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 herselfa scheming villain, at least as bad as he, in her own right. He would likely know some form of martial arts, and sometimes speak in a thick and oddly-pronounced dialect. In other cases, the Yellow Peril may be an evil horde making up in raw numbers what they lack in power, since China is the most populous country in the world.
The "mysterious Chinaman" grew to be such a 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.". Early story attempts to counter the connotations of such a villain often had an Asian hero included who is dedicated to stopping the villain like Jimmy Woo in the Yellow Claw stories in the 1950s while Fu Manchu was opposed by his son, Shang Chi the Master of Kung Fu in the 1970s.
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, ChineseCommunism, or sinister "Asian" businessmen.
The idea, in the US 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 outthat 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, and another product of these stereotypes, Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow. For the Web Comic of the same name, see Yellow Peril.
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.
Discussed in a German political cabaret sketch. It was way back when the right wing coined the term "red-green peril" in analogy to "yellow peril", and the left wing fired back (freely translated excerpt, to be mentally read in "breathless" style):
"The reds turn all trafficlights to red!"
"To stop traffic!"
"The greens turn all trafficlights to green!"
"To destroy traffic!"
"They compromise...on yellow!"
"Thereby, the red-green peril has turned into a yellow peril!"
"Chinese General Secretary Dennnnnnnng Xiao Pinnnnnnnng..."
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.
The Mandarin is played by Ben Kingsley (who is half-white and half-Indian) in Iron Man 3. Purportedly, a non-Chinese actor was deliberately cast due to the film receiving funding and cooperation from Chinese backers. And in the movie itself, it turns out he was a deliberate invocation of this trope — the Mandarin is actually an actor and a Decoy Leader to disguise the real Big Bad, who is both American and Caucasian, and people bought the story since he fit with the archetype of an anti-American terrorist. All Hail the King reveals the real Mandarin is still out there, but we've no idea what he looks like yet.
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. (A "peri" is a type of Persian fairy, and "The Red Peri" was a space pirate in a 1935 Stanley G. Weinbaum story.)
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 Hergé 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.
That was largely because Herge befriended Zhang Chongren, a Chinese student who came to Brussels to study art and architecture. Zhang was his consultant about China, and was the reason why Herge become sympathetic to the Chinese during the war and caricatured the Japanese invaders so heavily. When the war ended, there was basically no reason to draw these caricatures anymore, so Japan just became another nation to portray accurately. Ironically, while his first editor, a conservative Catholic abbot, was encouraging Herge to be racist, it was another abbot who urged him to be more sensitive and introduced him and Zhang to each other.
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 B.P.R.D. 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.
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 facial features so that he is neither Asian nor Arab(of course considering his tribe came from China he technically is Asian). He also has green or blue eyes (depending on the continuity) and in media tends to be portrayed by white European actors (Liam Neeson, David Warner).
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).
During Joss Whedon's run on the series, the Runaways ended up in early 20th century New York. While there, team leader Nico Minoru learned that her ancestor was a Yellow Peril-type sorceress, although instead of running her own criminal empire, she was forced to do the bidding of a vaguely racist forerunner to the Avengers.
The affable, polite Japanese neighbor in The Cheat (1915) turns out to be a sexual predator who tries to rape the heroine.
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 descendants Genghis Khan supposedly has.
The Mask Of Fu Manchu (1932) with Boris Karloff playing the titular character is probably one of the most racist films of all times.
Dr. Tito Daka from the 1943 The Batman 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.
Batman Begins changes Ra's al Ghul from his comic book 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 he's actually a Caucasian with an Asian decoy).
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-CrazyThe 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).
Red Dawn (2012) has North Korea invading the United States. (It was the Soviet Union, with Cuban shock troops, in the 1984 original.)
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 because Japan Takes Over the World. Sean Connery's character constantly talks about how Japanese culture makes them more efficient and productive, but the plot also portrays Japanese businessmen as shadowy, corrupt and decadent.
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 mentioned. 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.
In The Fast and the Furious, the main antagonists are an Asian biker gang even though there aren't really any infamous Asian biker gangs in real life. In addition, the Asian bikers are the only Asians in the film and are violent and unsympathetic. However, the last 3 Fast and Furious movies have been directed Justin Lin, who is Taiwanese-American. (He is set to direct the 6th one as well).
In Snakes on a Plane the main antagonist is a brutal Asian gangster who beats a prosecutor to death with a baseball bat in the beginning of the movie. However, there is another Asian character in the film, a kickboxer, and he is portrayed as selfless and brave.
Doctor Who (norelation) from King Kong Escapes would be a classic Yellow Peril villain, except that, since this movie was made in Japan, he's just ordinary peril (being sort of Bond-villain-ish), with no particular xenophobia attached.
Iron Man 3 both averts this and cleverly exploits this. The Mandarin is an Wicked CulturedDiabolical Mastermind, played by the British-Indian actor Ben Kingsley, who does follow some classical Chinese philosophy. Except he's not. Kingsley's character is a washed-up actor named Trevor Slattery who is being paid by Dr. Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce - a white dude) to be the front for his operations in exchange for a cushy life.
Things may have changed as of All Hail The King. Both Killian (who died at the end of Iron Man 3) and Trevor Slattery were using a guise founded by the real Mandarin, who is less than pleased with what they have done with his name. His race is left unclear, as he is only mentioned and no actor has been announced to play him, but it's likely that he may be Chinese or Mongolian.
