Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow
aka: Yellow Fever
"Let's just look at Phuong... mistress of an older European man. Well, that pretty well describes the whole country, doesn’t it?"
The stereotypical relationship of a white male with a disadvantaged, or submissive, Asian woman.
Sadly, interracial relationships in general are still a touchy subject
. There still exists the notion that the women of a social category somehow "belong" to the men of that category and vice-versa
. Those who stray are often considered some kind of traitor to 'their people'
In any case, the modern stereotype
of Asian women is that they're charmingly exotic, uber-domestic, unquestioningly-subservient nymphomaniacs
... or, at the other extreme, an uneducated, ditzy moron
. Thus, her caucasian lover will arrive and be somehow "better" than her Asian peers, often to the point of her complete devotion.
Sometimes, this trope is a simple Race Fetish
, but at other times, expect one or both partners to be something of a Flat Character
. The Asian woman may exhibit Asian Speekee Engrish
, may be a sex worker
, may be an immigrant struggling to fit in, or otherwise show some sort of social disadvantage. The white male, however, will either be a a wealthy, successful, exotic and handsome hunk-angel who will win the hearts of frustrated Asian women
or an Everyman
that audiences can identify with.
The former is popular in Glurgey
Asian romance novels and is a direct counterpart to the eponymous Greek/Spanish Millionares
of trashy romance novel fame.
See also Asian Babymama
, where this type of relationship doesn't end well.
Compare Where Da White Women At?
, which is about African-European male-female pairings, and contrast Black Gal on White Guy Drama
, for the African-European female-male pairing.
Contrast Like Goes with Like
, where an Asian courts another Asian (though predominantly as it occurs in European media).
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- Inverted and parodied in a series of commercials for Australian insurance provider AAMI:
- The first video introduces us to a red-headed office worker Rhonda who, upon picking up her car keys, gets a massive parade thrown for her.
- The second video sees Rhonda travel to Bali on a holiday where she gets a foot massage. The lady recognises her and is immediately swarmed by onlookers who are told to leave.
- The third video reached memetic levels when viewers picked up on the chemistry between Rhonda and the Balinese Ketut, working as a server. The iconic "Hot like a sunrise" line is said first in this video by Ketut when he notices that Rhonda's face is sunburnt and proceeds to put up an umbrella.
- The fourth and most well-known video has a visibly-tanned Rhonda reimagining the third video as an Erotic Dream to a friend who is driving a car. The friend, also aroused, proceeds to crash into the back of a stopped car at an intersection before Rhonda and Ketut can kiss. This prompted AAMI to release a follow-up Stupid Statement Dance Mix.
- The fifth video takes place at a Class Reunion. Rhonda, now a local celebrity, fends off snide remarks from pair of Alpha Bitches and attracts the attention of a former classmate Trent Toogood. The video ends with a frantic and heartbroken Ketut discovering an empty gym, although a subequent advertising campaign suggests this is a cliffhanger as opposed to a Downer Ending.
- The sixth and final video is set at the end of the Class Reunion and finishes with Rhonda and Ketut together, along with a Pair the Spares between Trent and Rhonda's friend.
Anime & Manga
- Harem Anime as a rule gender-inverts this when it has a multicultural (or mostly white) cast of girls, as it is easier for the adolescent Japanese Male audiences to identify with an adolescent Japanese Male. The Familiar of Zero, High School DXD and Campione! are just three of many examples of this Anime Genre-rule.
- In a strange version of this trope, the Japanese Konoka of Mahou Sensei Negima! once mentions to the Welsh Negi that she has a thing for "foreigners" (i.e. Caucasians). It turns out that she likes her half-demon best friend even more... though really, can you get much more foreign than someone who is ethnically from another dimension on one parent's side without departing from one's own species entirely?
- Code Geass: The outrageously gorgeous Kallen Stadtfeld has a Japanese mother and a Britannian father. And her mother is the maid.
- Also inverted in the first season, since Brittanian Princess Euphemia's boyfriend is none other than her personal knight, Suzaku Kururugi (Japanese). He is the lower status individual on pretty nearly every scale, but he kicks ass and likes being told what to do, and she's a total sweetheart, so it's actually pretty well balanced.
- Considering that the nation-tans of Axis Powers Hetalia tend to have personalities based on National Stereotypes, this trope sometimes comes into effect when the fandom pairs an Asian nation with a non-Asian one. It occurs the most frequently with Japan, the most stereotypically Asian nation-tan whose most common partner in fanworks, Greece, happens to have a clear interest in his culture and language in canon. Even when he's paired up with another Western nation, there's usually an undercurrent of said Western nation being attracted to Japan's 'exotic'-ness.
- However, this is not necessarily bad as it's usually implied that it works both ways, with Japan being attracted to his Western love interest mainly because of their very Western/nation-based bluntness or easygoing nature, and their focus is often on personality dynamics as opposed to, say, specific Asian fetishes. Plus, many fanworks depict the other Asian nations as Japan's family (even if "family" is relative for nations), so it's not like he has a lot of romantic prospects outside of Western nations in them.
- Also frequently happens with Hong Kong and England, usually taking place between the Opium Wars and the return of Hong Kong to China. Russia and China might also count; while Russia is not western, he's still European and the dominant member of that relationship, whereas China is the strange, exotic but disadvantaged one who ends up strongly influenced by Russia, i.e. China becoming communist.
