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The fantastical anti-Japanese dramas we see on Chinese television have a long pedigree on both sides of the East China Sea. Since the mid nineteenth century, when the two countries faced naval aggression (Japan) or outright invasion (China), and continuing today, popular and governmental anxiety about foreign intrusion has fostered the creation and nurturing of media tropes. These often feature fictitious fights, either in the form of martial arts (Huo Yuanjia (霍元甲, 1868–1910) in China, Rikidōzan (力道山, 1924–1963) in Japan) or, as we see on mainland TV today, pitched military clashes between the Chinese military and the Imperial Japanese Army.


These media expressions tell us a lot about both countries – join RAS members and friends in our next online conversation, on 24 April, to explore – we'll have plenty of pictures and videos – historical and current.


Starting time: 7 p.m. China time (GMT +8)


About the speaker:

Aside from his role at the Antai College of Economics & Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Van Fleet spends his hobby hours investigating interesting, often less explored and considered aspects of the history of China and Japan, as well as the current relationship between and potential for the two Asian powers, leveraging his ten years of residency in Japan (1991–2000) and in China from then until now. His first book, Tales of Old Tokyo, was published in 2015, while he's developing his second 'project' Quarreling Cousins: China and Japan from Antiquity to 2020, in stages – this talk and the essay in the 2018 Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society China are one of those stages.


Note: this is a rerun of a talk given in a different format on 20 August 2019 in Shanghai.



Copies of the RAS 2018 Journal, including Van Fleet's essay on this topic, are available as gifts for those who join RAS or renew their memberships.

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