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Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow

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"Let's just look at Phuong... mistress of an older European man. Well, that pretty well describes the whole country, doesn’t it?"
Alden Pyle, The Quiet American

The stereotypical relationship of a white male with a disadvantaged, or submissive, Asian woman.

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". Asiatic-European pairings are also plagued by the shadow of Orientalism, and a long history of stories about "pink men rescuing brown women from evil brown men". Though Orientalism was originally defined by European attitudes to the Middle East, European eyes went on to view the Far East through the same paradigm. In any case, the modern stereotype of an Asian woman is that she's a charmingly exotic, uber-domestic, unquestioningly-subservient nymphomaniac... or, at the other extreme, an uneducated, ditzy moron. Thus, her white 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 millionaires of trashy romance novel fame.

Remember, this is not simply a list of relationships between Asian women and white men in fiction, but of a specific depiction of such relationships drawing on Race Fetishism and Asian stereotypes in relation to the Mighty Whitey trope.

See also Asian Babymama, where this type of relationship doesn't end well.

Compare Where da White Women At?, which is about African-male-European-female pairings, and contrast Black Gal on White Guy Drama, for the African-female-European-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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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has an inversion with the red-haired, blue-eyed German-American Asuka (who is quarter Japanese through her mother), who has some emotional and sexual tension with Shinji Ikari. Interestingly, Asuka is often flummoxed by his submissive and meek behavior, seeing him as unenthusiastic about her advances.

  • 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!"

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • Shortcomings: After seeing Miko with Leon, a white-passing man, Ben (who is Japanese) comments that seeing an older white man with a younger Asian women has gross Orientalist connotations, while the gender inversion is much less common and much more pleasing. However, Meredith turns it on him, asking if his fixation on white women is a manifestation of his desire for assimilation. She then points out that he makes moralizing generalizations to make himself feel better.

    Comic Strips 
  • Parodied in The World of Lily Wong: The title character, a Hong Kong Chinese woman, is married to a wimpy American expatriate.
  • Doonesbury: White mercenary, conman and ambassador "Uncle" Duke has a quite fucked-up relation with his secretary/translator/sex slave Honey Huan (Chinese).
  • Defied with a comic strip produced by the government of China which warns Chinese women on dating foreigners, on the grounds that they could be undercover spies. No kidding.

    Fan Works 
  • Parodied in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series episode 15. When Tea and the rest of non-duelist characters are asked identification by Kumo (the hair guy) she tries to distract him saying "Me love you long time?", before Mai's breasts save the day.
  • How Stormer Got Her Groove Back: The half-Chinese and half-white Aja dealt with this stereotype a lot as a teenager growing up in the '70s and '80s. A lot of the white boys wanted her to be their "exotic" girlfriend, while the Chinese boys didn't understand her punkish fashion and music interests. Aja had called quits on finding a boyfriend until she met Craig, who saw behind her ethnic background and liked her for her.
  • Total Drama Comeback Series inverts this trope with Heather and Ezekiel. She's clearly the "mighty" of the pair, with her boyfriend being the "mellow".
  • Considering that the nation-tans of Hetalia: Axis Powers 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Discussed in Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong between Josh (a white American living in Hong Kong) and Ruby (an Asian-American on vacation). She realises that most of her boyfriends have been white, and she mocks herself for enforcing the stereotype. Josh's girlfriend is a local girl, and dating more than one of them has led to him being mocked by his white co-workers - who accuse him of having a Race Fetish.
  • The quintessential example is The World of Suzie Wong in which a wannabe artist in Hong Kong falls in love with a local prostitute. Journalist HY Nahm described the film's reputation being something of a sore spot for many Asians who had never seen it but grew up in its shadow. Upon interviewing the lead actress Nancy Kwan, Nahm sat down to watch the film and actually enjoyed it. As discussed here, Suzie herself bucks the submissive Asian woman stereotypes by rebuffing any men she doesn't like, temporarily supporting Robert financially, and challenging the racism of the white Hong Kong expats. The film was also highly unusual at the time because it was typical for white man-Asian woman pairings to end with death of one or two of the lovers, or them ending up with members of their own race. Suzie Wong however broke stereotype by presenting a white woman as the Romantic False Lead, acknowledging the classism at play and having Robert and Suzie earn their happy ending.
  • Inverted with China White, a Romeo and Juliet-esque love story set in Amsterdam's Chinatown, where the protagonist, a Chinese triad enforcer Bobby Wong had a rocky relationship with his Dutch girlfriend Anne Micheals, an Interpol investigator. Anne is clearly submissive to Wong throughout the entire movie.
  • Inverted in Java Head, where the Asian woman is the more privileged partner (she's a noblewoman and he's just a merchant's son). It's also the only film where Anna May Wong got to kiss her white co-star. Another character, the brother of the husband's spurned childhood crush, develops a fixation on the princess because of his obsession with China.
  • 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.