- Fullmetal Alchemist has Mei from Xing (a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of China) who dreams about meeting a tall, handsome white gentleman and is very eager to meet Ed from Amestris (a nation based largely on a mish-mash of 20's-era Europe) for this reason. Unfortunately, it turns out that Ed doesn't fit her expectations of him... but luckily for her, his brother Al does fit her ideal (although you have to take his word for it at that point in time) and they're implicitly paired together in the finale! Admittedly, this is more like the quasi-Asian girl having a specific preference that not all quasi-white men fit, instead of a general preference for white men, but it still kinda fits.
- Extra points for Ed and Al being genetic artifacts of an extinct race on their father's side?
- Somewhat balanced by Mei being part of her country's royal family, while the Elrics are apparently middle-class commoners (and said father is a former slave). So she can't really be considered to be a "lesser" partner.
- Mei was dreaming of a tall, handsome Fullmetal Alchemist, not just any Amestrian. Hence her disappointment in Ed.
- Gender inverted in Itazura Na Kiss, where the Englishwoman Christine "Chris" Robbins has a thing for Japanese men and is Genre Savvy enough to go to Japan specifically to find one to date and marry. At first she's interested in male lead Naoki, but ends up marrying Kotoko's former Dogged Nice Guy Kinnosuke. They have three kids, with their dad's features and their mom's eye/hair color scheme.
- Detective Conan features a case where an American man was injured and cared for by a Japanese woman, who he ended up falling for. Naturally, this ended badly: When he left, she asked if he loved her. He left her a note that said "shine" (as in, he hoped to find a shining bride). Unfortunately, the woman could not read English very well (and was already suffering from depression due to being scarred by her father and a lack of anyone who could actually do something about it) read it as "shi ne" ("Go kill yourself"). She did so. When the man comes back three years later, he ends up killing a guy who was badmouthing her and her father (who he believed drove her to it). When he learns the truth about why she did it, he loses all will to do... anything.
- Sorta genderflipped (in a PG manner) in Hamtaro. The transfer student from Brazil, a Dark-Skinned Blond soccer genius named Roberto, is very popular among the girls of Hiroko (Laura)'s school.
- Subverted in Haikara San Ga Tooru. The male lead Shinobu Iijyuin was born from a mixed marriage (Japanese father, German mother), and later one of his love interests is Larissa, a Russian noblewoman and local Broken Bird. He, however, ends up with his Bunny-Ears Lawyer Japanese love interest, Benio Hanamura, due to Larissa's death in the series's Bittersweet Ending. It does help that he and Benio, despite having been in an Arranged Marriage, really liked each other.
- Even further subverted when you look at Shinobu and see that he has blonde hairand blue eyes, having inherited his German mother's looks. Which were shared by Larissa's dead husband... his long-lost maternal half-brother Sasha, whose father was a Russian count.
- Amakusa 1637: Seika "Mariana" Akishima, one of the Time Travelers thrown in the Nagasaki of the XVIIIth century, catches the eye of a Dutch man named Jan who saved her life when she arrived into the past. In a subversion, she doesn't necessarily reciprocate Jan's feelings for her.
- Jean Kirstein from Attack on Titan has the hots for Mikasa Ackerman, who is half-Oriental. Too bad for him, she doesn't even notice it, since she prefers her foster brother Eren Jaeger's company.
- Wolverine from X-Men was engaged to Mariko Yashida, a Japanese woman, when he became a samurai. The wedding was canceled at the last moment, however, thanks to villain Mastermind's manipulations. He did marry the Japanese Itsu, with whom he had a son, Daken. He also had a romance with free-spirited Yukio. The 90s 'toon mixes Lady Deathstrike (Yuriko Oyama) with Mariko to create this trope again (Granted, she wants him dead now).
- Played with in Corto Maltese: Corto and Shanghai Li develop feelings for each other, but don't act on them as Li turns out to already be married to a Chinese man whom she describes as a Nice Guy, parting ways amiably with Corto. This was also shown in The Movie.
- Charisma Man, a comic book produced for English-speaking expatriates in Japan. The title character was a dorky Canadian unsuccessful with women in his own country - until he arrives in Japan where he instantly becomes suave and supercool, admired by all the locals and able to pick up any girl he wants. His mortal enemy is "Western Woman", the only one aware of what a loser he really is.
- Inverted in Gene Yang's American Born Chinese. Chinese-American Jin develops a crush on his schoolmate Amelia, who's Caucasian. This eventually causes him to reject his Asian heritage outright.
- Zigzagged in Scott Pilgrim. He has a Chinese girlfriend (Knives Chau) at the start of the first volume, and dumps her as soon as Ramona Flowers enters the scene (who is caucasian). Knives desperately tries to get him back (and was supposedly to end up with him in The Movie) but nothing else really comes of it, as Scott has completely lost interest in her in favor of Ramona. The relationship is not played for race, or conscious stereotypes, but the Unfortunate Implications remain.
- In the graphic novel Skim the half-Japanese protagonist's father was formerly married to her Japanese mother and is now dating another Asian woman. The creators identify him as someone who dates exclusively Asian women in an interview.
