In lieu of Women’s History Month, it is only right for us to acknowledge the greatness of women in martial arts. Typically the martial arts industry is dominated males with very few female influences. Martial arts movies have played a large role in media throughout history. Josephine Siao is a famous martial artist/actress that is a trailblazer in the film industry and has impacted cultures across the world.
As the star of countless action and wuxia films in the 1960s, Siao paved the way for movies that would allow women central roles, went on to direct a very well-regarded cult film, and has since dedicated her life to fighting child abuse. Siao’s first movie appearance was at age six, and she became one of the biggest teen idols in Hong Kong.
Unlike many child stars, Siao made a successful transition to adult stardom, remaining one of Hong Kong’s most popular actresses. She was also one of the directors and writers of Jumping Ash . This film is regarded as a prelude to the Hong Kong New Wave in the 1980s.
Having largely missed out on formal education because of her acting career as a child, Siao pursued her studies in later years despite the handicap of increasing deafness and the demands of raising a family. During this time she made fewer films, but her output included highly praised work.
Western fans of martial arts films will probably know her best from the Fong Sai-yuk films made in 1993, in which she played Jet Li’s kung fu–fighting mother. Siao has retired from show business since 1997 in favor of her work in child psychology. In particular, she is a noted campaigner against child abuse, and founded the End Child Sexual Abuse Foundation.