  • House Of Bamboo: An American military policeman in Japan convinces the widow of a murder victim to pose as his girlfriend, and she eventually falls in love with him.
  • 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.
  • The Sand Pebbles: Richard Attenborough saves a Chinese woman from prostitution by buying her debts and marrying her.
  • Year of the Dragon: Stanley White (Mickey Rourke) aggressively courts Tracy Tzu (Ariane Koizumi), and his sexual attraction to her is implied to be a byproduct of a blend of attraction/repulsion towards Asians which he picked up in Vietnam.
  • Played with in Tai Pan (as well as the original novel), where protagonist Dirk Struan has a fiery mistress named Mei-Mei, who defies just about everything about the "Mellow Yellow" attributes, with mellow and submissive being the last two words to describe her - but she still has to deal with the monumental racism of the white people and all the disadvantages it brings. Also, both the novel and the film reverses it, with a poverty-stricken young Englishwoman who makes an extremely good living by prostituting herself to an exclusively Chinese clientèle.
  • 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).
  • The Transporter: Jason Statham rescues Shu Qi from abduction, and she thanks him with sexual favors.
  • 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: The wounded Nathan Algren 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.
  • Miami Vice: Gong Li is the mistress of a (white-looking) Latin American drug lord, and has a tryst with Colin Farrell.
  • 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.
  • In the trailer for Past Lives, the white Arthur says that in another story, he might be the evil white American husband stopping his Korean-American wife from reuniting with her true (Korean) love.
  • Sayonara is about three interracial relationships in Japan:
    • The Maligned Mixed Marriage is between Joe Kelly and a local girl called Katsumi. In this case, Kelly is the one who assimilates to Japanese culture, as he lives in Katsumi's home, takes on Japanese customs, and speaks with her more often in Japanese (though she is shown trying to learn English). A sad moment in the film comes when it's revealed Katsumi was planning to get back-alley cosmetic surgery to look more Anglo. The army tries to split up the marriage by reassigning Kelly back to America, leading to the two of them committing suicide together.
    • Gruver's romance with Hana-ogi inverts the disadvantaged side of the trope. Gruver is an Ace Pilot, but Hana-ogi is a national celebrity (and when they're found out, she says any other girl would just be dismissed as punishment, but she's too famous). It marked the first Hollywood movie to show a Big Damn Kiss between a white man and Asian woman and averted Yellowface by casting Miiko Taka after Audrey Hepburn turned the part down. It also changes the original book's ending by having the two decide to stay together. It was especially notable for being released right after the Hays Code lifted the ban on interracial kissing.
    • There's a Gender Flip in the form of Gruver's white fiance Eileen growing closer to a kabuki performer called Nakamura. Theirs is only given a Maybe Ever After, and Nakamura is played by the Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban. In this case, Nakamura outranks her.
    • Another pairing that's less developed involves Gruver's comrade Bailey taking out a lesser Matsobayashi performer (and friend of Hana-ogi) Fumiko. The disadvantaged part is played straight here, as Bailey appears to outrank her and is appealing to his superiors to allow her to enter a whites only club.
  • Tanguy: The main character, aged 30 something, still lives with his parents and couldn't be moved to ... well move out. As a doctorate student in Chinese civilization, he uses his language skills to pick up Asian girls and eventually, yes, moves to Beijing where he marries a local woman. When he marries the Chinese girl, he moves in with her family and gets them to care for him.
  • In The Karate Kid Part II, Daniel meets Kumiko in Okinawa and both fall in love, with Kumiko being somewhat reserved and shy. That said, its far more justified than most cases as her only other romantic option was Chozen who given his actions in the film likely chased away any would-be suitors. However, in ''Part III'', Kumiko decides to stay in Okinawa with Daniel respecting her choices to let her be happy.
    • She actually got a job with a dance troupe in Tokyo but the point stands.
  • The 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. Subverted, because, in spite of her young age, the Vietnamese girl is not submissive at all. She even becomes a resistance hero. In contrast, her white lover is quite weak and passively undergoes the events of the film.
  • 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.
  • Austin Powers in Goldmember parodies this with a pair of fangirl twins willing to do anything for Austin. With Punny Names.
  • 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 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.
  • Played straight in You Only Live Twice, where Bond hooks up with Japanese secret agent Kissy (played by Mie Hama). Earlier in the film, Bond has sex with Ling (Tsai Chin), who co-operates with him to help him fake his death, and sleeps with Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi), although his and Aki's relationship doesn't last when Aki gets killed.
  • Gender-Inverted in Sixteen Candles: Long Duk Dong ends up with Marlene, a tall athletic woman. Their relationship is Played for Laughs.
  • 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 textbook. 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.
  • Gender-Inverted in Stratosphere Girl, where a European girl who's an aspiring comic book 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 a hostess in a bar catering to the white Race Fetish of its Asian patrons. And then the murder mystery happens...
  • Nathan and his domestic, Kyoko, respectively in Ex Machina. Kyoko is a robot who is made to resemble an Asian woman, and is programmed to be a subservient sex slave, speechless, whose sole purpose and reason for being built is to cook and clean and provide sexual pleasure for the white male owner.
  • Crank: High Voltage: Bai Ling's character (Ria) is determined to fulfill this trope after Chev accidentally saves her from a bad guy. Chev's lack of interest in her doesn't seem to matter.
    "He my Kevin Costner!"
  • Triangle of Sadness: Inverted, like many dynamics, once the remaining passengers wind up on the deserted island. Older, more street-smart Filipino woman Abigail, now in charge of the survivors, begins sleeping with hapless white pretty boy Carl, to the consternation of his equally hapless white girlfriend Yaya.