- Played to an extreme in Watchmen where the Comedian gets himself a Vietnamese girlfriend during the war but eventually dumps her and shoots her dead as she was pregnant with his child.
- Given an intriguing race flip in Korean romantic comedy Marriage Blue, wherein a white woman from Uzbekistan, in Korea on a work visa, has fallen in love with an older Korean man. It's Mighty Yellow And Mellow Whitey, but in all other respects the dynamic is the same, with the woman being the foreigner, of lower social status (the man owns his own flower shop), and struggling to fit in with the dominant culture that the man is part of.
- Heaven And Earth, an Oliver Stone film based on true events.
- Two versions of this trope in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. The first is the titular character talking about a brief relationship he had with an Asian woman at the outbreak of war. The second is a version of this trope, though it would be better called "Japanese general obssively stalks POW soldier David Bowie who may or may not also fancy him". The first appears to be Type 1 but the second Type 2, as the director says Yonoi was attracted (along with other factors) by Celliers' blond hair.
- The Forbidden Kingdom: The female lead falls for the only white man in Ancient China. Interestingly, many of the Chinese promotional posters and DVD covers put Jackie Chan center-stage. She and her beau are always off to one side, if they're depicted at all.
- The Barbarian And The Geisha starring John Wayne as the first American Consul-General in Japan. His Japanese hosts give him a geisha to help make him feel more comfortable, as well as to keep tabs on him.
- Similarly with Glenn Ford in The Teahouse of the August Moon as a captain of the occupation forces, tasked with Americanizing a Japanese village and ending up romancing the geisha Lotus Blossom, played by Machiko Kyou.
- Inverted in Big Trouble in Little China with the Beta Couple, Eddie and Margo.
- A pattern in several novels/scripts/etc. by James Clavell:
- Tai-Pan (as well as the original novel), where protagonist Dirk Struan has a fiery mistress named Mei-Mei. The film also reverses it, with a poverty-stricken young Englishwoman who makes an extremely good living by prostituting herself to an exclusively Chinese clientèle.
- Shogun, where John "Anjin-san" Blackthorne falls in love with his Japanese language mentor Mariko Buntarou. In fairness, William Adams, the Real Life inspiration for Blackthorne, did marry a Japanese woman, but possibly for social reasons and not love. And in any case, once Blackthorne does marry a japanese woman, it's likely for the same reasons, as it isn't Mariko, who's dead by then.
- Noble House, where a visiting American businessman in Hong Kong falls in love with a Chinese-Portuguese woman sent by a British businessman to seduce him.
- King Rat, where flashbacks reveal that the protagonist had been hiding from the Japanese in an Indonesian village for a long time, where he had a native wife. He is also tempted by the daughter of the village elder with whom prisoners do black market deals.
- Almost averted in Good Morning Vietnam: Adrian Cronauer tries to get a relationship started with a local Vietnamese girl, but while the latter eventually warms to him, the relationship remains platonic. Also the girl he goes after is the third (fourth?) one he sees wearing identical white robes and straw hat, and (probably jokingly) thinking she's "following" him, he obsessively goes after her; "Asian Fever" seems oddly appropriate for how he was acting (blaming it on being surrounded by Grecian women, who he claims are hairy).
- Three Seasons: Harvey Keitel is a Vietnam War veteran who had a child with a local girl during his tour of duty, and comes looking for her 30 years later.
- The trope is averted with another character in the movie: a Vietnamese prostitute looking for a potential husband among her Western customers eventually settles with a fellow Vietnamese man.
- The Transporter: Jason Statham rescues Shu Qi from abduction, and she thanks him with sexual favors.
- The Quiet American: see Literature.
- Despite being a portly washed up ping pong player, the main character of Balls of Fury is still mighty enough to get Maggie Q's character.
- The Last Samurai: A wounded Tom Cruise is cared for by the widow of a samurai he killed, hinting at a budding relationship between them.
- Of course, for most of the movie, she's understandably peeved at housing her husband's alcoholic killer, but her brother asked she do it. She only mellows after Nathan gets some Character Development, and that's half a year in-story.
- The Home Song Stories: Hong Kong bar girl Joan Chen marries an Australian sailor and moves with him to Melbourne. This film actually zig-zags with the trope, as she soon leaves him after arriving in Australia and has affairs with other men, including Asian men. By the end of the film, the Australian sailor turned out to be the only man who truly loved her and takes care of her children.
- Sayonara (as well as the original novel by James Michener): Marlon Brando, as a member of the US Air Force deployed in Japan, has a buddy who marries a Japanese woman, and he himself falls in love with one.
- This one is sort of arguable on the buddy's part- the buddy definitely went native, and he and his wife were shown to have an extremely loving relationship. A lot of American men did marry Japanese girls at the end of WWII, and there aren't many Asian men to be seen. Except the inversion, the Brando character breaks things off with his white fiancée to be with his Japanese love, which causes her to confess her feelings to the Japanese Kabuki actor she had fallen in love with. This is inverted again, because the Kabuki actor is obviously a white guy in make-up. White guys and Asian women are good, and white girls and Asian men are fine, as long as you can tell that he's really white.