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 seemed to genuinely believe that some day in the future the Chinese would 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."
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, but when working with another's writings when you want to not anger them (as Heinlein did with John W. Campbell's All, the original story from which Sixth Column was modified) there's only so much a writer can do.
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's half-Chinese national origin has little to do with his actions.
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 other novels: Executive Orders, SSN,note a novelization of the game of the same nameThe Bear and the Dragon, and Threat Vector
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).
Several of Clive Cussler's books have examples of this: the sinister Japanese businessman Hideki Suma from "Dragon" and Min Koryo, the head of Korean shipping cartel in "Deep Six".
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.
Ah Ling in the 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, 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.
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."
A subversion is related in one of Nightingale's anecdotes from Moon Over Soho, of how Folly police in 1911 went to bust someone they thought was a Chinese crime-lord and sorcerer. Turned out that, while he was indeed involved in white slavery, an offense often attributed to old-time Yellow Peril villains, he was also a white Canadian invoking this trope to throw off the cops.
Dime Novel hero Nick Carter had a few of these:Sang Tu and The Yellow Tong, The Hip Ling Secret Society, the Yellow Spider (A Chinese crime boss in San Francisco), etc.
Nick Carter also subverted the trope with his relationship with the heroic Japanese detective Ten-Ichi. Further departing from the trope, Ten-Ichi marries June Lamartaine, a French woman, in Nick Carter Weekly #460 (21 October 1905);that kind of intermarriage was quite rare in 1905, both in fiction and in real life.
Live Action TV
The Wild Wild West episode "The Night the Dragon Screamed" subverts this: the episode starts as a rival-tongs plot, but halfway through the main villain is revealed as a renegade Englishman hoping to manipulate the Chinese throne.
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.
Mavic Chen in "The Daleks' Master Plan" has a Chinese-sounding last name, stereotypical East Asian facial features created by sticking makeup on a white person, and even a sort of Fu Manchu-ish moustache. Since it's black-and-white, some fan recolours attempt to rescue this by colouring him pale blue, making him into an alien. The official intention was for him to look vaguely multiracial as he was from the future.
The Celestial Toymaker from "The Celestial Toymaker" dresses in stereotypical Mandarin clothes, possibly playing on how the word 'celestial' is an old-fashioned British mild slur for Chinese culture. There's no accent, and no yellowface beyond a bit of makeup to make his eyebrows stereotypically straight and sharp.
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.
Chinese communist agent Wo Fat from Hawaii Five-O. He appears in the reboot too, but a criminal rather than a spy.
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.
The Monk episode "Mr. Monk gets Cabin Fever" has Monk going into witness protection after witnessing a killing by an Asian gang member. The twist near the end reveals that EVERY Asian person that appears in the episode was working for the Asian gangster and was involved in a plot to kill Monk.
Nickelodeon's The Thundermans features a semi-recurring character named Mrs. Wong whose sole characterization is to be a light personification of this trope. This from a TV show that's brand new for the 2013-2014 television season.
In the early years of Buck Rogers, the title character fought "Red Mongols" who had invaded and conquered the USA.
Los Miserables frequently portrays the Chinese as a constant peril to the nearly nonexistent finances of the Godinez family, in one example after a story arc learning everything about People Smuggling to the U.S. they decide to start a business of this, only to discover that the Chinese already beat them to it and their fees are so much lower, they drive them out of business before even starting. In another example, the kid, Bimbilique, gets annoyed with a competing Chinese boy who gets up very early and performs several tricks on his same street corner, gathering all the coins from passerbys and leaving nothing for him, so he gangs up with other kids, beats him and drives him away.
And before that in a number of The Goon Show episodes, e. g. "China Story" and the one where Fred Fu Manchu, the world's leading bamboo saxophone player, explodes all non-bamboo saxophones.
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.)
To be more specific, during the Eighties and Nineties, when Japan was seen as an economic threat to the US and China was (still) recovering from the worst excesses of communism, the Combine (Japan) was portrayed as being powerful and evil, whilst the Confederation (China) was portrayed as incompetent. After that, the Combine became less hostile to the erstwhile good guys (but see Gray and Gray Morality again), whilst the Confederation suddenly became a lot more competent and threatening.
Chairman Shen-Ji Yang of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri is a Yellow Peril on an alien planet. He is one of the most sinister of the faction leaders (though some of the others are no slouches themselves), 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...
Of course, factions in the game are based on ideology rather than racial makeup. The Hive are likely to be just as ethnically diverse as any other faction.
Marshall Kai from Indiana Jones and the Emperor's 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.
Casey and Andy parodied World War II newspaper comic depiction of the Japanese adversaries in comics encouraging the public to buy war bonds to fight the "The Japoteer."
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 Bad Seeds clique (to be admitted, one or more of your parents must be a supervillain).
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.
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.
Inspector Gadget nemesis Dr. Claw tried to team up with a Yellow Peril villain on two separate occasions. First the "Great Samurai Waruda" who hailed from Japan, then later the nefarious Mr. Chow from Hong Kong.
And it gets worse in the Second Season. An actual War Propaganda movie has Tarrlok 2.0, er, Unalaq, portrayed as your typical Fu Manchu Ming the Merciless villain. In a universe where all the characters are basically shades of Asian and Eskimo, they portray the villain as the Yellow Peril...