Daniel Dae Kim confronted the creators of 'Lost' about the way his character on the show played on Asian stereotypes
The 52-year-old actor starred in the TV series as Jin-Soo Kwon and advocated to have his alter ego and his wife Sun (played by Yunjin Kim) evolve as characters after the pilot episode of the programme in 2004
16 April 2021
The relationship between the couple was criticised at first as it played into the Asian stereotype of dominant husband and submissive wife, and Daniel urged the show's creators J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof to develop the parts.
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He said: "My greatest fear was that the pilot of 'Lost' would air, but the series would not – because if you were to see the pilot as the totality of my character, you would have been left with that stereotype.
"While we were shooting, I remember sitting down with Damon Lindelof and J.J. Abrams and saying, 'Guys, this character cannot progress in the same way.' They basically said, 'Trust us.' I did, and it turned out for the best."
Despite his initial reservations, Daniel admitted he signed on for the show with the intention of "working within the system" to make positive changes.
He added: "As an Asian actor, you're just looking to get hired. It's about working within the system to try and change it when you have the opportunity.
"The character grew to a place where I don't think you'd call him a stereotype by the end."
The 'Hawaii Five-0' star also opened up on the steps 'Lost' bosses took to make sure the Korean dialogue, along with his accent, was perfect in the show.
Daniel told Vulture: "The way the dialogue was put together was they would write it in English and then I would go to someone in Hawaii and translate it together with that person. Then I would learn in it Korean.
"So it was the work of going through the translation process and then thinking about the Korean of it, the pronunciation, and then going back and thinking about the character and his mannerisms as a Korean person as opposed to an American person, which, obviously, I am. I think it would be obvious to most Koreans watching if I didn't do that work.
"I don't think you can question the positive effect 'Lost' had on representation."