People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive was announced this week, and yet again chose a white guy for the top honor. The storied celebrity mag has yet to crown an Asian man as the winner—Keanu Reeves was the closest, and that was a retroactive win for 1994 (when, for whatever reason, they didn’t choose someone) announced in 2015. They have named Asian men in adjacent categories, but nobody has clinched the top prize.
As a fun clapback, the editorial team at JoySauce has compiled our very subjective, very thirsty and highly researched list of Asian men that make us swoon. This is not an exhaustive list or a ranking, just 10 guys that are our Roman Empire (or Qing Dynasty?).
Daniel Dae Kim
People named Patrick Dempsey as the Sexiest Man Alive this year. I guess we’re all living in 2006. Daniel Dae Kim brings that throwback energy and can throw our back out too. He’s the OG from roles like Jin-Soo Kwon in Lost and Chin Ho Kelly in Hawaii Five-O. But he’s aged like fine wine and has become even more relevant year after year. His production company 3AD brought The Good Doctor to our screens in 2017, which was adapted from a Korean drama. Kim is also an advocate and pillar of the AAPI community. In 2021, he testified before Congress about the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes. Last year, he partnered with AAPI organizations Gold House and The Asian American Foundation to create the AAPI House at the Sundance Film Festival. His role as the iconic Fire Lord Ozai in Netflix’s live-action Avatar the Last Airbender series is hotly anticipated. Daddy Dae Kim brings all the heat.
Mixed Chinese British martial artist and actor Lewis Tan has all the right moves. He’s best known for starring in action projects like Into the Badlands, Wu Assassins, Mortal Kombat and Shadow and Bone. Tan does his own stunts, with expertise in Muay Thai, kung fu, ju-jitsu and Japanese katana swordplay. We’d want him to show us a thing or two.
Maybe the most nominated name on our list, everybody loves Manny Jacinto. He’s Canadian nice, being raised in Richmond, B.C. The Filipino Chinese Canadian is Asian parent-approved with a big brain civil engineering degree from the University of British Columbia. He’s found acting success on NBC’s The Good Place and deserved a bigger spotlight in Top Gun: Maverick. Jacinto and partner Dianne Doan make for a power couple we love.
Chef Shota Nakajima has trained in Michelin-starred kitchens in Japan, but runs a Japanese fried chicken restaurant and neighboring pizza spot, both in Seattle’s trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood. This is a guy who can cook you bougie meals with all the sashimi you could want, and get messy with a late-night fried feast as chicken skin shrapnel flies everywhere. Nakajima has competed against culinary giants in Iron Chef Gauntlet, Beat Bobby Flay and Food Network’s Tournament of Champions. He was also voted fan favorite on Top Chef: Portland. In all of those appearances, he’s either come in second or outright won. This smiley chef loves to share cooking tips on his YouTube channel too.
Is this the self-insert part of the list? Writers are sexy too! Vietnamese American poet and essayist Ocean Vuong makes us feel all of the things. His debut fictional novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is vulnerable and moving, influenced by aspects of his own family history and upbringing. It’s being adapted into a film by A24, which is perfect.
Sendhil Ramamurthy is really good at playing doctors. He starred as Mohinder Suresh in Heroes, Dr. Panthaki in New Amsterdam and Dr. Ramsey Rosso in The Flash. Ramamurthy himself was pre-med before getting into acting. He’s had a long career in the industry, but we all fell for him in Netflix’s Never Have I Ever as Mohan Vishwakumar, the father to main character Devi. Only appearing in flashback form, his soothing voice and good natured heart provided the moral compass for Devi as she navigated all the woes of high school. If Mindy Kaling wants to make a prequel series about Mohan, we’d watch that in a heartbeat.
People actually got it right with Shohei Ohtani on their list of sexiest athletes this year. Son Heung-min made it, too. Ohtani has the cute nickname “Shotime”—he’s a delight to watch on the field. Built like a tank, but speedy too, this Los Angeles superstar became the first player in MLB history to snag 10 wins and 40 home runs in a season. He also has the most popular jersey this year. We get it. He’d make for a great boyfriend and we’d proudly wear his jersey too.
Ryan Alexander Holmes
You’re thinking, “Where has this guy been all my life?” Ryan Alexander Holmes is a mixed Black and Chinese actor, content creator, and activist. He is known for making insightful TikToks about his biracial identity and upbringing. We could all learn something from him. Plus, he’s a well-spoken advocate fearlessly challenges the status quo and helps educate others on the Asian, Black, and everything in between experience in America.
Possibly our second most-voted-on hottie. Mackenyu became a global sensation this year for his portrayal of the iconic swordsman Roronoa Zoro in Netflix’s live-action adaptation One Piece. It’s another credit to his growing list of playing live-action anime characters from series like JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable Chapter I and Tokyo Ghoul S. He’s laid back, a bit brooding, and probably really good at roleplay.
There were a lot of names we could have picked for our last spot. Heck, we could do an entire list of just sexiest K-pop artists. Ultimately, we are choosing BTS’ Jungkook. While his collab with Jack Harlow wasn’t our favorite, his track “Seven” (featuring Latto) is on repeat. It’s a song about f*cking seven days a week and that kind of unhinged horny is not unwelcomed. Moreover, Jungkook’s album Golden is spectacular. “Standing Next To You” is Jungkook at his best, paying homage to his musical influences like Michael Jackson. We want to be standing next to Jungkook seven days a week.
Published on November 9, 2023