- Another French movie, Tanguy (the title character, a doctorate student in Chinese civilization, uses his language skills to pick up Asian girls and eventually, yes, moves to Beijing where he marries a local woman)
- The premise of the movie was that Tanguy, aged 30 something, still lived with his parents and couldn't be moved to ... well move out. When he marries the Chinese girl, he moves in with her family and gets them to care for him.
- Yet another French movie, Indochine, about a love triangle in colonial Indochina. The young Vietnamese orphan is seduced by the dashing French navy officer, who had also scored her French adoptive mother.
- However, inverted in another French movie, L'Amant (The Lover, adapted from the eponymous novel by Marguerite Duras): the heroine is a French teenage girl, also in colonial Indochina, who sleeps for money with an older Idle Rich Chinese man. And she realizes after leaving back to France that she really loved him.
- Interestingly, avoided in Lost in Translation, in which the protagonist, despite having the obvious profile for it (Westerner in Japan, middle-aged, away from his wife), enters a (platonic) relationship with a younger Western girl, and sleeps with a Western woman of his own age, rather than picking up a local girl. He even, at one point, turns down a Japanese call girl that his producer sent to his hotel room to help him unwind. Granted, she seemed particularly clueless about what turns Western men on.
- Averted in The Children of Huang Shi, where the white, male main character goes for the other Western character rather than Michelle Yeoh.
- Also averted in Doctor Akagi, but the film does play with the idea:
Tomiko: Here's some food for the prisoner.
Sonoko: So much?
Tomiko: Dutchmen are tall, they eat a lot.
Sonoko: Oh, he isn't that tall. But he does have a big one.
Tomiko: He's a Dutchman all right.
- Averted but discussed in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, where the main character, a white American, is sent to Japan and somehow avoids ending up with a Japanese girl. (instead favoring the only caucasian female around) This is even alluded to by one of the Asian characters in the film.
- In The Social Network, Brenda Song plays the Asian girl who jumps at the chance to hook up with Facebook co-creator Eduardo Savarin. Also played with by the characters who discuss why they are attracted to the Asian ladies at Harvard ("They're hot, they're smart, they're not Jewishnote , and they can dance!")
- Played with in Forrest Gump: at the end, Lieutenant Dan arrives at Forrest and Jenny's wedding with "new legs" and his fiancée, an Asian woman, suggesting he's beginning to get past his resentment and PTSD about the Vietnam War.
- Inverted in Mao's Last Dancer, where the Chinese main character falls in love with an American dancer.
- Seen in The Painted Veil, with the Fanes' neighbour Waddington and his Manchurian lover Wan Xi.
- Son Of The Dragon is precisely about getting a husband for a beautiful Asian princess. The main character, the only occidental and a foreigner (since he's not Asian), enters the competition for marrying her in order to infiltrate and steal part of the treasure. He ends up falling in love with her and fighting against the other main competitor to defend the castle when that competitor with his army to get the treasure, revealing he was Evil All Along and didn't care about the princess.
- In Flowers of War, Christian Bale plays a funeral director in Nanking during the Nanking Massacre. He helps Chinese girls hide from Japanese soldiers and has an affair with a Chinese prostitute. This is likely why Bale's character was made into a funeral director posing as a priest rather than an actual priest, which would be more historically accurate.
- Gender-inverted in D.W. Griffith's Broken Blossoms, even though the Asian guy is played by a white actor in Yellow Face.
- Inverted in the Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle films. Korean-American Harold's Love Interest is technically Colombian, but in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Kumar goes for a full inversion.
- Pavilion Of Women- the original novel depicts Madame Wu keeping her love for Father Andre to herself, but the film invokes this trope, along with Hot for Preacher.
- Disney's Mulan was originally intended to be a film called China Doll, which would have been about a poor Chinese girl falling in love with a white British man and moving to the west with him.
- In the film Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing, set in Hong Kong, white journalist Mark Elliot (William Holden) and Eurasian doctor Han Suyin (Jennifer Jones) fall in love. Aside from the racial difference, he's married (though estranged from his wife). It is subtly implied that her career will be jeopardized if the relationship continues. They do so anyway, only for him to be killed while on assignment in Korea.
- In Row Your Boat, Jon Bon Jovi (yes, that Bon Jovi) plays the ex-convict Jamie Meadows, who falls for the beautiful Chun Hua (Bai Ling) in the middle of his struggle to not fall back into delinquency. Bad thing, Chun Hua is the trophy wife of a Chinese-American businessman... and in the end, Jamie ends up kicking it in a Heroic Sacrifice to help her get away.
- Subverted in Die Another Day. After Bond arrives in Hong Kong and has had a proper shave and some new clothes, it seems like he tries to seduce the Asian masseuse who was sent to his room. Then he takes her gun and reveals her as a Chinese operative.
- Old Joe marries a Chinese woman in Looper.
- Gender Inverted in Sixteen Candles: Long Duk Dong ends up with Marlene, a tall athletic woman. Their relationship is Played for Laughs.
- Welcome to Hard Times features a subplot with two minor characters, a White man and a Chinese prostitute, falling for each other.
- In the coming-of-age Spanish film La lengua de las mariposas, the child protagonist’s older brother Andres is fascinated with a picture of a Chinese girl in his school text book. Later, he actually meets a beautiful Chinese girl (which would be very unusual in 1930s Spain), but she is unfortunately already married to a much older Spanish man. The girl clearly prefers Andres, but she is powerless to escape.
