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Netflix’s Asian Erasure and Racism

We all know about Netflix. In fact, it often seems synonymous with college nowadays. Everyone has it, and everyone uses it. There are hundreds of shows to watch online, some recent and some old. Some of them are even Netflix originals. Many are based off previous characters and/or are revamps of old shows. There are several Marvel superhero TV shows, for example. But one of Netflix’s newest TV shows is based off an anime that many may have heard of. Netflix is doing a live action remake of Deathnote, and they completely messed up.

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“Worse, they’ve completely erased the Japanese people from the show. Asian people get so little representation in the media as it is.” Photo from: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/af03a0ff80f68be7963f4bf0ac3907b8a21eb6f3d742b5c1b645de387a6c6cff.jpg

This is a TV show about a Japanese person in Japan dealing with, among many other things, the Japanese legal system. Yet, they place the show in America and make the main character (and presumably the rest of the cast) white. The show isn’t even out yet, and they’ve already ruined a large part of the entire premise of the show. Worse, they’ve completely erased the Japanese people from the show. Asian people get so little representation in the media as it is. Taking a show like this and completely erasing them is both salt in the wound and a blatant insult to Asian people, and more specifically, Japanese people.

This type of action shows blatant discrimination towards Japanese people. Here was a perfect opportunity to hire Japanese actors, portray some aspects of Japanese culture, and give Japanese people heroes and villains that they could identify with and relate to, so they wouldn’t have to feel like they are on the outside looking in. This is white washing to such an extreme that it seems like a very deliberate insult directed at Japanese people. Everything about this show came from a uniquely Japanese perspective. Now it is just about a white boy becoming a serial killer, and if we wanted to watch that we could just turn on the news.