Lotus Long (Lotus Pearl Shibata)

Lotus Long

Lotus Long (July 18, 1909 – September 14, 1990) was an American actress. She was born Lotus Pearl Shibata in New Jersey, to a father of Japanese ancestry and a mother of Hawaiian ancestry. She came to Southern California during the 1920s to act in Hollywood films, and usually portrayed ethnic Asian female characters in supporting roles. She used the name “Lotus Long” for stage and film. Because of her adopted surname, people generally assumed that she was of Chinese ancestry – something she later relied on to avoid mass incarceration in American internment camps with other persons of Japanese ancestry, both legal permanent residents and American citizens, during World War II. She appeared in the MGM docudrama Eskimo (1933) as wife of the main character. Under the stage name Lotus Long as Moonflower in the 1934 film The Mysterious Mr. Wong and as the murder victim, Princess Lin Hwa, in 1939’s Mr. Wong in Chinatown. She also starred alongside Keye Luke in Phantom of Chinatown as Win Len, Dr. Benton’s secretary, whereas Keye Luke played Mr. Wong, this time known as Detective James Lee Wong. She was also credited under the name Karen Sorrell in the films Flight to Nowhere (1938) starring Jack Holt and Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938) starring Peter Lorre. She was uncredited as a “native girl” in the film The Real Glory (1939) starring Gary Cooper and David Niven. One of her more infamous roles would be as Tokyo Rose in Lew Lenders’ film, Tokyo Rose (1946), which also starred Keye Luke, Edwin Luke, Richard Loo, Byron Barr, and Osa Massen. Long had one writing and producing credit, for the film The Tahitian (1956) made with her husband, James Knott. The Tahitian was filmed on location with a largely native cast. In Timothy Tau’s short film bio-pic Keye Luke, Lotus Long is portrayed by Mei Melancon, who is also of mixed ancestry (Japanese, Chinese and French), and who was inspired by the real-life figure of Tokyo Rose (Iva Toguri) to get into acting. Coincidentally, Lotus Long was the first Actor to portray Tokyo Rose in Lew Lenders’ 1946 film of the same name, Tokyo Rose (1946).

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  • July, 18, 1909
  • USA
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey


  • September, 14, 1990
  • USA
  • Orange County, California

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