- Pacific Rim actively averts this, with Guillermo del Toro intentionally creating a female protagonist that is not a Love Interest, but an equal to her male partner. While Mako Mori is the quieter of the pair, on multiple occasions she matches Raleigh in force of personality or calls him out on things. The Drift requires both to be in balance, functioning as equals without one dominating or controlling the other. Raleigh actively pursues Mako as his co-pilot because she is his match in mental strength, rather than viewing her as a potential relationship.
- M. Butterfly is a deconstruction of this trope, playing the relationship between Jeremy Irons and a Chinese opera singer as a deeply unequal, condescending one. Also, she's a man in drag. There's also that.
- Mickey Rourke and Arianne Koizumi in Year Of The Dragon.
- Gender-Inverted in Stratosphere Girl, where a European girl who's an aspiring comicbook artist falls for a Japanese foreign exchange student from a wealthy family, then when he returns to Tokyo, she follows in the hopes of finding him again; when her early tries at getting hired in the manga industry fall through, she ends up stuck working as hostess in a bar catering to the white Race Fetish of its asian patrons. And then the murder mystery happens...
- Troublemaker and Other Saints has one of the daughters of a Chinese family married to a black man; another daughter has a preference for white men and not Asian men.
- James Clavell's Asian Saga.
- Shogun provides some justification, as Mariko-san is the only available translator for Blackthorne, so the two end up spending all their time together. Blackthorne, all told, has four Japanese women: Fujiko, whom Toranaga orders to to run his household as a consort (with all that the word implies), Mariko his translator, and, in the end, he is married to Midori, in order to solidify his standing as samurai and to run his house once Fujiko commits seppuku, and Kikuchiyo's contract is given to him for — well, so she'll be attached to someone worthy of her, and so that he'll have someone to delight him for as long as he's imprisoned in Japan. Blackthorne's real-life inspiration actually did marry a Japanese woman (although a commoner of the merchant class, not a samurai or a geisha) and have two children by her.
- Mariko from Shogun is aversion: it's made clear that she finds most Westerners disgusting for their lack of hygiene and eating habits, and she only hooks up with Blackthorne when he has adopted Japanese ways and been declared an honorary samurai.
- Tai-Pan takes it much further. Several white men have Asian mistresses, or have kept them at one point, and all three either explicitly have or are implied to have had utterly disastrous marriages back home. Inverted with Mary, who whores herself out to Chinese men to enjoy some power and pleasure, and she confirms that there is strong attraction on both sides.
- The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan plays with this trope. One of the couples plays the stereotype of white man/Asian woman relationships having a dominant man and submissive woman perfectly straight, but it's strongly implied that the husband cheated because of his wife's spinelessness, when she catches her husband in flagrante delicto with a white woman.
- In the Chinese novel Shanghai Baby by Zhou Weihui, the main character, a Shanghai woman in her 20s, is in a relationship with a caring but sexually impotent Chinese man, and has a steamy affair with a Western expatriate. The latter is depicted as a tall, blond, sexually aggressive German, which incidentally goes to show that the Chinese too think that Blond Guys Are Evil.
- Occurs in Gish Jen's novel Mona in the Promise Land, and lampshaded when the Caucasian man, Seth, impersonates a Chinese former romantic interest in order to attract the Chinese-American protagonist's attention. Inverted in a later novel by the same author, The Love Wife.
- Averted in Snow Falling On Cedars when Hatsue decides to break up with Ishmael even before her family finds out about their affair. Though she is deeply fond of him, she's simply not in love with him, and ends up happily married to a Japanese man.
- Gwen and Hidenari from Bridge to the Sun gender inverted this.
- In 1632, Frank Jackson, one of the uptime miners, came back from the Vietnam War with a wife.
- Lynne Reid Banks' The Dungeon is a dark take on this. MacLennan, a Scottish laird embittered by the deaths of his wife and children, buys a Chinese girl named Peony from her parents on a strange impulse. While Peony is far too young to enter a relationship with him and MacLennan often treats her harshly as only a tea slave to him, there are signs that she's slowly becoming his Morality Pet by reviving the compassion that he's trying to squelch in his quest for revenge against the man who killed his family. Then MacLennan becomes incensed when he realizes how much Peony is affecting him, throws her in the dungeon and leaves her there to die, and realizes that he threw away the one thing that could have made him happy again only when it's far too late. In short, no one gets a happy ending here thanks to the white guy fucking up everything.
- Austin Coates' novel City of Broken Promises tells the true story of Martha, an orphaned Chinese girl in 18th century Macau who falls in love with Thomas Merop, an English trade official. Merop is initially hesitant about pursuing a relationship with Martha, but is won over and eventually marries her so she can inherit his business interests.
- Mary Jo Putney's The China Bride features a half-Scottish, half Chinese woman, orphaned by her father in China and living as a male interpreter to survive, falling for a visiting (British?) viscount despite the fiercely segregated environment. The relationship is heavily influenced by the fact that both Troth and Kyle are outsiders; Troth because of her mixed race and Kyle as a foreigner.
