Toshia Mori

Toshia Mori
Born Toshia Ichioka
(1912-01-01)January 1, 1912
Kyoto, Japan
Died November 26, 1995(1995-11-26) (aged 83)
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Other names Toshiye Ichioka, Toshi Ichioka, Toshi Mori, Tashia Mori, Shia Jung
Occupation Actress
Years active 1927–1937
Spouse(s) Allen Jung (m. 1930)

Toshia Mori (January 1, 1912 – November 26, 1995) was a Japanese born actress, who had a brief career in American films during the 1930s. Born as Toshia Ichioka in Kyoto, Mori moved to the United States when she was ten years old.

Early life and career

Mori began her film career in the late 1920s in silent films as a teenager. In Mr. Wu (1927) she was credited as Toshia Ichioka. In Streets of Shanghai (1927), she was credited as Toshiye Ichioka. In The Man Without a Face[1] she was also credited as Toshiye Ichioka. (The film is presumed lost.)[2] Finally, she entered the sound era as Toshia Mori.

Mori played Miss Ling, in The Hatchet Man (1932).[3] In the same year, she played another Chinese character, "Butterfly", in Roar of the Dragon, an action-melodrama produced by David O. Selznick. The storyline consisted of a group of Occidentals turning to an alcoholic riverboat captain Chauncey Carson (Richard Dix) for help when they are trapped at a hotel in a Mandarin town under siege.[4]

Mori alongside other starlets in a promotional photograph for the WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1932

In 1932, Toshia became the only Asian and non-Caucasian actress to be selected as a WAMPAS Baby Star, an annual list of young and promising film actresses.[5] WAMPAS may have led to the most significant film role of her career, for shortly afterwards she appeared in Frank Capra's film The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933), a role which was scheduled for Anna May Wong at first. The story involved the erotically charged relationship between a missionary (Barbara Stanwyck) and a Chinese warlord (Nils Asther). The script also featured a vital character, "Mah-Li", a concubine whose scheming throws a spanner into the plots and plans of those around her. Capra and Columbia Pictures, both extremely happy with Mori's work, awarded her third billing. Time magazine's favorable review read: "Stanwyck is satisfactory … but the most noteworthy female member of the cast is Toshia Mori, a sloe-eyed Japanese girl…"[6]

Mori returned to minor characters in her subsequent films, in The Painted Veil (1934), starring Greta Garbo, she materializes as the centerpiece of "The Moon Festival" sequence. In Chinatown Squad (1935) she played "Wanda".[7] In Charlie Chan on Broadway in 1937. Lee (Keye Luke) becomes involved with Ling Tse (Toshia Mori), an employee of the Hottentot Club.

Post-cinema life

In 1930, Mori married Allen Jung, a Chinese-American from San Francisco.[8] After her film career ended, Mori worked as a researcher for Robert Ripley on his short films, Ripley's Believe It or Not. She died in The Bronx, New York, aged 83. She is interred at the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.[9]


Year Film Role Notes
1927 Mr. Wu
  • credited as Toshia
1927 Streets of Shanghai
  • credited as Toshyie
1928 The Man Without a Face
  • credited as Toshiye Ichioka.
  • Film serial Presumed lost.
1932 The Secrets of Wu Sin
1932 The Hatchet Man Miss Ling, Secretary
1932 Roar of the Dragon Butterfly
1933 The Bitter Tea of General Yen Mah-Li, Concubine
1934 The Painted Veil Centrepiece
  • centrepiece of "The Moon Festival" sequence
1935 Chinatown Squad Wanda
1936 Charlie Chan at the Circus Su Toy, contortionist

credited as Shia Jung

1937 Charlie Chan on Broadway Ling Tse, receptionist

Further reading


  1. The Man Without a Face (1928). IMDb.
  2. Man Without a Face at at the Wayback Machine (archived June 9, 2011).
  3. Hall, Mordaunt. (1932-02-04) Review of ''The Hatchet Man''. Retrieved on 2013-09-30.
  4. Review of ''Roar of the Dragon''. Retrieved on 2013-09-30.
  5. The WAMPAS Baby Stars. Retrieved on 2013-09-30.
  6. Cinema: The New Pictures: Jan. 23, 1933. (Review of The Bitter Tea of General Yen) (1933-01-23). Retrieved on 2013-09-30.
  7. At the Mayfair. New York Times (1935-05-30). Retrieved on 2013-09-30.
  8. A conference of Japanese America Actors, Artists, Activists and Interested Critics.
  9. Toshia Mori. Find A Grave. Retrieved on 2013-09-30.

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