Jade Tan in Dragon Seed (1944)
Portrayed by: Katharine Hepburn
Yet another case of Hollywood’s sordid history with yellowface—this time, the casting involved one of the most iconic actresses of all time, Katharine Hepburn.
In this 1944 film, Hepburn portrays a Japanese woman named Jade who, when faced with Imperialist Japanese soldiers invading her village during World War II, stands up to the army. Casting white actors to portray characters of different backgrounds wasn’t abnormal at the time of this film’s release, sadly, but it’s still shocking to see the transformation Hepburn went through to appear as if she was of Japanese descent.