- The Quiet American: An aging British journalist in 1950s Saigon, although having a wife back home, has hooked up with a much younger local girl. When a young American shows up, he competes with the older man for the girl's attention, but neither is really interested to know how she feels about the whole thing. (As the page quote notes, this is symbolic of the state of the world at the time, with the older European powers trying to hold on to their empires while the idealistic but naive Americans try to interfere, with neither side giving much thought to what the people of the third-world countries actually want.)
- David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumnsof Jacob De Zoet has Dutch trader Jacob DeZoet traveling to Japan to earn money to propose to a wealthy girl in Holland. Instead in Nagasaki he falls for Orito, a disfigured midwife, who is spirited away by a cult in the mountains.
Live Action TV
- Quantum Leap has an episode where the man Sam is currently possessing has recently returned from war with a Japanese wife and dealing with the resulting prejudice.
- Broken Trail is about two cowboys (Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church) rescuing five Chinese women from indentured prostitution; one of them ends up in a relationship with Church.
- Subverted in Heroes when Hiro goes back in time to Ancient Japan and meets his hero Takezo Kensei, only to find out he's a drunken white man named Adam Monroe. In an attempt to preserve the timeline he recalls Hiro tries to turn Monroe into a hero and get him and Princess Yaeko ("the most beautiful girl in Japan") together. However despite - or arguably because of - Hiro's best efforts Yaeko ends up drawn to him rather than Monroe.
- Although, it could also be argued that Hiro attempting to get them together went perfectly fine, until Hiro decided to give in to temptation and make out with her. Some fans choose to see her as a manipulative bitch whose choices end up ruining several lives.
- Gender Flipped earlier in the series, with Hiro and his white girlfriend Charlie. Interestingly, Charlie herself is pretty close to parts of the Asian stereotype, being a kind, gentle waitress. Hiro falls squarely as an Ascended Fanboy and thus an Audience Surrogate for many of the nerds watching - women like him precisely because he's an earnest Nice Guy.
- Played straight and then averted in ReGenesis: One of the main characters, Mayko Tran, is a Vietnam-born woman who has relationships with two Caucasian men in turn, one of them her boss. Said man, however, later goes to China and meets a pretty woman doctor without any romantic development resulting (then again, they were in the middle of an epidemic and had other things on their minds).
- Scrubs has Dr. Kelso, a Korean War vet who has a serious thing for Asian females. Always goes to Asian massage parlors, sleeps with many Asian girls and has an Asian Babymama.
- A one-shot joke implied that he loved his long-time (no pun intended) mistress more than he did his own wife.
- In his "His Story" episode, one of his Imagine Spots, when asked what he'd be doing if he was still in the military, was a parody of the ending of An Officer and a Gentleman with an Asian woman in the Debra Winger role, and "Up Where We Belong" being sung in Korean. Then he imagines what it would be like if he were a nurse, and the Asian woman appears in a navy uniform to carry him away.
- He also reveals that his son has a penchant for Filippino boyfriends, so apparently it runs in the family.
- Lady Bar is a made-for-TV movie by Xavier Durringer about the romantic relationship between a French tourist and a Thai prostitute.
- In the sequel, Lady Bar II, the characters (now married) set up a "matchmaking resort" for single Western men seeking committed relationships with Thai women.
- A Saturday Night Live skit showed Thomas Jefferson chatting up Sally Hemming while his colleagues talk about them behind his back. They mention Benjamin Franklin likes Asians despite never meeting one.
- Inverted in FlashForward (2009), with Demetri (played by John Cho) and Zoey (played by Gabrielle Union), but played straight by Bryce and Keiko (she specifically rejects Japanese suitors in his favor).
- Red Skies, a 2002 Pilot Movie set in Los Angeles, features a Chinese female police officer who teams up up with an FBI task-force. An unspoken but definite mutual attraction develops between her and the white alpha-male of the group.
- Both referenced and averted in the Cold Case episode "Who's Your Daddy": An overseer blackmails a Cambodian refugee into providing him sexual favors and later tries to coerce another one, killing her in the process; but the consensual interracial relationship is between an Asian woman and an African-American man, who happens to be a Vietnam veteran. Said man is (wrongly) suspected of being a sugar daddy for a teenage Asian girl. One construction worker is heard calling out "Me love you long time" as the Cambodian woman walks past.
- In Whose Line Is It Anyway?, sole Asian player Karen Maruyama is assigned with the role of "A Call Girl" in Let's Make A Date - and the former Trope Namer was what she had in mind. Considering that it was a subversion...
- There's an episode of It Ain't Half Hot Mum where Sergeant Major Williams wants to marry a local Chinese girl, only for Chinese mafiosi to try to kill him because the girl had previously been engaged to one of them. Sergeant Major eventually ends his relationship with her. In another episode, two of the men fall for Mrs Waddilove-Evans's Burmese maid.
- Titus: Christopher's younger brother Dave repeatedly lauds the fact that his girlfriend is Asian. According to DVD commentary they got the idea to give him this character quirk because the actor's wife is Asian.
- Appears to be played straight in the Benihana Christmas episode of The Office, where Michael and Andy ask out two attractive waitress and aren't shown being shut down, then somehow end up with two different attractive, college-aged Benihana waitresses at the party, but it turns out this was a casting problem. The second ones were supposed to be ugly, with the implication the attractive ones turned them down.
