Monday 18th December 2017,

Bad Ass Asians

Ξ 8 comments

CBS SF: The Ginger Rogers of the Chop Suey Circuit–Dorothy Toy–Calls It Quits

posted by Randall


Toy, Dorothy & Wing, Paul95-year old Dorothy Toy in her prime was known as the Chinese Ginger Rogers. She was a star on the Chop Suey Circuit, a name given to Asian American dance performers in the 30’s and 40’s.

CBS San Francisco says despite her advanced age, the famed dancer from Oakland, CA just recently put away her dancing shoes.

Together with her partner Paul Wing, the pair was one of the top all Asian dance acts of their time.

“There were no Asians in show business. Yes, it was hard, but Paul and I did alright. We traveled all over and they liked us. They liked Paul,”

The Japanese American Dorothy managed to stay out of the incarceration camps during World War II because she took on a Chinese name.  She changed her name so it would fit on the marquees, but her name served her well.  Her real name was Takahashi.

You can learn more about Dorothy’s story and watch her dance on CBS San Francisco. Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill also put together a website about her for a class project. There you can see more historical footage of her performances.


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  1. AsAmNews says:

    From Luke Chung via Facebook Re: Chinese Ginger Rogers: "Interesting way to stay out of the internment camps of the '40s…change your name from "Takahashi" to "Toy"…

  2. AsAmNews says:

    Re: Chinese Ginger Rogers: Dorothy was not only quick on her feet, she was quick in the brain as well.

  3. AsAmNews says:

    From Judy Wing Lee via Facebook Re: Chinese Ginger Rogers: "Kudos to Her."

  4. AsAmNews says:

    From Luke Chung via Facebook re: Chinese Ginger Rogers: "Another well-known Japanese-American performer was the late actor Jack Soo…his real name was Goro Suzuki!!"

  5. AsAmNews says:

    From Luke Chung via Facebook re: Chinese Ginger Rogers: Very few people would have come up with changing their surname from Japanese to Chinese to avoid imprisonment…smart thinking, alright!!!

  6. AsAmNews says:

    From Linda Yee via Facebook Re: Chinese Ginger Rogers: "Actually she did not change her name to avoid iinternment…during those vaudeville days every Asian was considered Chinese to white America … She and Paul Wing (her partner ) changed her name to Toy to fit the marquees. They became known as Toy and Wing … Turns out the name change worked in her favor when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor ..and the rest is history"

  7. AsAmNews says:

    From Harrick Lum via Facebook Re:Chinese Ginger Rogers: "When I was young and working for Imperial Palace, she used to come around, back then I was in my early 20s and she was like 50s. she was a wonderful woman, always smiling"

  8. AsAmNews says:

    From Aileen Tokunaga via Facebook: Re: Chinese Ginger Rogers: "The clips of Toy and Wing dancing were very entertaining. Linda you are correct, Toy changed her name long before the war broke out. It would have been great to take dancing lessons from her. Who knew."

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