Japanese War Bride

Japanese War Bride (also known as East is East) is a 1952 drama film directed by King Vidor. The film marked the American debut of Shirley Yamaguchi in the title role.

Japanese War Bride
Promotional release poster
Directed byKing Vidor
Produced byJoseph Bernhard
Anson Bond
Written byAnson Bond (story)
Catherine Turney (screenplay)
StarringShirley Yamaguchi
Don Taylor
Music byArthur Lange
Emil Newman
CinematographyLionel Lindon
Edited byTerry O. Morse
Distributed by20th Century-Fox
Release date
  • January 1952 (1952-01)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States


The film tells the story of a wounded Korean War veteran, Jim Sterling (Don Taylor), who returns to his California home with his Japanese wife. The couple had met and fallen in love in a Japanese hospital where Tae Shimizu (Shirley Yamaguchi) was working as a nurse. Back in America, the two face racism and bigotry from their neighbors and family, particularly their sister-in-law, Fran (Marie Windsor).

Impact and legacy

The widespread publicity surrounding the film's launch made Japanese wives increasingly visible in the United States. Along with The Teahouse of the August Moon and the more successful film Sayonara, Japanese War Bride was argued by some scholars to have increased racial tolerance in the United States by openly discussing interracial marriages.[1]

Principal cast

  • Shirley Yamaguchi – Tae Shimizu, a nurse, wife to Jim Sterling
  • Don Taylor – Captain Jim Sterling, GI in the Korean War
  • Cameron Mitchell – Art Sterling, Jim's older brother
  • Marie Windsor – Fran Sterling, Art's wife
  • James Bell – Ed Sterling, Jim's father
  • Louise Lorimer – Harriet Sterling, Jim's mother
  • Philip Ahn – Eitaro Shimizu, Tae's grandfather
  • Lane Nakano – Shiro Hasagawa, the Sterlings' Japanese-American neighbour
  • May Takasugi – Emma Hasagawa, Shiro's wife
  • Sybil Merritt – Emily Shafer, a local girl
  • Orley Lindgren – Ted Sterling, Jim's younger brother
  • George Wallace – Woody Blacker, a friend of Jim Sterling
  • Kathleen Mulqueen – Mrs. Milly Shafer, a friend of Harriet Sterling

Notes and references

  1. Sarah Kovner (2012). Occupying Power: Sex Workers and Servicemen in Postwar Japan. Stanford University Press. pp. 65–66. ISBN 978-0-8047-8346-0.
  • "Story of a Japanese War Bride", The New York Times, January 30, 1952.

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