Personally, I think Debussy was just going through a phase, fetishizing the exotic. The same thing happened to Debussy’s fellow Frenchmen Henri Rousseau and Paul Gauguin, who started painting Polynesian natives all the time. A particularly disgusting variation of this phenomenon can be found in modern-day California: men with Yellow Fever, who date only Asian women—sometimes dozens in a row—no matter how ugly or which kind of Asian. For the record, Jed did not date any Asian women before me.
Given that my wife is Asian, this was…. awkward to read. I can’t even say that I’d never dated an Asian woman before her!