  • Fah Lo Suee, daughter of Fu Manchu, falls in love with Sir Denis Nayland Smith and betrays her father for him.
  • 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 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 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 with her.
    • Mariko from Shogun is an 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.
  • Park's parents in Eleanor & Park.
  • 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.
  • The Ben Devereaux/Li-Xia couple in Red Lotus can come off as this, but while Ben is definitely a Mighty Whitey, Li-Xia is not a Mellow Yellow.
  • 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.
  • Occurs in Gish Jen's novel Mona in the Promise Land, and lampshaded when the white 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.
  • 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.
  • In the Fablehaven books, the relationship between Patton and Lena zig-zags this trope really weirdly. Patton Burgess is definitely the kind of rugged Western adventurer you'd see in a Mighty Whitey narrative, and Lena is a vaguely East Asian-looking woman who leaves her home and gives up everything (including eternal youth) to be with him. (In fact, at one point, Lena reminisces about how Patton had a thing for Asian women.) On the other hand, Lena is anything but mellow, and even though she looks Asian, she's actually an American water spirit (giving the whole Patton/Lena subplot a sort of Little Mermaid vibe).
  • "The Paper Menagerie": Jack's Chinese mother became a Mail-Order Bride for his American father to escape abuse and poverty.
    If I can cook, clean, and take care of my American husband, he’ll give me a good life. It was the only hope I had. And that was how I got into the catalogue with all those lies and met your father. It is not a very romantic story, but it is my story. In the suburbs of Connecticut, I was lonely. Your father was kind and gentle with me, and I was very grateful to him. But no one understood me, and I understood nothing.
  • 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.)
  • Inverted in Sannikov Land. Annuir is an Onkilon woman (the Onkilons are related to the Aleuts) who falls deeply in love with white explorer Ordin. However, he starts to like her back because she is anything but gentle and submissive: for example, their acquaintance begins when she demands to become his wife, and only the day after she announces Stay in the Kitchen is not for her and she intends to follow Ordin to war.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Twin Peaks: Joan Chen is married to an older Westerner, and it is revealed he picked her up in Hong Kong. She also has affairs with other Westerners.
  • 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.
  • Gender Flipped earlier in Heroes, 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.
  • Red Skies, a 2002 Pilot Movie set in Los Angeles, features a Chinese female police officer who teams up with an FBI task-force. An unspoken but definite mutual attraction develops between her and the white alpha-male of the group.
  • Referenced 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 the teenage Asian girl. One construction worker is heard calling out "Me love you long time" as the Cambodian woman walks past.
  • 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.
  • 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..
  • Dates: One of the first thing Kate notes about her British Chinese date Erica is that she seems to like being told what to do (which becomes a Call-Back when they get into the thick of the plot, as Kate calls for her to speak up for once). It's an unusual twist, with a same-sex couple.
  • Arrow:
    • There is an aversion in Tatsu Yamashiro, who is one of the five women Oliver Queen had liaisons with during his time off Starling City — and is the only one he had no romantic subplot with (she's introduced as a married woman). In fact, Tatsu started out hating Oliver, and only came to respect him after he showed that he's not a ruthless foreigner. Years later, she resurfaces back in Oliver's life, but only as a friend, helping him fight the League of Assassins.
    • The first of said five women, Shado, also averts this as while she had romantic interest in Oliver, she's definitely not a mellow yellow. If anything, she shaped Oliver into a mighty whitey, training him to become a battle-hardened fighter.

