Jiyeun Kang / Black Dog & Leventhal / Book illustration of “The Golden Screen: The Movies That Made Asian America.”

Jiyeun Kang

Jiyeun Kang was commissioned by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers to create an illustration for the book titled “The Golden Screen: The Movies That Made Asian America.”
Cultural critic and author Jeff Yang explores iconic cinematic works in this book that have shaped how America views Asians and how Asian Americans see themselves.

Jiyeun Kang was asked to reimagine the existing movie poster for the 1915 silent film “The Cheat” and to recreate the depiction of the Asian actor in the film. Directed by Cecil B. DeMille, the film follows a stockbroker’s wife who embezzles money and turns to a Japanese trader in desperation.

Sessue Hayakawa plays the man who lends her the money, portrayed as elegant, dangerously sexy, and sinister.
When the film was released, Japanese Americans protested the negative portrayal of Hayakawa’s character.

The author wanted to depict the film not as originally intended, where Hayakawa was seen as a manipulative and alluring antagonist, but as a steamy, sensual thriller.
He wanted Hayakawa’s character to be appealing and attractive instead of sinister.

Therefore, Jiyeun Kang recreated the poster with her sensual and romantic style, depicting Hayakawa’s character as more elegant, refined, and attractive, contrary to the original portrayal.