Zhang ZiyiThe reaction in Asia - and in Japan and China in particular - to Rob Marshall's Memoirs of a Geisha has largely been focused on the movie's cast. Though American audiences probably won't take much notice of where the stars were born, many in their homelands have strenuous objections to the fact that Chinese woman are playing three main roles, all of which are Japanese characters. Both star Zhang Ziyi (who plays Sayuri) and Gong Li are ethnically Chinese, while Michelle Yeoh is Chinese Malaysian.

Interestingly, there are objections from both countries. Most of the complaints coming from Japan focus on the movie's liberal interpretation of traditional Geisha dress and behavior, as well as the fact that ethnically Japanese actors play primarily secondary roles in the film. Meanwhile, those from China feel that, based on the historical animosity between the two countries, the actresses are betraying their nation by playing Japanese characters.

Marshall's reaction? Basically that he was making a movie, not aiming for historical accuracy: "The challenge for me was to bring that world to life. For me, it is an artistic impression of that world." In other words, none of this stuff occurred to him or anyone at Dreamworks. And, as long as the objections don't affect the box office in Asia or the movie's Oscar status, they'll continue to be ignored.