  • Gender inverted in the song "Butterfly" by
    I've been searching for a man
    All across Japan
    Just to find, to find my samurai
    Someone who is strong
    But still a little shy
    Yes I need, I need my samurai
  • 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."
  • 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.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Inverted when it came to Yoshihiro Tajiri and Torrie Wilson. Tajiri wore the pants in the relationship both literally and figuratively and became increasingly jealous and controlling of Wilson as it went on, forcing her to dress how he wanted and dressing her down for not loving him as a way to take out his frustrations on losing matches. Torrie, for her part, just took it, simply shaking her head when Tajiri questioned her loyalties.
  • Jade Chung with Roderick Strong and AJ Styles, as a result of the former sticking up for and ultimately saving her from her old boss, the nefarious Prince Nana, and his "crown jewel" Jimmy Rave, who literally walked all over her. In time Chung would develop as much fortitude as a pro wrestling manager can get away with having, even returning the favor to Rave.

  • While Madame Butterfly is infamous for being a Trope Codifier of the "exotic, submissive Asian woman falls in love with Western man" plot, the opera itself is actually also something of a deliberate deconstruction; the American Pinkerton is a cad who ruins the Japanese Butterfly's life with his selfish nature and thoughtlessness, topping it off by abandoning her to marry an American woman (who herself remains unaware of his relationship with Butterfly until it's far too late).
  • M. Butterfly, a play by David Henry Hwang later adapted by David Cronenberg into the movie of the same name mentioned in the "Film" section, is a subversion; the stereotypically doll-like Asian woman turns out to be a male spy who deliberately plays 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" concept. 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, Chris is a decent person (certainly far better than Pinkerton), 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.
  • 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 Lakmé, the same story set in India.

    Video Games 
  • Super Robot Wars: Original Generation has the blonde, blue-eyed American Brooklyn "Bullet" Luckfield with his Japanese partner/girlfriend Kusuha Mizuha, as well as the German Elzam von Branstein and his late Japanese wife Cattleya Fujiwara (though according to the backstory, Elzam's around 1/4 Japanese). Interestingly, most interracial couples in the series actually invert this, with the very Japanese Kyosuke Nanbu, Masaki Andoh and Tasuku Shinguji pairing up with Excellen Browning, Lune Zoldark and Leona Garstein, respectively (not that you can really tell...)
  • Inverted in Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love. The hero is a Japanese male who travels to the United States, with his potential love interests including three white women, with two of them being his subordinates (with the last technically being his boss). The earlier Sakura Wars games also invert this trope in the same way, due to their Japanese protagonist's romanceable subordinates including a fair number of Europeans.
  • 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 by 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.

    Web Comics 
  • Lampshaded in MegaTokyo: both male protagonists develop relationships with local Japanese girls, but suffer pangs of guilt (well, one of them, anyway) at the idea of playing out such a cliché.
    • Piro seemed more freaked out by his initial attraction to the high schooler Yuki, as she fulfilled his fantasies of Japanese high school girls. Luckily, his conscience managed to point out that just because anime and manga have conditioned that fetish into him, that doesn't make the 9-year age gap any smaller.
  • Yuffie and Riku is a subversion of this trope in Ansem Retort: Yuffie has a thing for weak emo boys that don't have the balls to defend themselves, and Riku's starved enough for attention that isn't abusive beatings that he jumps at the chance with Yuffie.
  • Mentioned frequently in the (now defunct) webcomic Single Asian Female. The titular protagonist often has to block white men from trying to date her. Asian characters who date white men are portrayed as naive and shallow, while white men who date Asian women are portrayed as creepy, racist fetishists. Given the author's strong belief that Asian women should date Asian men, it all comes across with a serious dose of Writer on Board.
  • Something*Positive occasionally has Aubrey and Pee Jee (both Asian women) comment on white men who expect a perfect, submissive Asian girlfriend:
    Peejee: I like to burst their dreams. And their kidneys.
  • In El Goonish Shive, this is inverted with Elliot and Nanase since Elliot tends to be an Extreme Doormat in relationships and Nanase tends to be more aggressive. Elliot's relationship with Ashley plays it straighter at least on her end given that she also tends to be an Extreme Doormat.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Kim Possible both inverts this and plays it regularly. While Ron is in Asia for plot reasons, 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).
  • Comic Book Guy's marriage to Kumiko on The Simpsons is a parody of this trope. Even though CBG is fat, nerdy, and condescending and Kumiko is a perky, feminine mangaka, she fell for his shamelessness since she was tired of all the submissiveness in her home country.

Alternative Title(s): Asian Gal With White Guy, Madame Butterfly Syndrome, Yellow Fever, Asian Girl White Guy, Orientalist Romance, Asian Gal On White Guy Drama