As an entrée to the book, this chapter lays out the theoretical framework of the analysis, including the concepts of Virtual Orientalism and the icon of the Oriental Monk. Early visual constructions of Asian religions on which the icon is based are also discussed: newspaper coverage of Asian representatives at the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions, the character of the Yellow Man in D.W. Griffith’s film, Broken Blossoms (1919), and the popular movie sleuth, Charlie Chan. These examples foreshadow more positive representations of Asian religions that would emerge mid-century.
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