of doing", to his performances, in direct contrast to the then-popular studied poses and broad gestures. He was one of the first stars to do so.


Hayakawa graduated from the University of Chicago in 1912, and subsequently made plans to return to Japan. He traveled to Los Angeles and awaited a transpacific steamship. During his stay, he discovered the Japanese Theatre in Little Tokyo and became fascinated with acting and performing plays. It was around this time that Hayakawa first assumed the stage name Sessue (雪洲, Sesshū), meaning "snowy field" (雪 means "snow" and 洲 means "north field"). One of the productions in which Hayakawa performed was called The Typhoon. Tsuru Aoki, a member of the acting troupe, was so impressed with Hayakawa's abilities and enthusiasm that she enticed film Producer Thomas H. Ince to see the play. Ince saw the production and offered to turn it into a silent film with the original cast. Anxious to return to Japan, Hayakawa tried to dissuade Ince by requesting the then-astronomic fee of $500 a week, but Ince agreed to his request.


On May 1, 1914, Hayakawa married fellow Issei and performer Tsuru Aoki, who co-starred in several of his films. Hayakawa's first child, a son, was born in New York in 1929, to a white Actress named Ruth Noble. The boy was known as Alexander Hayes, but the name was changed to Yukio after Sessue and Aoki adopted the child and took him to be raised and educated in Japan. Later, Hayakawa had two daughters with Aoki: Yoshiko, an Actress, and Fujiko, a Dancer. Aoki died in 1961. Hayakawa later relocated back to Japan and dedicated himself to Zen Buddhism, becoming an ordained priest.


Hayakawa's second film for Famous Players-Lasky was The Cheat (1915), directed by Cecil B. DeMille. The Cheat co-starred Fannie Ward as Hayakawa's love interest and was a huge success, making Hayakawa a romantic idol and sex symbol to the female movie-going public. With his popularity and "broodingly handsome" good looks, Hayakawa commanded a salary that reached over $5,000 a week in 1915. In 1917, he built his residence, a castle-styled mansion, at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Argyle Street in Hollywood, which was a local landmark until it was demolished in 1956.


Physically, Hayakawa possessed "an athlete's physique and agility". A 1917 profile on Hayakawa stated that he "is proficient in jiu-jitsu, an expert Fencer, and can swim like a fish. He is a good horseman and plays a fast tennis racket. He is tall for a Japanese, being five feet seven and a half inches in height, and weighs 157 pounds."


In more than 20 films for Famous Players, Hayakawa was typecast as either the dangerous villain or the exotic lover who in the end would turn his female love interest over to the "proper" man of her own race. This typecasting was the reason Hayakawa established his own production company in 1918, near the height of his American fame. At the time, he stated he wanted to be shown "as he really is and not as fiction paints him." As for his prior roles, he said, "They are false and give people a wrong idea of us [Asians]." Hayakawa desperately sought to show a more balanced and fair portrait of Asians. In 1949, he lamented, "My one ambition is to play a hero." In his autobiography he observed, "All my life has been a journey. But my journey differs from the journeys of most men."


Hayakawa left Hollywood in 1922. The next decade and a half saw him perform in Japanese and European cinema. In London, Hayakawa starred in The Great Prince Shan (1924) and The Story of Su (1924). In 1925, he wrote a novel, The Bandit Prince, and adapted it into a short play. In 1930, Hayakawa performed in Samurai, a one-act play written specifically for him, in front of Great Britain's King George V and Queen Mary. Hayakawa became widely known in France, where audiences "enthusiastically embraced" him and made his French debut, La Bataille (1923), a critical and financial success. German audiences found Hayakawa "sensational" and in Russia he was considered one of the "wonderful actors" of America. In addition to numerous Japanese films, Hayakawa also produced a Japanese-language stage version of The Three Musketeers. In the initial decades of his career, Hayakawa established himself as the first leading man of Asian descent in American and European cinema. He was also the first non-Caucasian actor to achieve international stardom.


Hayakawa was in a unique position due to his ethnicity and fame in the English-speaking world. Due to naturalization laws of that time, Hayakawa would be unable to become a U.S. citizen and because of anti-miscegenation laws he could not marry someone of another race. In 1930, the Production Code came into effect which forbade portrayals of miscegenation in film. This meant that unless Hayakawa's co-star was an Asian Actress, he would not be able to portray a romance with her.


Hayakawa later transitioned into doing talkies; his sound film debut came in Daughter of the Dragon (1931), starring opposite Chinese American performer Anna May Wong. Hayakawa played a Samurai in the German-Japanese co-production The Daughter of the Samurai (1937). The same year, Hayakawa went to France to perform in Yoshiwara (1937), but ended up trapped in the country and separated from his family when the German occupation of France began in 1940. Hayakawa made few films in the following years, but financially supported himself by selling his watercolor paintings. He joined the French Resistance and helped Allied flyers during World War II.


In 1949, Humphrey Bogart's production company located Hayakawa and offered him a role in Tokyo Joe. Before issuing a work permit, the American Consulate investigated Hayakawa's activities during the war and found that he had in no way contributed to the German war effort. Hayakawa followed Tokyo Joe with Three Came Home (1950), in which he played real-life POW camp commander Lieutenant-Colonel Suga, before returning to France.


After the war, Hayakawa's on-screen roles can best be described as the honorable villain, a figure exemplified by his portrayal of Colonel Saito in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Hayakawa earned a nomination for the Best Supporting Actor; he was also nominated for a Golden Globe for the role. After the film, Hayakawa largely retired from acting. Throughout the following years he performed guest appearances on a handful of television shows and films, making his final performance in the animated film The Daydreamer (1966).


Hayakawa retired from film in 1966. He died in Tokyo on November 23, 1973, from a cerebral thrombosis, complicated by pneumonia. He was buried in the Chokeiji Temple Cemetery in Toyama, Japan.


A musical based on Hayakawa's life, Sessue, played in Tokyo in 1989. In September 2007, the Museum of Modern Art held a retrospective on Hayakawa's work entitled: Sessue Hayakawa: East and West, When the Twain Met. Japanese film Director Nagisa Oshima had planned to create a biopic entitled Hollywood Zen based on Hayakawa's life. The script had been allegedly completed and set to film in Los Angeles, but due to constant delays and the eventual death of Oshima himself in 2013, the project went unrealized.


Hayakawa's early films were not popular in Japan because many felt that his roles portrayed an image of Japanese men being sadistic and cruel. Many Japanese viewers found this portrayal—which made him popular in the U.S.—insulting. Nationalistic groups in particular were censorious. Some Japanese believed that Hayakawa was contributing to increased anti-Japanese sentiment in the U.S., and regarded him as a traitor to the Japanese people. After Hayakawa established himself as an American superstar, the negative tone in the press that regarded him as a national and racial shame almost completely disappeared, and Japanese media started publicizing Hayakawa's cinematic achievements instead.

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