Abe’s Subtle Apology: Can It Help Japan Become ‘Normal’?

Written by Niv Horesh. Visitors to Japan can feel this is a country undergoing an identity crisis. After more than two decades of economic stagnation, falling birth rates and unstable governments, the Japanese have slowly become accustomed to the notion that the heady 1980s are long gone. Back then, amid a real estate and stock …

From Cairo to Chongqing: Global vs. Local Histories of the Second Sino-Japanese War in the PRC

Written by Adam Cathcart and Wankun Li. Urged on by Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its arts, scholarship, and regional bureaucracies have gone into overdrive to shape a new version of China’s history during World War II. As the 3 September “Victory Day” march in Beijing approaches, the film The Cairo Declaration has …

China’s receding regional ambitions?

Written by Mark Beeson. Few would disagree with the idea that China is a rising power with great international ambitions. For many policymakers, commentators and citizens in China, restoring its greatness and accustomed centrality in East Asian affairs is a crucial and entirely legitimate goal. In this context, China’s immediate neighbourhood provides an important testing ground …

Fashion and Politics: Promoting ‘Designed in China’ through Political Power

By Christine Tsui. In 2012, the Chinese president Xi Jinping initiated an anti-corruption campaign. Although there is no explicit evidence that this was an intentional outcome at which Xi aimed, the fact is that the campaign eventually led to a big decrease in the sale of luxury brands. Because in the past luxury brands were mostly purchased by rich …

Fashion, China, and Trends: A Critical Perspective

Written by Tina Mai Chen and Paola Zamperini. In June 2015, the runways for Moda Uomo in Italy celebrated China in more ways than anyone could have expected even in 2007, when Jean Paul Gaultier wove his dystopian haute couture gowns inspired by a delirious conflation of Japanese and Chinese motifs in his Spring collection for …

Confucius Institutes and China’s ‘soft power’

Written by James F. Scotton. Confucius Institutes, the Chinese government’s language and cultural centres hosted by universities throughout the world, are facing increasing academic resistance in the west. The Institutes, first launched in 2004, have been a remarkable success. By 2011 there were more than 400 Confucius Institutes plus an equal number of Confucius Classrooms in …

Chinese Language and Beijing’s Public Diplomacy

Written by Sheng Ding. The political effects of language acquisition, culture exchange, and education contact are important in respect to soft power appeal, and have received growing attention from policy-makers around the world. Indeed, those who will be impacted most by the appeal of a country’s soft power are the people who can speak its language …

Mobile Film Projection in Socialist and Post-Socialist China

Written by Tina Mai Chen. The study of propaganda in socialist and post-socialist China generally focuses on the content and aesthetic conventions of specific genres of material including film, posters, and literature. Another area of scholarship attends to the political contexts that shape the production, circulation, and reception of propaganda. Less studied, but equally important …

From Holding up Half of Heaven to Learning How to Flirt

Written by Chris Berry. Amongst the most memorable commercial films on display at  the recently concluded Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy—for all the wrong reasons—was Pang Ho-Cheung (彭浩翔)’s Chinese-Hong Kong 2014 co-production, Women Who

Minority Dance, Minority Dancers

Written by Emily Wilcox. Most Americans would be hard-pressed to distinguish a waltz from a tango or a salsa from a jitterbug. However, in the People’s Republic of China, average citizens can easily identify and distinguish between Uyghur dance, Mongol dance, Tibetan dance, Korean dance, Dai dance, and so on. I know, because recently while …