- Unavoidable on M*A*S*H, considering that it is about a mostly male military unit in Korea. Every love interest who wasn't a nurse had to be Asian, as well as the war prostitutes.
- Most notably, Klinger ends up marrying a Korean woman, Soon-Li, in the series finale. In another episode, Hawkeye fell in love with a Korean woman much more deeply than for his usual fling, to the point of being in tears when they were forced to part.
- Seinfeld - Jerry is excited over the prospect of meeting and dating a Donna Chang, then is upset when he finds she's a Caucasian girl who appropriated a Chinese name.
- Series three of Little Britain featured the white English Dudley and his Thai mail order bride, Ting Tong Macadangdang. Subverted when Ting Tong turns out to be "a ladyboy" and, it is implied, not really Thai.
- NCIS had an episode with multiple incarnations. Several service men had married South Korean women and brought them back to the states. Turns out that they had used the trope to their advantage, as they were actually North Korean spies/terrorists. However, one really loved her husband (and their child) and killed the others in an attempt to negate the mission and not be detected.
- There's another episode where service men attempted to sneak five or six Asian women overseas in a shipping container, the plan being that one of the men would on the ship to help them. However, none of them were, and all but one woman died in transfer, and she was taking her revenge on the men one by one.
- Iron Road is a 2009 miniseries in which a Chinese woman disguises herself as a young man named "Little Tiger" to work on the Canadian railroad and falls in love with her boss' white son.
- The subjects of the documentary Seeking Asian Female. It deals with a Citizenship Marriage between a white middle-aged man (who doesn't speak Chinese) and a 30 year old Chinese woman. Tension sets in when they realize that their personalities may not be very compatible. They got mentioned (perhaps unfairly) in the Creepy White Guys website mentioned below.
- Diff'rent Strokes : Phillip Drummond is surprised by a man claiming to be his son; the man's mother is a Korean woman Drummond met during the war. The man's father was actually an American soldier who raped the woman. She lied and told her son Drummond was his father because Drummond embodied many of the "Mighty Whitey" characteristics of bravery and honour..
- "La Petite Tonkinoise" is a 1906 hit by French singer Vincent Scotto, about a soldier sent to Vietnam who picks up a local girlfriend.
- Two words: "Yellow Fever", by the Bloodhound Gang (NSFW).
- Cold Chisel's 1978 hit "Khe Sanh", about a traumatized Vietnam veteran who tries to fit in after returning from the war. He expresses disillusionment with Western women: "Their legs were often open / But their minds were always closed / And their hearts were held in fast suburban chains". Later in the song, he mentions his preference for Asian women: "There ain't nothing like the kisses / From a jaded Chinese princess / Gonna hit some Hong Kong mattress all night long."
- Rod Stewart's "Every Picture Tells a Story" describes how the singer "Fell in love with a slit-eyed lady / By the light of an Eastern moon".
- Modern Talking's China In Her Eyes describes your typical exotic hypersexual Asian beauty, who has those two things as her only defining traits. The songs also mentions every Asian country this side of India (including Indonesia and Japan).
- The Vocaloid song with an extremely trippy video, "I Fell in Love With Geisha Girl" parodies this trope, as well as American stereotypes of the Japanese, and vice versa. It has the English vocaloid "Big Al" speaking in Japanese peppered with English, and Luka as the voice of the geisha.
- Parodied in The World Of Lily Wong: The title character, a Hong Kong Chinese woman, is married to a wimpy American expatriate.
- Mike Doonesbury, who marries the much younger Vietnam-war orphan Kim.
- Same comic: white mercenary, conman and ambassador "Uncle" Duke has a quite fucked up relation with his secretary/translator/sex slave Honey Huan (chinese).
- This trope gets referenced in several of Margaret Cho's routines. In talking about how limited acting roles are for Asian women, she joked that as a little girl she thought to herself "Someday, I could be one of Fonzie's girlfriends on Happy Days! Or I could be a prostitute on M*A*S*H!"
- Played straight in the opera Madame Butterfly (one of the quintessential examples of the trope), but subverted in M Butterfly, a play by David Henry Hwang later adapted onscreen by David Cronenberg, in which the stereotypically doll-like Asian woman turns out to be a male spy that deliberately played into the white man's stereotyped expectations of Asian women to make him fall in love with him. Complete with a scathing commentary on the Western concept of the 'Submissive, Feminine Asia' that will fall for the 'Big Gun, and Big Money Masculine West'. And it was Inspired By a true event: look up Bernard Boursicot and Shi Peipu for details.
- Played straight in Miss Saigon (which is Madame Butterfly in the Vietnam War!). Sure, calling Chris a decent person would be wrong, but that still doesn't change the fact that he's a white person sweeping a Vietnamese girl off her feet the moment he meets her. Is it any wonder that Thuy's so upset? The producers apparently went to great pains to make him a Jerkassnote , and he still garners some sympathy for being on the wrong side of this trope.
- In South Pacific, a white American guy bangs and then falls in love with a Tonkinese girl... even though they don't have any language in common. Then her mom suggests that they get married, but he's too worried about what his racist family thinks to do anything.
- Also part of Emile's backstory- his children are from his marriage to a Tonkinese woman.
