I AM SO GLAD TO HAVE FOUND VIKI! Normal people doing really good movie stuff!
hmm, You want the Truth? Ok. Here you go… I don’t know if I ‘discovered kdramas’ or grew up in a kdrama type environment. History lesson.
Hollywood’s portrayal of ethnic people has always been racist as hell. Ethnic people are only extras at best and always in the background. If the movie needs a main ethnic character they dress up some European-descent actor to play that part.
School - We were force fed the Columbus myth year after year - and this was to kids whose ancestors have always been here. When the teachers said, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” They were met with, “And they met my grandfather.” The outright coverup and lies about the Spanish Mission system being portrayed as,’ gentle friars and their native children gardening." We’d go home at tell our parents what they taught us in school that day and we knew they were mad but they didn’t tell us the awful truth at that time because we were just small children. But we knew the gig was up and found out later what really happened. For those who do not know, the Spanish Mission system in California was outright genocide. And the Vatican wants to make Junipero Serro a SAINT! Oh HELL NO! Look it up. We were mad at the misrepresentation and whitewashing of history. (and they wonder why the schools are failing.)
Early Hollywood movies involving Native (American Indian), Asian, Mexican or Black ethnicities were horrible - (look them up) so, along comes the 60’s and 70’s, TV. They decided to ‘allow’ real ethnic people into films, but they were still extras. Look at the tv show ‘Kung Fu’. They got David Carradine to play the lead part. Besides being European, he did not even know Kung Fu! Real people who did know martial arts were stars of Hong Kong movies at that time. The famous Bruce Lee, who is a local guy from San Francisco, had to go to Hong Kong to star in movies. Star Trek was the first US show to have people of various ethnicities just being regular people, doing their jobs and NO CARICATURES! (Except Checkov was a stereotype based off of Brezhnev and Khrushchev - He sure the heck did not act like any Russians from San Francisco. The Russian population has been in San Francisco and all the way north to Alaska and over to Vladivostok since the fur trade days.)
Now go back to the very interesting ethnic mix of Barbary Coast days (San Francisco). Before 1848 it was a sleepy trading post between the Russian, Aleuts and Spanish/Mexicans. Then the gold rush was on. BOOM! In 1849 you had one CRAZY! and I mean CRAZY/WILD boom town. Men were about 95% of the population back then. That ‘prime’ real estate in downtown Union Square? Maiden Lane? You know why it has that name? It’s because they put the prostitutes in the windows so the customers could walk past and select which ‘window dressing’ they liked. Same thing was going on in Chinatown a few blocks over except the brothels kept their women downstairs out of sight.
People were brought in from Asia - Mostly from China but also from Japan and the Philippines to do the hard work in the mines, railroads and farms but they were not allowed to bring wives or families because racist Americans wanted Asian people to go home. Of course, that persecution only encouraged smuggling and human trafficking and forced a really ugly business underground. Many guys managed to bring their families anyway at great cost but they either kept to the center of their communities or moved up the coast where there were no gold miners to harass them.
California became a state in 1849 on Union Square - the public square place where the elected to ‘join’ the United States.- which is why it’s called that. by 1849/50, they started enforcing law and order because it was just too wild. You had people coming in from all over the Pacific Rim. Russian and Aleut fur traders, People from Shangai to work in the railroads and mines. People from Japan too along with regular trade with Lima, Peru and half of western Ireland getting off ships in San Francisco. The trade network then was between Peru, SF, Shanghai and Russia. You also had all the various Native California people disguised as Mexicans just because they spoke Spanish and the Americans coming overland but mostly by boat since there was no easy route across the country back then. Before 1900, you had people from the Philippines and the Azores also. So this was early California, and my ancestors are from this timeline. Interestingly, My ancestors back then are from Peru, the Azores, Ireland, Mexico, Japan and China. Yea, that is an interesting story, right there.
Way back in the 60’s and 70’s, due to the garbage from Hollywood, we were watching movies from Hong Kong and Japan. KQED in San Francisco used to have a Japanese Film Festival (mid-70’s) which showed movies from all the great directors from Japan - Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji MizogucJhi, Kinji Fukasaku, Hayao Miyazaki, Takashi Miike, Kaneto Shindo, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Shohei Imamura, Mikio Naruse, Kon Ichikawa, Seijin Suzuki, etc. There are so many great directors from the 20th century. Look them up. You will not be disappointed. They are very interesting - a much different pace. I wish I could watch some of the historical series again. They were really good.
Hollywood has been slowly improving but they still have a LOOOONGGG way to go.
So that still does not answer how I found Viki. For the last 22 years, I have been living on the backside of the reservation in Idaho. My hubby came to California and decided it was just too fast paced for him and took me back with him to Idaho. a HELL of a long way from The Pacific. Parts of the rez do NOT have tv or cell service. You have to get satellite or dialup. There is no streaming out there. and the snow can pile up out there and me being a California girl really really hates driving on ice. So after my hubby passed I moved to town and STREAMING! But I can’t afford to move back to the Bay Area. The cost of living back home is out of my pay grade. I MISS the ocean! I MISS fresh seafood! I miss my friends and family! Dang it. I MISS my multicultural city! Viki is saving my sanity!
So, then, How did I ‘discover’ kdramas? I streamed Netflix and found a Korean Odyssey. It was hilarious! I LOVED it and looked other Lee Seung Gi stuff. Gu Family Book - Loved that one too. and in there I found Viki, liked the shows that are available and subscribed and have been here ever since.
There was no Korean speaking community my part of the Bay Area when I was growing up. So I never learned any Korean from neighbors. But to my ears back then I always had to listen a bit to know if someone was speaking Japanese or Korean. They sounded so similar. Back then I only knew some Japanese words and phrases - mainly from Kurosawa and Godzilla movies (To mix Kurosawa and Godzilla movies together in the same sentence must be a crime somewhere. )
Streaming some of the Viki shows used to annoy me when they forgot to put in subtitles for whole chunks of dialog. It bugged me enough that I decided to learn Korean. Yea,. What’s one more language to pack into my ‘know enough to get myself into trouble but not enough to get out of it’ non-fluency bag of tricks…
Here you go - San Francisco demographics - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_San_Francisco