Friday, January 23

Sino-Japanese soft power war in comics

This paper was based upon a study of a Hong Kong-based comic enterprise entering the PRC comics market. By taking the advantages of cross-border production in Suzhou and Shenzhen, the enterprise is supposed to produce comic content related to Chinese mythic stories in the direction of the mainland cultural authority.

PDF link to the article.

An interesting look at soft power war between Japan and China over creation of content based on Chinese mythos like Romance of 3 Kingdoms or Legend of Condor Heroes. Under increasingly assertive China, there is a push against Japanese style manga on same content lately. This is a byproduct of increasingly uneasy geopolitical relationship between 2 Asian giants in shadow of increasing US withdrawal from active protection of Japan after World War 2.

Hong Kong has their own dyanamic comics industry that has soulful influence from Japan in storytelling and character archetype styles; some of them become famous enough like Storm Riders which is vastly popular with Overseas Chinese in South East Asia. But it is not entirely 100 percent carbon copy has it has own unique Chinese penchant for melodrama and vision of values.

Some MMORPGs like Perfect World is also an interesting synthesis of this, many promotions of this title is drawn in anime/manga style with notable character designs like Werefox (kitsune in Japanese folklore or Chinese 狐狸精) despite it is created by Chinese company. It is a backhand acknowledgement that Japanese soft power is immensely strong in a way.

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