- This was a common theme in 19th-century colonial fiction. Young white man comes to colonial state, has torrid affair with local exotic beauty, but in the end returns back to Western "civilization", marrying a "proper" white woman. In addition to Madame Butterfly, opera also had Lakme, the same story set in India.
- Also inverted in Mitsumete Knight, Tokimeki Memorial 's Spiritual Successor, but on a larger scale : you're playing as an Asian who come to a country located in the equivalent, in this universe, of the Europe Continent as a mercenary, and during your quest to help said country win its war against its neighbour country, you can score any of the local ladies, who are all from this Continent (most of them from the country you're fighting for, the only two exceptions coming from other countries of the Continent).
- Yet another inversion in Sakura Taisen V. The hero is a Japanese male who travels to the United States. His potential love interests include a fellow Japanese person, a black woman, three white women, and a Mexican girl.
- Sorta inverted in many Dating Sim-like games where one of the girls is often the token foreigner (with a good dose of Foreign Fanservice). She's hardly ever the main heroine role though, unless the events happen in her country where there are lots of foreigners who are technically not foreigners.
- The Sims:
- Daniel and Mary-Sue Pleasant of The Sims 2. Subverted, as Daniel is having an affair with the (Ambiguously Brown) maid, and is scripted to get caught in the act when Mary-Sue gets fired from her job.
- Hank Goddard and Pauline Wan in The Sims 3, who seem to be a somewhat stereotypical embodiment of this trope, in that their relationship is massively shallow (although their attraction is not explicitly based on race or appearance, with a few other superficial factors listed).
- Played with in Tales of Symphonia, of all places. Despite being a Japanese RPG set in a fantasy land, most of the world seems to be inspired from Western traditions; everyone even follows a Catholic-looking church. Sheena Fujibayashi’s hometown Mizuho stands out as looking stereotypically Japanese. Sheena can be perceived as a love interest for either Lloyd Irving or Zelos Wilder, and while she certainly looks exotic and sexy enough to play the part of an evil assassin at the beginning of the game, her actual personality is innocent and idealistic, which make her qualify for this trope despite being a skilled Summoner in her own right.
- Similarly, Final Fantasy VIII featured a romance between Squall Leonhart, who was designed with more European features, and the more traditionally asian-looking Rinoa.
- Sorta invoked in Fire Emblem Awakening. The people from the Chon'sin country are pretty much Feudal Japanese By Any Other Name, and two characters from that land (actually three, but Say'ri's brother Yen'fay can only be recruited via Spot-Pass) can be brought into the party: Master Swordsman Lon'qu and Lady of War Say'ri. If you play as a female Avatar, you can have her marry Lon'qu or Yen'fay; if you make the Avatar a male, he can marry Say'ri.
- Additionally, Lon'qu can be romanced by several other female characters if the player so decides.
- Creepy White Guys: A (now defunct) Tumblr that was dedicated to mock white men with Asian fetishes on dating websites.
- Doctor Nerd Love discussed CWG here.
- Kim Possible has its cake and eats it too: Ron gets packed off to a Japanese ninja school for a week to hang out with a fawning schoolgirl/ethnic stereotype who very obviously likes him, his replacement in Middleton is Hirotaka, a male student from the same school, who is athletic, rides a cool motorcycle, and all the girls in Middleton fight over him. Including Kim and Monique.
- Inverted in Clerks: The Animated Series where Randal tried to get a mail order bride but ended up with a mail order husband and had to deal with said husband's rather old fashioned (read: sexist) demands. He seems to have enjoyed it, though, and expresses that he misses "Toshiro-san" after the husband transferred back to Japan without him.
- Lampshaded on Family Guy; when "Asian reporter Trisha Takanawa" meets David Bowie, she starts dry humping his leg and offers to make him fishball soup, and even says "me love you long time!". Tom Tucker gets a rare moment of noticing the issue: "And thank you, Trisha, for setting your people back a thousand years." This is less Unfortunate Implications and more a Stealth Pun — one of Bowie's bigger hits was his 1983 cover of Iggy Pop's "China Girl" (which doesn't fall under the specifics of this trope).
- On American Dad!, one of Steve's recurring Love Interests is his friend Toshi's little sister Akiko. He got even more turned on when she dressed as Chun-Li from Street Fighter in the Halloween Episode.
- Most of the women pictured in his magazine collection are Asian...and pregnant.
- Stan has also expressed interest in Francine's sister Gwen, who (while never seen) is apparently a very attractive Asian Airhead. Francine herself is a weird not-really-example, since she's white but was adopted by Chinese-American parents. (One episode calls her a reverse banana—white outside, yellow inside.)
- Stan's boss, Avery Bullock, is married to a white woman but has had numerous affairs with fat Asian sluts. ("The trifecta!")
- The animated series Sidekick features a Korean girl named Kitty Ko with an almost psychotic crush on geeky protagonist Eric Needles.
- Codename: Kids Next Door has Wally Beatles/Numbuh 4, an Austrailian-American, who has a crush on his teammate Kuki Sanban/Numbuh 3, a Japanese-American Moe girl. Not that his crush is one-sided...
- The Marvel animated feature The Invincible Iron Man has Tony Stark falling for a young Chinese woman named Li Mei who also happens to be the latest incarnation of the Mandarin.