In the U.S. adult film industry, Asian women are a sexual fetish and Asian men are almost completely absent. Prof. Darrell Hamamoto wants to change that -- by producing skin flicks with Asian male stars.
Oct 10, 2003 | A lot of guys might jump at the opportunity to take a free trip to Los Angeles, have sex with a beautiful Asian woman and be paid for it. But it took months for Darrell Hamamoto to get someone to take the bait because there was a catch -- the tryst would be filmed for an adult video titled "Skin to Skin" being produced by Hamamoto.
Casting a porn shoot is not a big deal in Southern California, the capital of the multibillion-dollar adult movie industry. What made Hamamoto's request unusual was that he wasn't looking for just any guy with the "right equipment" for the job. He wanted an Asian-American stud to costar with an Asian-American woman for his video -- something unheard of in the industry, which produces thousands of heterosexual porn videos in the United States every year.
Asian porn is a popular genre and female stars such as Asia Carrera, Annabel Chong and Mimi Miyagi are household names to adult video fans. But straight porn is short on Asian-American males and Hamamoto wants to do something about it. For Hamamoto, an Asian-American studies professor at the University of California at Davis, the project is his statement about Asian-American sexuality, and if all goes as he plans, the start of an Asian-American media company.
Hamamoto wants to start a discussion about Asian-American sexuality, which he says has been damaged by years of colonialism and racism that has turned Asian women into a sexual fetish and Asian men into eunuchs. Asian-Americans have internalized these attitudes, Hamamoto says, causing a rift between the genders and perpetuating the stereotypes.
"As Marvin Gaye said, we need 'sexual healing,' and I'm the doctor," Hamamoto says. "I'm trying to do it in the most direct, visible way possible, by promoting and producing Asian-American erotica for Asian-Americans by Asian-Americans."
Hamamoto shot footage in March with Lyla Lei, 20, who has more than 60 videos to her credit in a little over a year in the porn business. Her costar, Chun, 25, who asked that his last name not be used, heard about the project from an interview with Hamamoto published on AsianAvenue.com. Like most guys, his reaction was, "Yeah, I could do that." He e-mailed Hamamoto, "just to get more information," and the next thing he knew, plans were being made to fly him to Los Angeles.
Several other potential male stars had committed to the project, only to back out at the last minute, Hamamoto says.
"There is no shortage of Asian-American women who don't mind going on camera and engaging in sex, showing their faces and bodies," Hamamoto says. "You'd think there would be tons of Asian-American men who'd want to do this. What it comes down to is [Asian-American males] don't want to represent. If they continue to do that, they deserve all the shit they get" from stereotyping.
Many guys fantasize that it would be great to be a porn star, but when they realize their face and everything else will be on the screen for everyone to see, the machismo wears off. But Chun went through with it. He said he was intrigued by Hamamoto's ideas and by the chance to be in a porn movie.
"I thought it would be really cool. It's certainly something I've never done before," he says. "I always wanted to be an actor, but of course this is not really acting." He was nervous, but, he says, "The last thing I wanted to do was let them down. I committed. Then of course the conservative side takes over and says, 'What the hell are you doing?'"
A hotel in Torrance, Calif., served as the studio for the video, with Hamamoto and his girlfriend, Funi Hsu, doing the camerawork. "Skin to Skin" is standard porn fare, at least from the snippets in a preview tape provided by Hamamoto. There's a knock on the door, Chun greets Lei and after some flirting on the couch while playing video games they proceed to do what is done in most porn videos.
Lei, who is part Thai and part Cambodian, has long brown hair that frames a wide smile and meshes seamlessly with her dark bronze complexion. Chun is a tall, strapping Korean-American who exudes a youthful charm on the screen. Lei said Chun was her first Asian male costar and she enjoyed the experience. "I feel like when it's Asian and Asian, it's more comfortable," Lei says. "I don't feel awkward when I kiss him."
The idea for Asian-American erotica, or "yellow porn" as Hamamoto calls it, took root in 1998, when he began to ask students in his class on theoretical perspectives in Asian-American studies whom they fantasized about sexually. Invariably, the images were of white, blond-haired beauties, both male and female. What that meant to Hamamoto was that the sexuality of black, brown and yellow bodies had been subjugated. Asian-Americans of both genders didn't view each other as sexual beings. He laid out his thesis for making an Asian-American porn video in an essay titled "The Joy F**K Club" that was published in an academic journal in 1998.
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